Welcome to this rather special episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast. Since the inception of the podcast in 2017, we’ve featured many people with fascinating stories to tell; people who have cycled across the world, people who have inspired others, people who have displayed their passion for cycling in some extraordinary ways. But the guest on this episode of the podcast eclipses almost all others when it comes to long-distance cycling achievement, Mr Mark Beaumont.
Where were we? Or rather, where was Paul Gentle? The observant amongst you – well, the ones who listened to Episode 015 of The Cycling Europe Podcast – will remember that Paul didn’t make it quite as far as Nordkapp, for fairly obvious reasons. But he did make it as far as Nice in France and will hopefully one day soon return to complete the journey. But here in the written world of these CyclingEurope.org posts (as opposed to the spoken world of podcasts), Paul has just arrived in Valencia.
When was the last time you were instructed to stay at home for weeks (probably months) on end and told to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t involve leaving your house (other than to buy food, pick up medicines or get a bit of exercise)? Mmm… It’s a first for me.
Imagine you set off to cross a continent on your bicycle only for a global pandemic to stop you in your tracks. That’s what happened to Paul Gentle as he attempted to cycle from Tarifa in Spain to Nordkapp in Norway. The Cycling Europe Podcast spoke to Paul about his plans, his cycle through Spain and France and his race against the clock to get back home to the UK while it was still possible.
It seems likely is that in a few weeks time, we will be at the point on the curve where Spain and Italy now find themselves. Yesterday it was reported that in Italy “The latest crackdown effectively bans jogging and bicycle rides, the only types of outdoor exercise that were allowed.” Might it be a good idea to refrain from doing so here in the UK when we are at an earlier point on the curve? I think it might.