Between August and October I plan to ride a bike across Europe, from the Atlantic in France to the Black Sea in Romania. I am doing this to try and raise awareness and money that will go towards research for new therapies and, ultimately, a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 16 months. It's generally not something I tell people about, in fact I go out of my way to not tell people; the last thing I want is special treatment. I’ve basically spent my life trying to pass myself off as ‘normal’, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to lead the life that I do. But many people with CF are very sick from a young age and never get the chance to have a regular life. With this in mind I’ve increasingly felt a weight of responsibility to put an effort in to contributing to the Cystic Fibrosis community.
The reason I've decided to do something now is because I turned 30 at the end of last year, and 30 was a big deal for me. Let me explain: When I was young I read a magazine article about Cystic Fibrosis and it mentioned that the life expectancy was 30. At the time I knew what I had, but I'd never considered the fact that it was supposed to end my life early until that point. That's not to suggest I ever believed it, but I made a deal with myself at the time to prove that article wrong by making a statement when I did turn 30.
I like the idea of a long distance cycle tour because it involves an ongoing physical challenge, and one of the things that I’ve found most helpful in my own life, both physically and mentally, is engaging in regular exercise. I can’t stress enough the importance of getting out and being active, particularly on the days when you actually don’t feel like it (on this journey I’ll no doubt be putting my own words to the test). Getting this message across is perhaps even more important to me than the actual raising of funds.
The ride will take me over 4,000km on a course along the Eurovelo trail from the northern coast of France, through parts of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria and on to the Black Sea coast in Romania. Basically, it’s going to be epic, and because I like to take photos I’m going to document the whole trip with daily updates on my Instagram account (@paulmichael) and through my blog - www.paulmichaelcycle.com So please donate if you can, otherwise just follow my updates to see how I get on!