Edinburgh pensioner sets world record rickshaw ride across Europe to raise funds for charity

Len Collingwood'Rickshaw'arrives in Turkey.
Len Collingwood'Rickshaw'arrives in Turkey.
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He’s rattled his way nearly 4,000 miles across Europe on a rickshaw hoping to gather enough pace to set a new world record.

And now rickshaw riding grandad Len Collingwood has crossed the finish line in the Turkish capital of Instanbul today after starting his epic journey in Edinburgh on June 1.

The 66-year-old will have to wait for bosses at Guinness to verify he’s smashed the old world record by nearly double but he is ecstatic to have completed the challenge.

He now can’t wait to see his wife Sally, who is flying into Turkey tomorrow.

The couple will spend a week in the capital, a city they both love.

Len has cycled through 14 countries in just 15 weeks, travelling through respective capital cities while raising money for Cancer Research UK.

“I made my way over to Istanbul last night and cycled the last couple of miles this morning, he said.

“Two local lawyers agreed to act as independent witnesses, which is brilliant.

“I have no plans for celebrating tonight but am as excited as anything to see my wife tomorrow – we’ve kept in touch over Whatsapp and I saw her in Berlin in July.”

Len said the secret to his cycling success was keeping it simple.

“I knew it would be a long, slow journey but it was all about continuing to put one foot in front of the other, being patient and keeping going.”

He particularly enjoyed the latter part of the ride, seeing new places and sights.

“It’s been really good, he added. “I have been through lots of areas I haven’t been through before.

“I went through the Iron Gates in Romania and came down to Serbia, through another beautiful gorge there.

“It’s been really interesting the last month and I’ve seen places I would definitely love to go back and explore more such as Bulgaria.

“The roads are beautiful and quiet and the mountains are incredible.

“I’d love to go back to the Iron Gates and also the ancient city of Plovdiv built around 7 hills, in southern Bulgaria.

“It is the European Capital of Culture next year.”

Along they way he said he has met many people who have given him support and encouragement.

And despite the long days, averaging about 30-40 miles a day he has escaped injury free.

He put it down to a vigorous training regime which saw him tackle 300 spin classes to prepare for his challenge as well as being familiar with the demands of long distance cycling after completing an 8,000-mile ride from Mongolia to Scotland in 2012.

Len also hopes to raise £15,000 for charity in the process of fulfilling his dream of having his name in the record books.

Once verified, it will be double the current record for the longest journey ever by cycle rickshaw – which stands at 1,600 miles

To donate, visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/lens-giving-page

newsen@edinburghnews.com