A CYCLIST has said he is glad to be alive on his return from a terrifying and unforgettable bike ride to Africa and back.

Ed Beverley-Jones crossed the Severn Bridge on his return to Wales and Monmouthshire today, following the epic six-month ride in aid of St David’s Hospice.

Since setting off on a donated bike from Sugar Loaf mountain near Abergavenny, the pond keeper by trade has pedalled around 4,000 miles in the trip which saw him wild camping overnight.

Today, the 43-year-old, originally from Newport but currently living in Usk, spoke about the unforgettable and at times “terrifying” experience.

He said the most frightening part was being hunted by wild dogs.

“I had to be very tactical,” he said.

“I waited until it was almost dark then I went to ground when I was 100 per cent nobody had seen me.

“There were about 20 dog attacks. They were all multiple attacks.

“It was terrifying, totally terrifying.”

As well as fending off dogs, Mr Beverley-Jones also had to endure altitude sickness in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. He described how one night when he was asleep under the stars in his tent a howling gale took away all the heat in his body.

“I knew I had to get up or I would freeze to death,” he said.

Yet as well as frightening times, Mr Beverley-Jones said he was also touched by the kindness and help offered to him on his journey by strangers who he met.

After he completes the ride at Sugar Loaf mountain tomorrow, he said he plans to sit down and document the journey.

“I want to remember everything,” he said.

“The smells, the noises, the people, the weather the traffic.”

But above everything else, Mr Beverley-Jones said he was glad he has survived the ride.

“The highlight is that I have survived,” he said.

“I am still alive.”

The environmentalist decided to follow the swallows on their migration from his stable near Chepstow in Autumn and made the trip coincide with their return in Spring.

He decided to raise money for St David’s Hospice after the death of one of his clients, Mike Maine, who was cared for by nurses at the hospice in his final days.

His epic journey has now raised more than £5,000 for St David’s Hospice Care and offered inspiration to many.

One of those, friend Hiatt Evans, from Shirenewton, came along to welcome Mr Beverley-Jones back to Wales as he crossed the Severn Bridge yesterday.

He said: “It is incredible. I can’t quite believe what he has done physically.

“I think it would soon change your outlook on the world doing something like that.

“It would give you a completely different outlook.”

A picnic is being planned at the top of Sugar Loaf on Wednesday from midday to celebrate Mr Beverley-Jones’ achievement.

To donate, visit .justgiving.com/fundraising/ed-jones4.