Cycling solo to Italy: Thomas raises money for KOTK
At LeasePlan we not only promote electric driving, but we also motivate our employees to ride their bike more often. LeasePlan colleague Thomas Thielemans takes that very literally. At the end of this month, he will jump on his bike for a cycling adventure to Genoa in Italy. With his solo bike tour, Thomas wants to raise money for the cancer-fighting initiative “Kom Op Tegen Kanker”.
During the day, Thomas Thielemans (31) manages large accounts at LeasePlan. But when he is not at work, you can often find him on his bike. The longer the ride, the more he likes it. Thomas is not a short-distance cyclist, he seeks adventure. That’s why, at the end of August, he will set off for a solo bike tour to the Italian port of Genoa, some 1,300 kilometers from his hometown Meise. “The intention is to cover 100 to 120 kilometers every day, with a rest day now and then. Eventually I should arrive after 12 days”, says Thomas. The trip is entirely self-supporting: “I will have to rely on my social skills to get help along the way or to find a place to sleep. Through the app ‘Welcome To My Garden’, a kind of couch surfing platform for cyclists and hikers, I have already been offered several places to sleep.”
Thomas worked out his route with Komoot. The first ride takes him to Chimay, after which he will cycle to the Champagne region and across the Alps towards Turin. In Genoa, he will be welcomed by friends who are staying there at the time. “The biggest challenge to me seems to be the passage in the Alps”, says Thomas. “Especially the Col de l’Iseran is quite tough with 48km of climbing. But of course, I have trained sufficiently.”
Kom Op Tegen Kanker
To embark on such a journey, you need to be a little crazy. But for Thomas, this challenge has an extra dimension. With his trip he wants to raise money for Kom Op Tegen Kanker. “This year my mom was diagnosed with cancer. To support her mentally, I wanted to do something for Kom Op Tegen Kanker. And since this bike ride was already haunting my mind, I decided to get sponsored for the challenge.” Thomas already raised a total of about 1,000 euros but hopes for more. And for each kilometer traveled, he himself contributes another 10 cents. “My mom thought I was crazy at first. Of course, mothers are always a little worried. But now she is supporting me, she knows I have character.”
Crossing Belgium by bike
Physically, Thomas has also been able to prepare himself. “During the lockdown, I decided to do some long-distance bike rides. There was nothing else to do anyway. I set a goal: to visit every municipality in Belgium by bike. I didn’t always start from home, but sometimes traveled a bit by train first and then cycled to my destination”, says Thomas. “For example, I took the train to Arlon and cycled from there to Knokke. I’ve seen all corners of our country by bike. That has helped me to better understand people, which is also very useful in my job.”
Thomas tries to cycle as much as possible. “The route towards my office is not that bike-friendly, so I often leave the bike at home when I come to work. But for a trip to the store, I always take my bike. It’s not only ecological, but also very enjoyable. And having a local beer after each bike ride makes any challenge worthwhile!”
Do you want to support Thomas during his cycling adventure towards Genoa? Here you can make a donation to Kom Op Tegen Kanker.