12th December 2017

Portuguese cyclist needs isles help to keep going

A cyclist with a platinum knee who has spent the last 14 years travelling around Europe’s coast has arrived in the isles – but he needs help to keep his journey going.

Adelino Manuel Lopes, 57, from Portugal, has clocked up 58,000 km since taking to the road on his bike in 2003.

He plans to stop in 2020, when he will put his name forward for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

But now with just £10 left in his pocket, Mr Lopes – formerly a ship cook – is looking for a short-term job so he can maintain his bike, buy food and pay for the ferry.

“I came here to find some boat or some jobs here because I travel a lot and you need some work if you want to pay for this or that,” he said.

Mr Lopes with a map he keeps tied to his bike showing his route and newspaper clippings documenting his trip.

Mr Lopes began his adventure after a fall on board a ship left him with a career-scuppering injury.

“I broke my knee so I couldn’t work on the big boats anymore. I got to Portugal so I could do physiotherapy. I like travelling so I said, ‘why don’t I travel the world?’”

He has embarked on five different trips around Europe on his bike (which has been welded together seven times), taking a different route each time. On one journey he took in Turkey and western Syria.

But even war torn Syria could not muster the kind of trouble he experienced in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire.

“I was asleep and it was the weekend and at five o’clock in the morning three to five people came and stole the bike. They were drunk,” he said.

Shetland has proved to be a far more hospitable host so far. Mr Lopes said it is a “beautiful” place and he much prefers it to big cities.

One of the few challenges has been the weather, which does not always make for a pleasant night’s sleep in a tent.

For the full story, see next Friday’s Shetland Times.

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