Frontiers’ volunteers: Riding for restoration and… cake

Frontiers’ volunteers have always been at the forefront of community and societal responses. This month, we celebrate our fellow Frontons’  team effort Riding for Cake and fundraising for eco restoration.

Frontiers’ employees Hedwig Ens, Igor Faulmann, Helen Kimbell, Ilaria Prete and Daniel Sidoli took on a gruelling Possenia's Togeveresting event, cycling up a mountain over and over again to gain as much elevation as possible in 8 hours, 8 minutes, and 48 seconds (the ‘height’ of Mount Everest), to support rewilding and ecosystem restoration efforts.

Photo credit: Gabriella Zozzaro

Possenia, as a registered Swiss not-for-profit, purpose-driven organization, is dedicated to its mission of protecting vulnerable communities and supporting climate-related projects that aim to improve our planet. Possenia Cycling is all about love of cycling, great performance on the bike and community but most of all it is about giving back to others and to the planet. In 2022, Possenia’s efforts focus on restoration of ecosystems and rewilding. When people think of Switzerland, deforestation and destruction of ecosystems doesn't really come to mind. However, the reality is that from 2001 to 2020, Switzerland lost 40.3kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 2.6% decrease in tree cover since 2000.

Globally, 80'000 acres of rainforest disappear each day. In fact, over two-thirds of our world’s tropical forests have been lost to rampant deforestation for logging, mining, and agriculture. These rainforests play a pivotal role in the Earth's functioning and are relied upon by countless species and indigenous communities. When destroyed, biodiversity is significantly impacted along with the homes and livelihoods of those indigenous communities. Deforestation also releases millions of tons of stored carbon, disrupting our already fragile climate.

Driven by the eagerness to support the restoration efforts in Switzerland and globally, five Frontons set up a team riding for the aforementioned good cause and… cake.

Riding for Cake team faced multiple loops of climbing each being 661 meters. The challenge saw 39 participants with an average of 4 loops per cyclist. Riding for Cake took its honorable 3rd place with 27 loops in total, team IATA conquered the 2nd place with 28 loops and team Léman Racing Club stood victorious totaling 38.5 loops. With 3056kms clocked and 97611 meters climbed altogether, it is 11 times the Everest which is an impressive achievement. Fundraised by Riding for Cake sum of 2,302 CHF has been matched by the company donation towards the cause too.

The team had to overcome a few surprises on the day, which all add to the experience and excitement of the challenge. Publishing development project manager Daniel Sidoli comments, ‘I hadn't checked the route properly and didn't realise all the elevation gain was in the first 6km! That made for a fast (and chilly) descent, but the friendliness of the Possenia staff and how well they looked after all the participants made it worthwhile.’

Reminiscing on the challenge, journal manager at Frontiers in Cognition Igor Faulmann, says, ‘Who would have thought that on the way up, with our legs on fire and our hearts pumping blood at 160 bpm, we would engage in a deep philosophical debate about what separates human beings from other animals… Turns out, it's the fances...’

Having contributed to the event, content acquisition editor Helen Kimbell is absolutely convinced that ‘anything above a 12% gradient is unacceptable to climb on a bike’, but a plastic princess crown, that the team brought to the challenge to be worn if anyone complained, was a deterring enough argument against any moaning.

Talking about her experience on the day, Frontiers for Young Minds senior journal specialist Hedwig Ens says, ‘I learned that if you just take things slow and are with a group of people that are motivated to go through the same amount of pain for a good cause, it is easier to push the body to do just that tad more.’ Hedwig also insists that ‘the best adventures are to be had when one doesn't look at the itinerary beforehand for the fear of chickening out’!

Ilaria Prete, journal manager at Frontiers in Physics, is relieved to confirm that ‘the charity cause received some actual funding, rather than just the team’s sweat and panting’, while the team were rewarded with a delicious cake at the end of the ride.

To sponsor Riding for Cake team and support Rewilding and Ecosystem Restoration, please visit

For more than a decade, Frontons have been showing a great passion and big heart for the most pressing world causes, both as scientists and as citizens of the world. At Frontiers, we are _committed to contributing to communities in a meaningful and sustainable way and encourage our people to participate in charity activities._

Frontiers is a signatory of the United Nations Publishers COMPACT. This interview has been published in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

About Frontiers 

Frontiers is the 3rd most-cited and 6th largest research publisher. We publish groundbreaking discoveries by the world's top experts. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Featuring custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 1.9 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.