A CYCLE-MAD couple who fell head over wheels for each other after meeting on dating app Tinder are set to get on their bikes for a round-the-world charity adventure.
Helen Clarkson and Mike Langridge first met on the app in January and got their spokes in a spin when they realised they had a shared lifelong ambition of pedalling around the globe.
And now, after a whirlwind nine-month romance, they’re immersed in planning the 26,000-mile trip.
Lab assistant Helen, 27, said: “I’m going on my dream trip with my dream man. It’s like a fairytale.”
Helen found herself drawn to Mike’s Tinder profile where he stated he loved the outdoors, photography and dreamed of cycling around the world.
Her first message of, “So, when are we leaving?” got his attention, with Mike’s joking reply of “next Tuesday” sealing the deal.
For that reason they will start their epic adventure on that day of the week in April next year.
Helen, originally from Kent, moved to Glasgow last year.
Not knowing anyone in the city, and in recovery from depression, she turned to Tinder to try to find love. And within days, she came across Edinburgh-born Mike.
The trainee solicitor, who had also experienced depression, asked her out for a drink. Helen was so delighted that she left halfway through another date to meet him, and it turned out they made a wheelie, wheelie good match.
They moved in together just a few months later and that put the wheels in motion to bring their cycling dream to fruition.
Helen first took up cycling when living in London because, even with three jobs, she was struggling to cover her rent, and it was the cheapest way of getting around. But she soon caught the biking bug.
After being hit by a car, instead of giving up the sport, Helen became more determined and signed up for the London-to-Paris ride. She later completed her first solo cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.
She found exercise, mainly cycling, to be a great aid in her recovery from mental illness.
Mike, 29, has loved cycling for as long as he can remember. He completed a solo cycle from Vancouver to San Francisco in 2014, and has biked extensively across Scotland.
The couple’s 2017 cycle venture will be on bikes they built themselves. It will take them through the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, America and back to Britain after 16 months on the road.
They hope to raise £26,000 for mental health charity MIND, chosen to reflect the couple’s personal mental health experiences.
“Before I met Mike, I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel, but in just a couple of months my life has changed completely,” adds Helen.
“Mike and I can’t imagine life without each other and the fact that we’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip that neither of us thought would ever be possible just makes it even better. But this is really just the beginning of our adventure.”
Mike said: “After we met, we decided that our lives didn’t have to carry on in the way that had caused both of us to be depressed in the first place. And now we couldn’t be happier.
“The removal of the stigma of mental illness is the route to helping people get better – and supporting a charity that aims to do this will just make our trip even more worthwhile. But the fact that I’m doing it with Helen by my side is undoubtedly the best bit!”
To follow and support Helen and Mike on their journey, visit evereast.co.uk
The things we do for love. Do you have an inspiring or unusual story of your true love that you want to share? How did you woo your perfect partner? What barriers did you overcome? Email firstname.lastname@example.org