A REDDITCH man has returned from a leg and lung bursting journey around France on his single-speed bike, surviving traffic, punctures and extreme temperatures to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Tom Sweeney, aged 22, set off on his charitable venture to cycle around France during the Uefa Euro 2016 football tournament on his trusty Foffa single-speed bike.
His inspiration for the trip was his grandmother.
“My Nana struggled with Alzheimer’s as she got older, and it was difficult to see someone with so much life be affected by such a terrible illness,” said Tom.
“I just hope the ride would have made her proud, and that it will help to raise awareness for the cause, whilst showing that anything can be achieved by anyone, if you put your mind to it.”
Tom began his journey with a puncture 100 metres from the channel ferry and this signalled the beginning of a series of deflating episodes in quick succession. However, with the help of some French cyclists in Lens on his second day he was able to make some headway.
Starting from Dunkirk he went towards Bordeaux then across to Marseilles before heading north via Lyon to finish in Paris.
“I found the mental side of things was more difficult than an already difficult physical challenge. Being alone for nine to ten hours travelling distances as far as 115 miles a day, can become quite daunting. I almost wanted to give up and go home, but with so many people supporting I’m glad I persevered and I had a great time in the end.”
Tom finished his trip in Paris where some friends gave him a lift back to England.
Tom’s JustGiving page is still live and you can contribute to his fundraising efforts here. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomstourdefoot