Cy­clist to ride ‘round globe’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Et­ben­truslove

A 50-YEAR-OLD man, who in his own words is “over­weight”, is giv­ing up ev­ery­thing to cy­cle round the world.

Paul Tol­son, an ex-ge­og­ra­phy teacher from Chat­teris, is sell­ing most of his pos­ses­sions to ride round the world vis­it­ing ev­ery glid­ing school.

He is break­ing the globe up into stages, start­ing with Africa which he be­lieves will be the tough­est and could take two or even three years.

Paul, who is now work­ing as an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist in the Lake Dis­trict, went to Or­ton Longueville Pri­mary School and re­turned to Peter­bor­ough as a ge­og­ra­phy teacher in the 1990s.

He said: “I hope to use the jour­ney to chal­lenge my own and other peo­ple’s per­cep­tions about a num­ber of top­ics in­clud­ing dis­abil­ity, the coun­tries I shall be trav­el­ling through, the sport of glid­ing, and to show that you don’t have to be a fit 20 to 30-yearold to un­der­take a jour­ney like this.

“An old couch-potato such as my­self can do it as well - it just may take a lit­tle longer.”

Paul will be­gin his jour­ney on July 1 in Wasserkuppe in Ger­many, the home of glid­ing. He then plans to head south to Morocco and across to Africa’s most north­ern point Ras ben Sakka in Tu­nisia.

He is call­ing his epic trip The Im­pos­si­ble Jour­ney be­cause he does not know if he will fin­ish it.

In or­der to pay for it Paul has been sav­ing for a few years as well as sell­ing off most of his pos­ses­sions.

He hopes the jour­ney will raise funds and aware­ness for Hand­i­cap In­ter­na­tional, a cause close to his heart fol­low­ing his work in Cum­brian hos­pi­tals.

He said: “In my pro­fes­sional life over the last 10 years, I have be­come acutely aware of the dis­crim­i­na­tion and prej­u­dice faced by peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“I hope I can learn more about the lives of dis­abled peo­ple in the dif­fer­ent coun­tries I shall be vis­it­ing around the world and that I can help to raise aware­ness of dis­abil­ity is­sues, rights and op­por­tu­ni­ties, as well as raise funds for char­i­ties in­volved in pro­mot­ing these aims.”

Paul will be chart­ing his progress on his web­site www.ride­ where it is also pos­si­ble to spon­sor him.

chal­lenge: Paul Tol­son who is a self-con­fessed ‘over-weight’ and un­fit 50-year-old about to un­der­take an epic cy­cling chal­lenge.

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