Last week I was a guest speaker on Diktyo FM, a radio station in Crete, Greece. The show IX2 is all about cycling, and is run by the very active cycling community in Chania. The hostess “Godzilla” primed me with plenty of raki between the questions, keeping any nerves at bay! A lot of my words were translated for the non-English speaking listeners, and there was also plenty of extremely alternative music throughout the two hour program.
Well it happens to be Christmas Eve here in Rhodes, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish all my followers and supporters a very big Merry Xmas 🙂
Inside the studio of Diktyo FM
Wilson, my noble stead who has taken me 14, 000 kilometres throughout Europe, has sadly got himself a fatal injury. Over the years the road has been treacherous and demanding for us both, travelling along potholed and gravel tracks, sinking sand dunes, epic mountains, sliding through icy and snowy tarmac, withstood all kinds of ferocious weather, dodged careless drivers, and crashed multiple times into unseen cars or animals. The bike has taken me across most European countries on various trips, totalling well over 20, 000 kilometres. But all things unfortunately come to an end…
This week in Greece, as I slogged up the famous mountain slopes beside Thermopylae, I heard a distinct break in the bike as I pushed down on the pedals. I quickly unclipped the bags and flipped Wilson on his back, wiped away the sweat that was dripping into my eyes, and discovered … nothing! So I rode on, but with each descent I felt more unstable, almost as if the frame was bending below me! I reduced myself to a slow speed and waited for the expertise of a bike shop. By the time I reached Patra, as I prepared the bike to enter my couchsurfing hosts car, I saw the fatal break in the aluminium frame of Wilson. At the rear dropout, where the back wheel joins the frame, a five millimetre gap had distinctively emerged to potentially shatter my adventure. It was a true miracle that I had even arrived in Patras, and within just kilometres the bike could no longer be ridden safely.
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who has helped me to reach 75% of my fundraising target. So far I’ve been on the road for over six months, bringing countless challenges to overcome and endure (my latest challenge came this morning in Kosovo with my first case of diarrhea, and adjusting to using squat toilets with no toilet paper!). This week I’ve also traversed northern Albania, with constant steep gradients to climb up, followed by many sketchy descents weaving between the numerous landslides.
Earlier this week I featured in the online Runtastic blog, a company who focuses on ‘building its own ecosystem in health and fitness with both indoor and outdoor fitness apps, its own online community and fitness hardware’. Runtastic have developed some fabulous apps that promote exercise and encourage regular fitness in our hectic lives. Predictably, my favorite is the Runtastic Roadbike app, which integrates heart rate, cadence, and speed sensors to track your ride!
To have a read of my interview just click Cycling Against Cancer – Chris Gruar on his Charity Trip from England to Australia. In the interview I share some of my experiences from the road over the past six months, and give some insight into the immense challenges of cycle touring alone through a diverse range of European countries.
When I was recently in Turku in the southwest of Finland I did an impromptu radio interview with RadioRobinHood. At the time I was kicking the hacky sack (unsuccessfully) around in the rain with friends I had met earlier in the day. We spotted the entrance to a local radio station, and within minutes I was inside the studio with my friend Franseska and our interviewer Thierry Francis. It was a memorable experience being inside my first studio, and after a nervous start I think I got the message across about both my cycling adventure and AICR.
When I was recently in Helsinki I did my first ever video interview with The Association for International Cancer Research. Since then the team at AICR have edited two versions of my interview, complete with images from the road. I have included both the shorter three minute and longer ten minute versions below, and I hope they give people following the Cycling4Cancer journey a greater understanding of my experiences on the road. Enjoy!
The Shorter Interview
The Longer Interview
In Helsinki I was lucky enough to do an hour long audio interview with the journalist Lucas Dahlstrom from the Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet. If you haven’t guessed already, I can’t even begin to pronounce the name of the paper, and thankfully they are happy to call themselves HBL. I was at The University of Helsinki visiting three AICR granted cancer research projects, and it was an experience I found invaluable to both understand and appreciate the types of projects funded by AICR, as well as motivate me on the saddle to struggle through the miles and spread the word about AICR. A big thank you to Dr Gwen Wathne, the Science Communication Manager of AICR, for all her help and support in Helsinki. It was great to finally meet a representative from the association, and her patience through our video interviews was invaluable!
At the university I also saw fascinating presentations by Pipsa Saharinen, Kaisa Lehti, and Kari Alltalo. I then visited the laboratory to be shown where their work on limiting the growth and spread of tumours was being conducted. To read the article from The University of Helsinki about my visit, please click here.