Cycling from Darlington to Vienna for autism

Ripon-based artist riding nearly 1,500 miles in late May

David Stead

A Ripon-based artist is gearing up to cycle from Darlington to Vienna to increase awareness of autism and to raise money for the autism unit at Darlington’s Education Village.


David Stead, who has the form of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome, is aiming to cycle nearly 1,500 miles in May to increase awareness of autism and generate money to build a sensory garden and outdoor play area at the unit.

Stead, a nationally-renowned artist and owner of David Stead Gallery in Kirkgate, Ripon, is hoping to raise £10,000 for the cause. Asperger’s Syndrome is a strand of autism that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people.

Explaining the choice of Vienna as his destination he said: “Hans Asperger, one of the first people to recognise the condition that came to bear his name, was born just outside Vienna and developed many of his theories at the university there so it seems like the natural destination for this trip.

“I will be visiting the Education Village (along with any schools in the Ripon area that wish to take part) throughout the intensive training period,” he said, “and will keep in contact with everyone back home during the trip by phone, through our blog  – – and also via a video cam.

Stead intends to link his experiences to the school curriculum, highlighting such topics as nutrition, the importance of exercise to health, geography, history, language and not least, his own experience as an Aspergic adult.

“We plan to be on the road for three weeks averaging 75 miles per day,” the artist added, “and probably the same amount of blister pads! – riding through England, Holland and Germany and finally into Austria.”


If you would like to sponsor Stead, phone him on 01765 604461, email or online at