The Cycling Friends are going to cycle 1,500 kilometers for charity

Arjan van Egmond from Lelystad cycles the Tour de TBE together with his friends Robert Baarda, Richard Drenth and Age Yska as De Cycling Friends. A self-organized bike ride of 1,500 kilometers from Swifterbant to Stockholm. With the aim of drawing attention to the tick-borne disease TBE (Tick-Borne Encephalitis).

Friend and brother of the group Jaap died as a result of TBE. He got that fatal tick bite in the fresh green nature. ‘After an illness of six months in which his brain was slowly affected, our friend and brother Jaap (43) died in our presence from the effects of the tick-borne disease TBE (Tick-Borne Encephalitis).’

No treatment available yet

Because this should not happen to anyone else, the Cycling Friends spring into action. There is no treatment available for TBE yet. The group wants to raise research money and draw attention to the disease by going on a bicycle tour. The men are all originally from Swifterbant and have since flown out to other parts of the country.

Ticks are small critters that can transmit disease with a bite. That can happen anywhere. In the forest, dunes, heathland, parks, meadows or even in your own garden. Lyme is the most well-known disease transmitted by ticks. That can make people very sick. However, there are also ticks in the Netherlands infected with TBE. The chance of an infection is small, because the number of infected ticks is still low. Nevertheless, it is important that more awareness is raised about the disease, according to the Cycling Friends. Because TBE can also be fatal.

Tower of TBE

The cycling tour consists of more than 1,500 kilometers. On August 21, the friends kick off in Swifterbant, where the friendship with Jaap arose. They set course for Stockholm via Germany and Denmark. Jaap lived there with his family on the water. On September 6, the day of Jaap’s birthday, they cycle to the white chapel in Ekerö. On top of the hill overlooking a clear blue lake, is his final resting place.

The love for cycling arose in Valkenburg, at the World Cycling Championships. ‘Jaap gave Arjan, the least fanatical cyclist at the time, the yellow jersey symbolically. “You can do this too,” Jack told him. ‘Since then we have fanatically stepped on the pedals and we have conquered magical mountains such as the Mont Ventoux, the Grossglockner, Grand Saint Bernard and the Passo Stelvio – with sweat on our foreheads. So it’s no surprise that we have united in The Cycling Friends,’ the group explains.

Tick-bite Diseases Foundation

Stichting Tick-bite Diseases has been researching tick-bite diseases for fifteen years. There is still much unknown about the diseases, both in the medical and scientific world. The group wants to donate as much money as possible to the Tick Bite Disease Foundation. That is why the friends try to organize the trip as cost neutral as possible. As a result, almost all the money raised goes to the foundation. The foundation hopes to be able to do the following with the money raised: raise awareness of the increase in TBE in the Netherlands, recognize symptoms of TBE, prevent tick bites and conduct more research into the infection of ticks with TBE.

More about the Cycling Friends can be found at † You can also donate.


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