Two men who grew up two doors away from each other set off on an odyssey across the Tibetan plateau this week.

Toby Pearce and Ian Gaunt, both 39, left Oare, near Pewsey, in a fundraising cycle trek to the Thai capital Bangkok.

They have known each other since the age of three and attended Pewsey Vale School for their GCSEs, St John’s School for their A-levels and went to the same university in North London.

They met up again when they both ended up living in Brighton.

Mr Pearce got the idea for the long-distance cycle ride when a friend of his rode from Berlin to India last year. He said: “I’ve always wanted to do a cycle ride like that and I thought, who’s mad enough to come with me? I immediately thought of Ian.”

The pair will be raising money for the international charity Action Aid and visiting a couple of its projects along the way.

They flew to Samarkhand in Uzbekistan, to cycle through Khazakstan and China. Then they will take on the Tibetan plateau, reputed to be the hardest cycle ride in the world.

Mr Pearce said: “It is very high up so the air is thin and water is very scarce. If we can get through that I reckon we can cope with anything.”

They will then cycle to Dhaka in Bangladesh and fly to Thailand, where their journey ends in Bangkok.

Mr Pearce said: “We think it should take us six to seven months, if all goes to plan.”

They have already raised £1,200 on their website page and hope to make at least £2,000 for charity. Donations can be made at