A devoted grandad is embarking on a mission to smash a Guinness World Record by cycling from Edinburgh to Istanbul on a rickshaw.
Len Collingwood, 66, is setting off on his epic ride through 14 countries including France, Austria, Hungary, Serbia and Romania to Turkey and fulfil a dream of making it into the record books.
His aim is to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest journey ever by cycle rickshaw, which currently stands at 1600 miles, while raising cash for Cancer Research UK.
But Len has made the challenge even more difficult by vowing to double that record when he pulls into Istanbul in 100 days’ time. Bizarrely this will not be the longest bike ride of Len’s life. In 2012 he cycled a whopping 8000 miles from Mongolia to Scotland and is in a confident mood ahead of this almighty challenge.
Len said: “Over the last ten years I’ve done a lot of cycling across Asia and Europe. I saw the record was 1600 miles and I thought I could beat that.
“I love my history and culture which is why I have cycled in so many places in the past. This challenge though is very much focused on raising money for charity and being able to become a world record holder. The rickshaw only goes at an average of 7mph but I’m confident I will do it in 100 days.
“I’m looking forward to being out on the road and I’m adamant I can do this.”
Len has undergone a strict training regime which has seen him tackle 300 spin classes in the past six months to be ready for his challenge.
He has also been out on regular trips to adapt to the rickshaw, including completing a coast to coast to Ayr.
Len is accustomed to long distance journeys after travelling around Norway, Finland, Poland, the Himalayas.
As on his previous long distance bicycle journeys, he will be self-sufficient and camping whenever possible.
Before switching to cycling, Len was an experienced long distance runner completing many marathons and mountain runs before he developed Achilles tendonitis.
He has set himself an ambitious target of £15,000 and hopes to build on the £1,000 he has already raised while he’s on the road.
The father-of-two insists going solo is best for him but says the toughest part of the ride will be leaving behind his three-month-old grandson.
He added: “I think saying goodbye to him will be hard for me. I’ve seen him grow so much since he was born and now I won’t see him for three months.
“My family have been very supportive and don’t think I’m crazy like what some will think. I am so determined to do this and I can’t thank everyone enough who have already supported me.”
Len is getting an official city council signatory send off to mark the beginning of his Guinness World record attempt. Cllr Cammy Day and Cllr Joan Griffiths will officiate at his departure at St Giles Cathedral when Mons Meg is fired today.
People can donate online at https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/lens-giving-page