It’s a headline that could get you thinking the man himself has ended up in a hedge, but no, it’s all about wanting to prove ‘that anything is possible on any reasonably well-built bike’.
Andrew Blackburn is a former design and technology teacher who believes in keeping his carbon footprint down to the bare minimum.
He told local news outlet Cornwall Live, “rather than buying a lovely new bike, I thought it might be fun and more eco-friendly to find an old unloved bike and bring it back to life…”
‘Up-cycling in a literal sense’ in other words.
The father-of-two with a love of Portugal has planned the trip from his home near St Evel to Sagres, on the Algarve coast, via the coast of France, taking a pilgrims’ route across the north of Spain and then dipping down to Porto and on from there.
Most of the trip will be done offroad, on what was “a rusting heap” discovered “behind the public toilets in Padstow”.
Said Andrew: “”I’m tired of hearing people complain that they can’t ride a particular trail, terrain or distance because they don’t have the right bike. I want to prove that anything is possible on any reasonably well built bike.
“Having scoured the internet sites for an old steel mountain bike”, Andrew had “just about given up finding anything” when he chanced on the find behind the toilets.
“I took it home and dug out my boxes of parts from old projects. My son wants to train to be a bike mechanic so he worked with me to bring it back to life.”
As we write, Andrew Blackburn is very possibly already freewheeling through France.
He’s taken the month of October to complete the ride, says Cornwall Live, and is making for a “tiny, self-sufficient cabin in the hills of Monchique”.
Built by his parents, Andrew spent a winter in the cabin a few years ago with his children.
The place is one room, runs off a single solar panel and is fed by two freshwater springs.
Said Andrew: “It has zero eco impact and is beautiful. This year I decided that riding there would be more environmentally-sound than flying.”
And to add to the challenge, he is hoping to raise money for a charity that provides teaching and opportunities for vulnerable people in Cornwall.
For more information on Andrew’s cause, see ‘The Long Shot for People & Gardens’ on crowdfunder (click here).