Saturday 10 December 2016

Charity unicyclist crosses Europe

Published 10/06/2015 | 14:36

Ed Pratt, 19, carries a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove and all his other kit in panniers attached to his 36-inch Nimbus Oracle unicycle
Ed Pratt, 19, carries a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove and all his other kit in panniers attached to his 36-inch Nimbus Oracle unicycle

A teenager who aims to be the first person to unicycle around the world has crossed his first continent.

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Ed Pratt left his home in Curry River, near Taunton, Somerset, in March to begin his 18,000 mile, one-wheeled adventure.

The unicycle enthusiast, who aims to complete the charity trip in two years to fundraise for School In A Bag, has so far biked across France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria and into Turkey.

The 19-year-old, who carries a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove and all his other kit in panniers attached to his 36-inch Nimbus Oracle unicycle, is now only 130 miles from Istanbul.

The teenager plans to pass through China, down south east Asia and across Australia and America.

Mr Pratt then crosses the Atlantic before hopping back onto his unicycle and venturing through Portugal and Spain, the southern coast of France and back towards England.

Over the last three months, Mr Pratt's trip has caught the imagination of many Europeans, with people offering him hospitality, words of encouragement and beer.

"I'm in Turkey, which means that I've unicycled across a continent," Mr Pratt said.

"How many people can say that?

"Well technically I think I still have to cycle past Istanbul to officially be in Asia, but that's just being picky, so as far as I'm concerned I just unicycled across Europe.

"Thank you to all the Europeans that hosted me, filled up my water bottles, fed me, fixed the unicycle, bought me beer, cheered as I rode past and wrote kind words of encouragement through messages and comments.

"Without your support I doubt I would have made it this far.

"Or if I did, I doubt I would still have such a massive grin on my face.

"I know that in the context of my whole world trip, crossing Europe is still just scratching the surface, but it still feels amazing to finally arrive in Turkey after almost three months on the road."

Mr Pratt is staying at a hotel Kirklareli and taking a hard earned rest before resuming his trip.

"Well I say 'staying at' I actually mean my tent is pitched up round the back and the owner kindly agreed to using the lounge and free wifi," he said.

"I can't wait to start making some more progress into Turkey and excited to reveal what the second continent of this amazing tour has to offer."

Mr Pratt first learned how to unicycle two years ago and set up a unicycle club at his former school, Wellington School, and completed the 140-mile C2C route.

The School In A Bag charity provides stationary equipment and resources to enable a poor, orphaned, vulnerable or disaster-affected child to write, draw, colour and learn.

His journey can be followed on www.worldunicycletour.com.

Press Association

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