A pair of cyclists supporting environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) have set off on a remarkable protest ride from Kingston to Barcelona to highlight the ongoing dangers posed by oil extraction in the region.

Sam Swain and Simon Sinclair were joined by fellow campaigners as they set off on their epic journey from Kingston Memorial Gardens on Saturday afternoon (July 3).

Their 1,000 mile ride will see them pedal through southern England, France and northern Spain to arrive in Barcelona, stopping off at the Horse Hill oil drilling site near Horley to meet XR campaigners there.

Sam and Simon, both aged 31, are raising awareness about the immediate and long term dangers posed by the climate crisis, which they point out is being exacerbated by continued extraction of oil at the Horse Hill site in neighbouring Surrey.

They have also raised over £1,900 and counting for environmental campaigners opposing the site, plus the Kingston charity The Full Cycle project, which fixes up old bikes and gives them to those in need, especially people on a low income.

Simon Sinclair, who is a member of Kingston XR, said: "A lot of people are worried about climate change but don’t know there is currently oil drilling happening in the pristine countryside of Surrey.

"When I found out about it, I was horrified. Surrey County Council has to take some of the blame as it recently gave UK Oil and Gas (HHDL’s parent company), permission to produce oil for the next 20 years."

He pointed out that drilling at the site and others would "increase our carbon emissions and destroy natural habitats when we’re in a climate emergency – and just as the International Energy Association has called for a ban on all new oil, coal and gas development. We think more people should know about what is happening here."

The pair are each taking a month off work for the ride, and are aiming to cycle an average of 50 miles (80 km) a day to get the job done on schedule.

Sam Swain said at the start of their epic adventure: "Cycling has become a huge part of my life and something that’s helped me overcome difficult moments, including battling with addictions and depression.

"The hardest part was starting but once I got over the initial hurdle and built up my fitness, I found I couldn’t live without it.

"Simon and I feel cycling is one of the best ways for society to move away from fossil fuels, while also benefiting mental and physical health.

"We met six years ago and since then, no matter where I’ve been or what I’ve done, Simon has always been there for me. I could not think of anyone better to share this trip with."

Click here to support their efforts or click here for the UN's facts about the climate emergency.