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Cyclist re-united in candid-camera caper

By Melissa Clark


TWO proud parents spent thousands of pounds and travelled 4000 miles to play one of the practical jokes of the year on their son.

Ivan and Lesley Brenkel “ambushed” unsuspecting Sam on a backroad in the US as he was doing a 3,500-mile charity cycle across the country for terminally ill children.

The 23-year-old thought his folks were safely back home in the scenic village of Aberdour, Fife.

Mum Lesley started the ruse by pretending to have bicycle trouble


So he had nothing to suspect as he approached a middle aged woman apparently fixing her bike by the side of a rural road in Iowa.

A video filmed by his dad hiding in  a car nearby, which has been uploaded to Youtube, captures Sam’s reaction to the set up.

He beams broadly at the cameraman, thinking he’s a stranger, before confusion, bafflement, astonishment and then joy flash across his face in a few seconds.

Sam is spotted a few metres away, not knowing that his parents were just ahead of him


Lesley said: “It took us five hours to find him!

“He could have been on one of three roads and also had no phone signal.

“It was all very stressful but in the end we suddenly came round the corner and there he was.”

She added: “We drove past him and I got a bike out and began putting it together as he cycled past and Ivan filmed his reaction.

“He did a double-take and said, ‘No way,’ and threw his bike down in the middle of the road.”

The cyclist then double-takes as it takes a moment to realise he's looking at his dad Ivan who's filming his reaction


The couple flew from Edinburgh to Chicago via Heathrow on 19 September and spent a total of three days with their son.

Lesley added: “He had hit a bit of a low and was struggling in North Dakota.

“It is 500 miles and there’s nothing there. He was struggling to find food, he was hungry and not feeling particularly well.

“A friend planted the seed and we thought, ‘Let’s do it’.”

In the video Ivan excitedly says to Lesley, “Okay, I’m hiding now.”

As Sam cycled closer Ivan added: “He’s coming, he’s about 50 yards away.”

When Sam spots his parents Ivan shouted, “We’ve come to visit you,” as him and his wife burst out laughing with excitement at finding their son.

Sam throws his bike down, full of excitement when he realises his family have come to visit


Sam has been cycling in the US since 11 August to raise money for the children’s charity, Children’s Hospice Association for Scotland (CHAS).

He is cycling from coast to coast, finishing in Boston MA hopefully before 20 October- when his visa ends.

He will cycle through 15 states altogether and cover over 3,500 miles

The surprised cyclist took to his blog to describe his reaction to his parents’ unexpected visit.

He wrote: “I could see a woman at the top of the side of road fixing a bike.

“As I drew up to her, I noticed a man next to her beside a car taking a picture of me. I assumed that he was taking a picture of this idiot who just cycled up that hill.

“Looking closer, it became clear. What where my parents doing here?

“I was glad to have my parents here, it was nice to ride with them, they carried my stuff and they brought Percy Pigs, but did they really need to bring the rain?”

Reunited: Sam enjoys a surprise cuddle from his mum


Sam has already raised just under £3,000 towards the charity and is funding the trip himself.

To make a donation to CHAS, visit Sam’s charity page at www.justgiving.com/Sbrenkel

Supporters of Sam’s ambitious cycle have already left messages of support on his charity page.

Margaret Dickson wrote: “Congratulations on your journey across America. I hope my donation will go a little way to helping CHAS for Scotland, good luck.”

Robert and Caroline Cook added: “Good luck Sam, Stay safe and enjoy yourself. We will be well impressed when you make it across!”

You can now watch the video, “Brenkel USA Cycle, on Youtube which was uploaded by Ivan after the big surprise.

Happy: the biker is overjoyed at seeing his folks after a difficult stage in his journey

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