Saffron Walden Student Conquers Western France
PUBLISHED: 13:10 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:34 31 May 2010
Jersey Evening Post
A SORE derriere is charitable cyclist Stephanie Cowling s only complaint as she nears the end of a 400-mile bike ride down the western coast of France. The 23-year-old student at Plymouth University, who grew up in Saffron Walden, was around halfway into
A SORE derriere is charitable cyclist Stephanie Cowling's only complaint as she nears the end of a 400-mile bike ride down the western coast of France.
The 23-year-old student at Plymouth University, who grew up in Saffron Walden, was around halfway into her epic journey when the Reporter spoke to her.
"It's turning out to be an even longer ride than I'd planned," said Stephanie, speaking on her mobile from somewhere between La Rochelle and Royan. "I set off on August 23 and now, on my sixth day in, I've covered around 300km [190 miles]. I've been doing eight-hour days and going really well, but today I'm going a bit slowly - my legs are getting tired."
Stephanie, who attended the Saffron Walden County High School until she was 13, is cycling down a large chunk of the French coast in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a charity dedicated to researching the condition and supporting its sufferers.
"I think cystic fibrosis is a really good cause," she said. "The charity does research into treatment and cause and the life expectancy has gone up from 30 to 40 in just a few years.
"A friend of mine has it and with my physiotherapy degree I work with a lot of cystic fibrosis patients. My friend has to fly to the UK every year to have check-ups. He was really keen for me to do this cycle."
Although poor weather has meant Stephanie has spent some nights in bed and breakfasts, she is carrying camping equipment with her and is spending nights in the tent where it is practical to do so.
"I camped last night," she said, "and had a terrible night's sleep. I brought a tent, and a sleeping bag, but no mat! So I slept on hard ground. I'm hoping that if I cycle really hard today, I'll be so tired tonight that I'll just pass out and it won't matter."
Other troubles that the benevolent biker has encountered on her travels have included a man pursuing her asking her for sex, repeatedly getting lost, and the perpetual bane of the long-distance cyclist: a sore bottom.
Stephanie hopes to get to her destination, Hossegor, this Saturday. She set herself a fundraising target of £500 for her ride - and has already smashed it. More than £630 has been donated to the cause through her Justgiving.com website.
If you would like to donate and help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, visit www.justgiving.com/stephaniecowling to make a contribution.