Mike Langridge and Helen Clarkson are either mad romantics or romantically mad. Either way, despite knowing one another for less than a year, the couple are planning to cycle 26,000 miles around the world together.
Both newly single, each put their stock in the dating app Tinder, with Mike stating on his profile that he dreamed of cycling round the world.
Helen’s first message of – “so, when are we leaving?” – sealed the relationship between the two and encouraged them to embark on this partly brave, partly crazy adventure.
Mike said: “I thought, ‘yes!’ That was the perfect first message” Jokingly, he suggested “how about Tuesday?” and for that reason they will indeed leave on that day of the week in April 2017.
Their epic journey will take them from Glasgow, down the length of England, through northern Europe, around the Baltic Sea, though Eastern Europe, passing into Turkey before entering Iran.
Mike and Helen will then take the Pamir Highway bordering the likes of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan on their way to China. They will then travel from Singapore to Australia before crossing that continent and into New Zealand before finishing off by crossing another continent in North America.
It’s a serious itinerary, but it’s also evidence of where they are in life and how pleased they are to have met one another. Separately, each took a rather ‘all-or-nothing approach’ to a dating app which has a reputation for brief rather than lasting relationships.
Mike said: “I decided I wanted to meet someone who likes doing the same things I do. Enjoy spending time doing something rather than squabbling about what to do. I was really out there to find a connection, so I made my profile really honest about me and the things I liked to do.”
Helen agrees: “I liked that we seemed to have a lot in common and I thought this was maybe the guy I had been looking for. People don’t think that’s what Tinder is for, but it worked out for us.”
So certain was Helen of her hunch that Mike was the guy for her that she left one date midway through to take Mike up on the offer of a drink. The two got chatting and realised they had been living a mere stone’s throw from each other the entire time.
What they certainly have in common is their openness and honesty. Each admits to having dealt with mental health issues in the past which is why they chose to raise money on their trip for the mental health charity, Mind.
Strangely enough, it was near penury and all the entwined adversities which brought Helen to cycling. She said: “There was a point where I was working three jobs and still couldn’t afford my rent. London was ridiculous for someone who had just graduated. It was a real struggle. That’s actually why I started cycling, it was a free mode of transport and I already had the bike.”
Little did she know this inexpensive means of transport would lead her to meet the guy she was looking for and embark upon the journey of a lifetime. However, aren’t they concerned that 14 months on the road might be a strain on their relationship?
Mike, who has just trained as a lawyer, is pragmatic but positive about their chances. “There’s no reason to think that it won’t work.” The commitment is evident as he states: “I decided that my life could be better spent doing something which was important to me, which is this project.”
Whether this is sensible doesn’t seem to be a major concern for these intrepid young cyclists. It’s more about the experience, having an adventure and hopefully understanding each other a little better in the process.
Though the background might be a bit out of the ordinary, anyone standing in their way would almost certainly be told to ‘get on their bike’.
To follow Mike and Helen on their journey and donate visit http://www.evereast.co.uk/