An amazing charity cycling challenge through seven countries has fulfilled a 40-year dream for Pennine’s George Bradbury and raised vital funds for a school in Uganda.
George, who is Pennine’s Major Accounts Sales Manager, set off in April to pedal solo through Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, France and over the Pyrenees, following the old pilgrim route to reach Santiago de Compostela.
He cycled 2080 miles in 40 days, travelling 65-70 miles each day and staying at Youth Hostels, hotels, auberges and B&Bs along the way, and was so inspired by his experiences that he recommends others to travel sections of the route for themselves.
“I am not religious but there was definitely someone looking after me throughout my journey,” said George who is now back at home with his wife and family and can’t wait to share his memories with colleagues at Pennine Telecom in Bury.
“The trip went so well and seemed so easy, it felt like there was a rope on the front of the bike, pulling me along. I only needed one repair to my bike, when a wheel spoke broke, and it happened when I was in the only town for miles around, and minutes away from the bike shop, which was open! The owner stripped the bike down, repaired it and cleaned it, all for only five euros.”
Although the weather was unseasonably cold and wet for much of the way through Spain, George managed to evade most of the showers and was thankful to be untouched by a violent storm which followed him over a 4,500 foot pass in the Pyrenees.
“I met so many interesting people of all nationalities and am very happy to have fulfilled a 40-year wish. When I arrived in Santiago de Compostela, I attended the 12 o’clock Mass and during the service I got a mention as ‘the Pelegrino who had cycled from England’.
“The cathedral was packed with tourists and pilgrims, many of whom had walked hundreds of miles. It was a memorable experience.”
George added: “Everyone should consider doing something like this. I would encourage others to get on their bikes and try the many wonderful cycle paths in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.”
So far George has raised £5000 for the Daystar School in Hoima, Uganda, a charity supported by Pennine Telecom’s Managing Director Andrew Roberts, and the money is still coming in.
The school educates 12 to 30-year-old students up to A-Level standard and children travel hundreds of miles to try and get a place at the school, although educational equipment is scarce. George is raising money to buy a plot of land to create a farm to teach the children how to grow and produce food.
“We have been following George’s journey every day and are pleased that he has found this sabbatical from work such a rewarding experience. We urge anyone who has not yet supported this worthy cause to log onto George’s website www.crazygeorge.org to read all about his journey and pledge a donation,” said Andrew Roberts.