Nelson anti-fracking campaigner's Spain-to-Preston cycle

An anti-fracking campaigner from Nelson has covered over 750 miles as he cycles from southern Spain to a fracking site near Preston to raise awareness of the importance of ecological conservation.


Having started off his Odyssean cycle on the south eastern Mediterranean coast near Murcia, 50-year-old Simon Peter's Wake Up Cycling Tour has taken him to the Basque region in northern Spain as he heads to Bilbao to catch a ferry to Plymouth before tackling the 360 remaining miles to Lancashire.

Simon on his epic cycle.

Simon on his epic cycle.

Having started on October 13th, Simon has covered an average of around 27 miles every day - the equivalent of a marathon - with a 7.5 stone trailer in tow in weather that has varied from the 25-degree sunshine in Santiago de la Ribera where he started to the rain of Vitoria-Gasteiz near the foothills of the Pyrenees.

"I just can't sit back," said Simon. "I started at a place called El Mar Menor as it's a beautiful lagoon, a unique ecosystem, collapsing with problems of contaminated waters. Ten years ago I visited El Mar Menor [for the] first time and the waters where transparent and clear with beautiful swarms of fish.

"Today is a different story," continued Simon, who has been living in Spain since April to learn Spanish. "The water has changed colour and 70% of the vegetation and fish have died."

Set to finish his cycle at the Preston New Road fracking site to the west of Preston, Simon said: "I first learned of fracking many years ago but I'm very concerned about what's going on now, not only [about] fracking, but democracy: people said no, and still it goes ahead."

Claire Peel, Simon's sister, added: "It's all about environmental issues - along the way, he's stopping and clearing out parks and collecting rubbish. I can't believe he's doing so many thousand kilometres!

"It's typical of his mindset," she added. "Nothing was going to stop him."

A keen musician, Simon's trip has been entirely self-funded through his musical exploits as he cycles the Iberian peninsula playing in bands and chatting with locals about his cause. Music gives him a "way of expressing myself, fighting this environmental fight single-handedly," according to Simon.

"I decided not to have GPS so I was forced to ask," explained Simon. "I refuse to speak English while I'm here and am learning Spanish every time I stop and ask directions and chat with people. The Spanish are very friendly and helpful."

And charitable too: inspired by his efforts, countless bar owners have told Simon that drinks were on them, hostels have allowed him to stay an extra night for free, and a cycle shop in Valencia even gave him a mountain bike to replace his somewhat less robust road bike for the challenges of northern Spain.

"I've had a few setbacks: a wheel snapped off my trailer in the middle of nowhere and I've had over 30 punctures," said Simon. "[But it] has been amazing to see Spain this way."

To donate to Simon's cause, head to hist JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/frackingcycling.