Stephanie returns from bike ride
PUBLISHED: 17:23 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:08 10 May 2010
Jersey Evening Post
A SORE derrière is charitable cyclist Stephanie Cowling s only complaint as she looks back on a 500-mile bike ride down the western coast of France. The 23-year-old student at Plymouth University, who grew up in Saffron Walden, is currently relaxing after
A SORE derrière is charitable cyclist Stephanie Cowling's only complaint as she looks back on a 500-mile bike ride down the western coast of France.
The 23-year-old student at Plymouth University, who grew up in Saffron Walden, is currently relaxing after completing her 10-day bicycle trek.
"It's turned out to be an even longer ride than I'd planned," said Stephanie, speaking on her mobile from where she finished her journey, in Hossegor.
"I set off on August 23 and, 10 days and 500 miles later, arrived in Hossegor with sore knees and a sore bottom, but feeling very proud of what I've done.
"Everyone's been so supportive - it's amazing how encouraging everyone has been," she added.
Stephanie, who attended the Saffron Walden County High School until she was 13, cycled down a large chunk of the French coast - from Saint-Malo to Hossegor - 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 meant Stephanie has spent some nights in bed and breakfasts, she carried camping equipment with her and spent nights in the tent where it was practical to do so.
"Looking back on the ride, it's easy to forget how hard it was at times," she told the Reporter.
"All I can really remember well is all the sights I saw, all the villages I biked through and took in, in a way I would never have done had I been driving.
"But there were times when I felt absolutely shattered, and it was a real effort to carry on."
Other troubles that the benevolent biker encountered on her travels 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 set herself a fundraising target of £500 for her ride - and has already smashed it. More than £750 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.