We really do have some of the most amazing supporters here at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. 

Steve Groombridge from Tonbridge in Kent has finished an epic 4,000 mile journey on bike from Nordkapp in Norway and finishing in Tarifa in Spain. Amazingly before the journey, Steve had only ever cycled 45 miles in one go before taking on the epic journey.

We caught up with Steve as he was resting up for a few days before starting his next challenge!

What inspired you to take on such a challenge?

I’ve always wanted to take on a big challenge/ long journey. I have read a lot of different books by adventurers & explorers and it is these which inspired me even more to tackle such a journey to see how I could cope by myself in challenging and difficult situations. As well I’ve wanted to experience new cultures and sights. I’m currently on a five month sabbatical and gave myself ten weeks to complete the trip so I wanted to do something which was fairly accessible and reasonably simple. This is why I chose cycling. I had all the skills required to start albeit no experience of touring and no knowledge of fixing bikes! The furthest I had ever cycled before in one go was 45 miles! Cycling also allows a nice mix of freedom; being able to stop when I like, go as fast or as slow as I like, and it made me more approachable too to people I came across.

Why did you choose to raise money for the charities you did?

I wanted to raise money for charity as part of my trip to add an extra dimension to my journey, give me more focus and motivation. Alzheimer’s Research: I wanted to choose a charity which was close to me - my grandad suffered from this awful disease in the final years of his life.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust: I wanted to support a charity which helps to promote leadership, confidence and provide opportunities to young people which they otherwise would never had through sport and physical activity. I feel that through sport and outdoor activities - particularly while I was in the Scouts, it really helped to develop me in to the person I am today, boosted my confidence, life skills and given me the motivation to take on everyday challenges and once in a lifetime challenges like this one. This is why I felt the Trust would be a perfect fit as it trains former athletes to help young people in this way.

Hope and Homes for Children: I wanted a portion of the money I raised to also be put to good use outside of the UK as I feel wealth isn’t always spread equally. This charity aims to put an end to orphanages across the world and to give all children a family and stable base to be raised in. I think this will have significant knock-on benefits to those children, countries and economies if all can have a stable up bringing. 

What were the high points of the trip?

Definitely meeting new people. Nearly everyone I spoke to was really interested to hear about my trip and why I am doing it and many of them also had their own stories, trips and experiences they wanted to share with me. Many were kind and wanted to provide help where they could. For example, I pulled into a road side cafe for a coffee along a main road in Finland and there was a family eating ice cream outside. They watched me roll up and and the Dad called out in Finnish and then in English saying how it was a good day for cycling. We then started chatting briefly explaining my trip. I got my coffee and ended up sitting with them for a good half hour talking about my trip and the reasons for it and what I do back home. It turned out he was a retired airline pilot and as a family they travel a lot, most recently sailing across the Atlantic on their own boat from Portugal to the Caribbean with their young boys! 

Other high points were trying local foods and beer, learning about different cultures and having time to think and clear my head from stresses of the normal routine at home and work. I Learned a lot more about myself including my limits and abilities to overcome challenges both physically, mentally and emotionally. It is amazing how your body can adapt to almost anything - like cycling 100-150km and sometimes more everyday!

I enjoyed the simplicity of every day, wake up, pack up the tent, cycle, get food and water, find somewhere to camp for the night, plan the next day. Living in the moment and not worrying too much about what is further than a day or two ahead

How did you feel at the end of the trip?

Approaching the end I was excited, happy, relieved I had made it and generally felt great! At the end point I was a bit more subdued, looking round at where I was, thinking about where I had come from; trying to actually take it all in.  

I am overwhelmed by the support I received from friends, family and strangers throughout the trip. I don’t think I could have got through it quite so well without them! As well, the amount of donations I received for the three charities is just amazing - far exceeding the target I set.

If you've been inspired by Steve's story, please do make a donation on his Virgin Money page 

You can check out . You can follow him @stevegroombridge on Instagram and check  out some of his amazing pictures as he travels across Europe.


 

 

A view shots along the way.