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Update from Steve on his European cycle challenge
"My trip has been simply amazing. So far I have cycled about 4,000 kilometres, visited 11 countries and their capitals, met lots of the Open University's European students and staff, in Vienna taken (and, I think, passed) an exam on planetary science, spoken bits of eight languages (don't be impressed by that - you didn't see the looks I've received), and eaten something very strange things, including lungs and spleen in Austria, a horsemeat-flavoured snack in the Netherlands, and a tripe and chitterlings sausage from France that famously tastes like sewage.
"During the first couple of months I had it easy. Cycling across northern France, Belguim, the Netherlands and northern Germany was either relatively flat or extremely flat. Things have certainly changed since I hit Austria. This week alone I've climbed three alpine passes, all higher than any mountain in England and two significantly higher than Ben Nevis. All this has been very good news for my blood pressure. I've already lost 15 kilos since I started. But the ride isn't going to get any easier from here. Switzerland, southern France, the Pyranee's and Spain are hardly without their hills and I suspect the rising temperatures will start to become an issue. I'll have to start cycling early in the morning, have a study break around midday for a few hours and then get back on the bike for more miles before bedtime.
"But however it pans out, it's going to be fantastic. The time is flying by. I can't believe that I'm halfway through my first year already."