A Tidworth triathlete travelled more 1,300 miles across Europe on a stand-up bike to raise money for Diabetes UK and encourage other people to get fit.
Natalie Thomas, who’s 29, travelled 1,348 miles (2,170 km) across the continent on a MeMover, a stand up bike which has no motor or gears and is powered manually using a stepping motion.
The British elite tri-athlete started the cross-country challenge in Denmark and from there, she travelled to Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France, enjoying a champagne shower finish in Switzerland.
It was a journey filled with many metaphorical, as well as literal, ups and downs.
The stepper had to endure heat waves, torrential rain and thunderstorms. And on one occasion in Belgium, Natalie’s bike crashed leaving her with a fractured arm and a snapped pedal.
Her spirits did not dampen, however, as her trip also gave her picturesque scenery, stunning cycle routes and the opportunity to try a variety of local delicacies.
“I’d some up this trip in one word: amazing! It had its ups and downs but it was one of the best experiences of my life,” Natalie said.
“I loved seeing new places including visiting countries I hadn’t been before, meeting lots of different people and, even though, it was tough and I struggled towards the end, I still loved it.
“I did this trip to raise funds for the Danish Diabetes association and Diabetes UK. I have both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in my family and this trip was all about being fit and active, which are great for helping diabetics and can also prevent people getting type 2 diabetes.
“I also want to inspire others to get out there, get active and challenge themselves. Not necessarily on such an extreme level, but on a suitable level for personal ability and fitness – even a short walk is getting out there and doing something,” Natalie added.
Natalie plans on riding from John O Groats to Land’s End on her MeMover for her next challenge.
Her trip across Europe raised almost £800 for Diabetes UK and almost $900 for the Danish Diabetes association.
Her online sponsorship form can be found at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MeMoveEurope