2:33pm Tuesday 9th March 2010
By Dan Hearn
THE Entente Cordiale is strained at times, but one man has no doubt about the strength of Anglo-Gallic relations.
Dr Steve Fabes, who is aiming to cycle 50,000 miles around the world in just five years, has revealed his gratitude for the “goodwill and hospitality” he received from the French as he cycled through their country.
The 28-year-old, who grew up in Southdale Road, North Oxford, spent 33 days cycling through the country before heading to Italy and finally reaching Croatia on Friday.
He said: “I’m grateful to the people who took me in, fed me and gave me a bed for the night on three separate occasions and to the strangers who bought me breakfast in cafés twice.
“I’m grateful to the man who saw me cycling and insisted that I take 10 Euros to buy myself a coffee and some food.
“In fact the only thing I am ungrateful for is that scrappy mongrel who gave chase and very nearly sank his teeth into my left ankle near Nice.
“You are a disgrace to your country. Vive la France!”
Dr Fabes has travelled 3,470km since leaving London on Tuesday, January 5.
He added: “Despite contending with mountains and ice, I hugely enjoyed the 33 days I spent cycling through France.
“It was a privilege to cycle through the big Alpine landscape and the Champagne countryside, but more than anything I am grateful for the goodwill and hospitality of the French people.”
On Friday he arrived in Dubrovnik after tackling snow in Britain, the French Alps and carnival season in Italy.
Dr Fabes said: “My front light wasn’t working but with little traffic and a full moon I continued into the night, exhilarated and high on endorphins.
“I finally reached Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic.”
Dr Fabes said the top speed he has so far reached was 67.1km/hr approaching Gap, in the Alps.
He has so far travelled through eight countries and only had to pay for accommodation on nine of the 58 nights he has been travelling.
He added: “After a brief visit to Monaco I crossed the border and arrived in Italy to a very Italian welcome.
“It was carnival season and soon after crossing the border a festival procession passed by with children on floats wearing an array of different costumes.
“While waiting at the traffic lights and watching the display a young Italian girl threw a full bucket of confetti over my head.”
The former Abingdon School pupil hopes to travel across six continents and raise £50,000 for Merlin, an aid agency that gets remote medical clinics running again.
Dr Fabes, who worked at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, is visiting more than 60 countries and travelling about 100 miles a day.
Temperatures in the Sahara could reach more than 50C, while in the Arctic Circle he is expecting lows of -20C.
To follow his journey, visit his website at cyclingthe6.blogspot.com
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