Cycling challenges such as Lands End to John O’ Groats may be the pinnacle of tests for many folk, but Fleetwood man Dave Roe took on a slightly more epic journey.
Dave has just returned from a cycling trek which took him from Antalya in the Asian part of Turkey all the way back to Fleetwood – a grand total of 3,200 miles.
I would consider myself an experienced cycle tourer and enjoy solo trips. Over the last eleven years, I’ve cycled through various parts of Europe every year, through places like Iceland, Ireland, Norway and various parts of Eastern Europe
It took retired firefighter Dave, 51, who previously spent nine years in the Royal Navy, some seven weeks to complete the mega ride, from June 8 to July 26.
Dave, a keen cyclist who has undertaken almost a dozen rides across Europe over the past decade, says he was able to take such a long journey this time because he has recently retired, allowing him to take as long as he wanted!
The dad-of-three, who is married to community nursing matron Sue, even decided to take a particularly tough route, cycling up into the Italian and Swiss Alps.
After flying with his bike from Manchester to Antalya in Asian Turkey, his cycle route took him north and then west, crossing over into Europe and travelling through Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, across into England and finally home to Fleetwood.
Dave, who kept an updated internet blog during the ride, entitled Codhead on Tour: the Retirement Ride, said: “I would consider myself an experienced cycle tourer and enjoy solo trips. Over the last eleven years, I’ve cycled through various parts of Europe every year, through places like Iceland, Ireland, Norway and various parts of Eastern Europe.
“But this was by far the biggest and most ambitious I’ve ever attempted, because I have retired and don’t have to worry about time any more! Instead of rushing around I could take as long as I wanted because retirement has changed everything. I have always wanted to do this and I decided to take early retirement so I could take on these cycling challenges while I was still young and fit enough. I camped most nights, so I was pretty much self-sufficient.”
As a retirement present to himself, Dave also treated himself to a new “low-maintenance” Pinion-geared Tout Terrain Silk Road Xplore machine for the big ride. Superfit Dave averaged around 70 miles a day, carrying full kit including camping gear, without taking a single day off to rest, occasionally cycling over 100 miles on some days. By the time got back to Fleetwood he had lost a stone in weight.
He said: “Although Iceland was the most spectacular ride, this was memorable because it was the longest. The most friendly people were in Turkey and Eastern Europe. They would cheer me on and beep their horns. The highlight for me was cycling up the Stelvio pass in the Italian Alps, not just because of the scenery but because it is a famous ascent for cyclists, 16 miles of climbing.”
Now he is back, Dave still has another challenge in mind.
He said: “I think I may try cycling around the world next! But maybe in stages.”