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Diabetic cyclist to inspire others with 30-day European challenge

2,000 mile ride will raise funds for Diabetes UK

Thanks to a certain Lance Armstrong, we’re all familiar with the story of a cyclist battling serious health problems to take part in the sport he loves.

Paul Farrelly from Portsmouth is another determined cyclist who won’t let his type 1 diabetes stand in the way of his dream to cycle across Europe in 30 days.

Paul, 52, won a competition which allowed him to fund his 30-day ride from Portsmouth to Turkey, and wants his achievement to help other diabetics by raising money for Diabetes UK.

Paul is well into the grueling training regime which will set him up for the 2,000 mile journey starting on May 2, from Portsmouth to France, through Belgium and Holland and across Germany before passing through the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. He’ll continue through Romania and Bulgaria and finish his challenge in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 2.

Paul says: “In terms of my training programme, the hardest part for me is to achieve the right balance for my blood glucose levels which will enable me to perform at my best. With the help of Dr Ian Gallen (top consultant for Sir Steve Redgrave), I have found my optimum blood glucose which allows me to ride most efficiently and effectively.”

Paul, from Southsea, is averaging 194 miles a week to help him prepare for his 70-mile-a-day target on his hand built Koga bike. To get his body ready for the challenge he needs a high volume of carbohydrates and liquids including energy drinks and shakes.

Paul’s adventure has been made possible by a grant from The Bayer Diabetes Care Dreamfund. He impressed judges with his pledge to show other people living with diabetes that the condition doesn’t have to hold you back.

Paul had a dream of cycling across Europe to educate fellow diabetes patients about the importance of diabetes monitoring and management as well as raising funds for Diabetes UK. From this, the Bayer Diabetes Care European Cycle Challenge was born!

On hearing about Paul’s challenge, five time gold medallist, Sir Steve Redgrave, sent him a message of support: “I wish you all the best for your European Cycle Challenge. Raising awareness of diabetes and re-iterating that the condition can be managed in order for you to achieve your life goals is something which I truly believe in.

"When I was diagnosed with diabetes leading up to the Sydney Olympics, I was devastated as people told me I would never be able to compete at that level again. However with the right advice, commitment to achieve and a positive attitude to overcome the barriers, anything is possible and anyone with the condition should take that on board and realise what they are capable of achieving.”

Paul says: “This ride will be really tough and I will still have to monitor my blood glucose on a very regular basis, often up to eight times a day. I will be using a Breeze 2 blood glucose monitor2 to continuously keep my diabetes in check. Now I have found my optimum level to allow me to ride at my best I can’t wait to begin my 2,000 mile journey – bring it on!”

Follow Paul’s progress here

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