A WORLD record-breaking grandfather has crossed the border into Serbia on his rickshaw and is more determined than ever to complete his epic journey.
Len Collingwood left Edinburgh on June 1 and has passed the 1600-mile mark just outside of Berlin, making him the new holder of the Guinness World Record for the longest ever rickshaw ride.
But since then the 66-year-old has been putting in the miles to double that record and expects to arrive in Turkish capital Istanbul in a month’s time when he will have cycled an incredible 3200 miles.
Len has cycled through 12 countries in just ten weeks, travelling through respective capital cities while raising money for Cancer Research UK.
He will make his way through Serbia before going to Bulgaria and from there crossing into Turkey where he will get to the finishing line in Istanbul.
The Edinburgh grandad said: “It started off as an idea, a challenge I set myself, but now I feel like I could actually do this. When you set it, you never know if you’re going to make it or not, but I feel really well and I will make it to Istanbul.”
Len has been consuming around 4000 calories a day to fuel his effort of cycling between 40 to 60 miles a day.
The father-of-two has seen some glorious landscapes and cities during his adventure, but he knows he has a soft spot for one place in particular.
Len said: “I loved Budapest. It’s such a beautiful city.
“It’s one of the greatest cities in the world. The people have been by far the friendliest during my trip so far. One guy gave me a bunch of grapes that he’d just picked.
“The Czech Republic was tough, going up 900m hills which are big climbs in a rickshaw.
“You’ve just got to be patient at that stage and just keep going.”
Len’s relentless efforts were rewarded when he received his biggest donation from a British tourist who contributed £250 towards his target of £15,000.
The grandfather still boasts a clean bill of health and puts it down to his vigorous training regime, which saw him tackle 300 spin classes in the past six months to be ready for his challenge.
He has been camping so far, but was forced to check into a hotel one night in Hungary during a thunderstorm beyond anything he had ever witnessed.
Len said: “It had been a humid day. Then there was torrential rain and high winds, which I’d never seen anything like before. It made camping practically impossible.”
Len is spurred on by support from his family and enjoys seeing pictures of his baby grandson, who was only three months old when he left Edinburgh.
He said: “I am generally missing the family. I speak to my wife a minimum every other day and I’ve been keeping an eye on social media for my young grandson.
“I can see the difference in him in just the ten weeks I’ve been away.
“The reality has kicked in that I’m only four weeks away from doing what I set out to do. It’s very exciting and I’m adamant I’ll be finishing.”
Len celebrated setting the new Guiness World Record by stopping last month to spend three days recovering with his wife Sally in Berlin.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” he said.
“It is a wonderful feeling.
“It’s great to know I have done it and set a new world record.
“It was an unplanned stop, but I wanted to celebrate and I’ve missed my wife as we hadn’t seen each other in around six weeks, so it just seemed the perfect time to meet up.”
To donate to Len’s cause, go to https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/lens-giving-page.