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Biking for cancer research

CHRISTOPHER Platt and Nicholas Cooke, who hail from the small English town of Malpas, crossed the Austrian-Slovak border on their bicycles July 27, fulfilling half of their 5,000-mile journey to raise money for the North West Cancer Research Fund.
The two cyclists, both in their mid-20s, began their ride above the Arctic Circle in Finland on June 10 and plan to reach Portugal around September 15. They arrived in Slovakia's capital from Vienna and from here plan to go on to Budapest.


CHRIS Platt (right) and Nick Cooke on Bratislava's Nový most.
photo: Brian Jones

CHRISTOPHER Platt and Nicholas Cooke, who hail from the small English town of Malpas, crossed the Austrian-Slovak border on their bicycles July 27, fulfilling half of their 5,000-mile journey to raise money for the North West Cancer Research Fund.

The two cyclists, both in their mid-20s, began their ride above the Arctic Circle in Finland on June 10 and plan to reach Portugal around September 15. They arrived in Slovakia's capital from Vienna and from here plan to go on to Budapest.

"We have ridden 2,500 miles to get to Bratislava, so we are going to celebrate now," Cooke said to The Slovak Spectator on July 28.

Each day they cycle between 50 and 100 miles, carry about 20 kilograms each, and often sleep in a tent to save money.

Originally they did not intend to pass through Slovakia. Their route was to take them through Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Corsica, France, Spain and on to Portugal. However, thanks to having more time available and an eagerness to see more countries, the itinerary has been stretched.

"We get to know very little about these countries back at home. We have visited a part of the world that few [English] people would go to. We have been exploring the region and will try to promote it," Cooke said. Upon returning to England, they plan to write a guide called European Top Trumps to provide information for people wanting to spend a holiday in the countries they have visited.

"In Slovakia, we were surprised by the nice welcome we received. The first person we ran into offered us all kinds of help. We had a similar warm welcome in the Czech Republic, but in some other places, like Austria, people seemed to just want to shoo us along," added Platt.

To follow the journey of Platt and Cook, visit www.5000mileslater.co.uk.
- Zuzana Habšudová

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