After living in Switzerland for the past seven-and-a-half years, one man took the move back to Oxfordshire as a chance to take a long distance cycling road trip.
Paul Rennie and his wife Claire had moved to Zurich due to Paul’s career within the motorsport industry and were relocating back to Hook Norton for the same reason when the idea to incorporate it into a bike ride came to Paul.
He said: “We loved our time in Switzerland so to mark it I decided to do something memorable.
“I’d been thinking about doing a long ride, an endurance ride for a number of years but getting the time to do that with a certain amount of holiday, it was difficult getting the slot.
“I was inspired by a friend who is an endurance rider and competes at the highest level and does incredible rides and that got me thinking about doing it.”
With time between jobs Paul had found the perfect opportunity to make the 700 mile, five-day trek.
Setting off from Zurich, with the help of his father who acted as recognizance, driving ahead and booking hotels and restaurants, Paul headed across the flatlands of northern France with the ride presenting itself with a number of challenges.
Paul said: “The first day his battery packed in on his mobile and he ran out of credit so I couldn’t get in contact with him for two or three hours which was quite a worry.
“The second day was really windy, a headwind so I only covered 125 miles.
“The third day was the most remarkable because my body got it as to what I was trying to do. I was able to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and I could just keep going and going and going. I kept going until I got to Calais which was 200 miles.”
Fittingly Paul has used the cycle ride to raise funds for the charity Qhubeka, which provides bikes to African children who have to walk miles to the nearest school.
Paul said: “On average a school child has to walk an hour a day to get to school, on a bike it takes 15 minutes.
“Their attendance goes up and their grades go up because they are not tired and attend more, its that simple.”
So far Paul has raised £2,335 through his JustGiving page, enough for 15 bikes. To donate to Paul’s chosen charity click here.