CYCLING the length of Britain is far from an easy challenge –and for one intrepid filmmaker it has been a trip bedevilled by disaster.
Documentary maker Michael Cutts and his colleague Marika Ramsden set off from Land’s End with high hopes, convinced pedal power alone would get them to John O’Groats.
But after 95 miles Michael had to abandon his bike after damaging his knee. Undeterred, he got hold of an electric-powered bike, and when that failed on him he pressed on, investing in a mini-scooter.
Now he is once again having to overcome the odds after his scooter was stolen shortly after his arrival in Edinburgh.
The pair are journeying across the UK to visit more than 30 schools to film pupils as part of a documentary on sustainability. They both work for the charity SEEd (Sustainability and Environmental Education), and set off to cycle the length of Britain as part of the Cycling 4 SEEd project.
But Mr Cutts was forced to abandon his bike and buy a scooter after suffering tendon damage to his knees.
Now the 33-year-old says the film has been placed in jeopardy after the 50cc Piaggio Liberty scooter (pictured) was stolen in Pilrig Street, off Leith Walk, between 9pm and midnight on Saturday.
Mr Cutts said: “It’s not ideal under the circumstances, but after I damaged my knees I was told to stop cycling on the advice of doctors while we were in Devon. I managed to pick up the scooter in Manchester for £500 so we could continue, with Marika still cycling and me on the scooter.
“When we arrived in Edinburgh on Saturday I never thought about security and left the bike parked beside the pavement outside my friend’s house. When I came back later it was gone.
“It’s hugely disappointing because we don’t have much money to complete the project and can’t replace the scooter.
“We have to leave Edinburgh tomorrow and we can’t really afford public transport to get us to the other schools. Because they are schools and have schedules, it’s not really possible to move the times so we desperately need the scooter back.
“We’ve been appealing on Twitter and we just need someone to find it or hand it back in so we can keep the project going. ”
Mr Cutts, who lives in London, and Ms Ramsden, 25, from Sussex, have been meeting with pupils at schools to discuss issues surrounding sustainability.
He added: “We’ve been to Royal High Primary and Leith Primary. We talk to the kids and get their thoughts and ideas on sustainability. That might be about energy at their schools or installing solar panels or composting. Then we give them the equipment to film a segment we can use in the documentary.
“It’s been going really well so far, despite the setbacks we’ve had, but having the scooter stolen puts that in jeopardy.” A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are investigating after a motor scooter was stolen from outside an address in Pilrig Street
“Anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious in the area on Saturday evening, or the early hours of Sunday morning is asked to come forward.”