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Cycle Belfast-Poland

October 12, 2016 - November 5, 2016

Charity Cycle from Belfast to Poland 2037km in 21 days

No training. No helmet. Steel toe cap boots as footwear.

Bicycle purchased second hand from Gumtree for £90. Land Rover Tszemzno. Great Bike

The boat from Rosslare to Cherbourg cost £80, with no cabin – so I slept in the cafeteria of the ship, uncomfortable to say the least especially after cycling over 200 mile in the previous 2 days. People offered to pay me into a cabin but I would never have allowed it as it was extortionate. I later got my cabin on the Great Big Walk. And I talked to the captain for an hour.

10 Euro per day on food and accommodation = 230 Euro.

No credit in my emergency mobile phone, not a penny. One person could ring me the whole time. It was a miracle.

€17 and £20 in my pocket and when I left home.

1 Puncture.

7 Countries 21 days of cycling +1 rest day in Handel Netherlands

Belfast (NI) – Rosslare Harbour (IRE) 336km

Rosslare (IRE) – Cherbourg (FRA) – Stena Line Ferry

Cherbourg (FRA) – Tournai (BEL) 569km

Tournai (BEL) – Witrijt (NED) 219km

Witrijt (NED) – Kleve (GER) 106km

Kleve (GER) – Slobice (POL) 722km

Slobice (POL) – Nowy Tomysl (POL) 85km

Total 2037km in 21 days of cycling

Began: 12th October 10am Finished: 5th November 7pm -5 Degrees on the last night.

Cycling the hills in France, it got very lonely from time to time.

Wolfsburg Germany. Beautiful stadium. Locals can call to the back of it and watch the first team train. Great to see.

The Somme area. Cycled the whole way through it. Aumale and Albert were two wonderful spots along the way.

Met Dutch professional footballer ‘Steef Nieuwendaal’ in small village in Holland. Ex team mate from my playing days. Top man, drove miles to meet up for a quick catch up.

Crossing the border into Poland, I was relieved. This was to be my last day on the bicycle. I was so relieved to have done it.

Ouistreham – France. I camped on the beach shortly after. It was amazing. Nobody bothered me all night. I woke early and left it as I found it.

Germany – Stopping for refreshments and a traditional German pastry. I thought Germany was much cheaper than France or Ireland.

PSV Eindhoven Stadium, with my metal horse catching a breather against the tree.

My first road into Belgium. It was amazing, flat roads and way marked both sides. Best country in the world to cycle safely.

Ninety pound well spent. 2037km. One puncture. On the second last day.

With DUP’s Jim Wells outside Stormont buildings. They invited me up.

Germany, I camped in this forest. It was the thing I was dreading most. Not sure why, but it ended up to be a great night of camping.

French Canal Way, a real blessing after the days climbing across the French countryside. Canal ways are always flat. Take the path of least resistance when possible.

France Scenery from the side of the road.

Day 2 – I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was Thursday, and I needed to be in Rosslare for Friday night. Or else I was camping.

Camping on Bray Head. A perfect spot to pitch up. Always leave no mark.

Boarding the boat in Rosslare, my destination – Cherbourg. This would be the end of what felt like home. Into the Unknown I sailed ahead.

A break as I crossed the Mitteland Canal, Germany. I camped along here after a 90 mile cycle. The weather was starting to cool.

Puncture in the German forest trail. Just before dark. I had to walk 10km through the darkness to reach the next town. I was a little worried. I had not fixed a puncture in years.

2000km Cycle to Poland. In Germany, pretending to look chuffed, in truth, I was in hell. Physically, emotionally, and all on my own, with nobody to talk to but my own demons. What a trip!


October 12, 2016
November 5, 2016
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