15 years on the road for free wheeler
At 57, Adelino Manuel Lopez Ferreira carries his life around with him.
But as the Portuguese cyclist told this newspaper, it’s nothing new, he’s been doing it for 15 years and has done a raft of daily deals to keep on the road.
Adelino’s trusty and well-used ‘Solitaire’ bike is parked behind him at the Bullring, where he has an equally well-used, fold-up paper exhibition of many of the places he has pedalled through since he left Portugal in 2003.
Tanned and fit, with a hand-shake like Conor McGregor and a nose broken and left a little askew following a Moto-Cross accident many years ago, Adelino says the main problem he has had to contend with is the dogs which seem to find him wherever he goes.
To counter the canine threat, a ram’s skull, complete with horns into which he sometimes loads with red light bulbs in its eye sockets, adorns the front of the bike, however, a grubby teddy bear softens the message. He found the skull in some Greek mountains, but doesn’t recall where the teddy bear came from.
A battered household old-fashioned thermometer is lashed to the bike’s cross tube so that he can see just how cold, or warm it is when he’s in the saddle.
A gas canister and a stove are tied beneath the seat, with a tent, blankets, a sleeping bag, and everything else he needs to sustain himself in neat piles above and below.
It may be a simple, if a somewhat hard life, but it’s one Adelino says he loves.
In his younger days, Adelino worked all over the world in the fishing industry, but decided to embark on his 10-year cycling marathon as part of a get-fit campaign after he broke his leg.
Since then he hasn’t stopped and is five years on from his 10-year marathon and has no plans to slow down and put his feet up.
He says he was cycled 85,000km over the decade and a half, mainly through rural areas, ‘because I don’t like cities’.
To illustrate the point, he points to Curracloe on a well-worn Irish map, his next destination.
Adelino says he funds his lifestyle mainly through casual work.
‘I pick tomatoes, work in gardens and anything else that comes up,’ says Adelino, who is planning to over-winter in Dublin with friends before hitting the road again.
He can’t remember how many tyres, wheels and chains he has to replace during his long ride, but the steel bike is the same one he set out with on his ride.
Adelino came to Ireland after cycling through Morocco, the Canary Islands and France, and plans to head for Canada next year, although he confesses he doesn’t like riding in heavy rain or snow and who can blame him?
Round-the-world cyclist Adelino Manuel Lopez Ferreira on his stop-off in Wexford.