A student spoke of her joy today after completing a 370-mile ride from Amsterdam to Paris – on a UNICYCLE.
Courageous Yoshe Watson, 20, set off on September 4 and managed to complete the gruelling challenge in just 10 days, despite being hit by a LORRY and becoming lost on a motorway.
The music student said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done, but insisted it was worth it to raise money for a stillbirth and neonatal death charity, after her baby sister Hope was stillborn in 2008.
Yoshe said: “The idea for this trip actually originated in the pub, where I thought it would be fun to go travelling on a unicycle and there was also the other side of it with what happened with Hope in 2008 really made me want to find a way to raise money for Sands.
“I woke up the next morning, still liked the idea, and started looking for unicycles to buy.
“I started unicycling four months before I left for Amsterdam and I initially just learned the basics like balancing, before stepping it up and training every day on the harder stuff like corners, hills, and stopping.”
But as soon as she set off from Amsterdam, Yoshe, from Ellon, Aberdeenshire, suffered her first setback in a long line of problems.
She said: “I fell off on the first day and burst my hand open, which wasn’t a great start.
“I didn’t have the stamina required either and by the second or third day I was realising just how far I was actually going and I got a real sense of the punishment my body would take.
“I was leaving very early, spending all day unicycling, getting in at night, going to sleep, dreaming about unicycling and doing it all over again.
“Some roads could be difficult in the middle of towns, weighing up traffic lights, other traffic and people, and then one day I actually mistakenly went on a motorway for a while, which wasn’t part of the plan, so I got off that very very sharpish.
“The worst was the eighth day. I’d been quite sick all day and I’d lost my appetite, so as much as I was trying to replenish energy, I couldn’t.
“I was really dizzy and it was pretty windy. I could feel myself blanking out while unicycling, so I tried to get off and stop and just as I did, there was a lorry coming up behind me and it hit my arm.
“I was OK, but it was enough to really shake me up, it was probably the scariest moment of the trip.”
Yoshe’s parents Ian, 47, and Sarah 46, were horrified when they found out what had happened, but the determined Northampton University student was adamant she would continue and she achieved her goal two days later when she reached the Eiffel Tower.
She said: “It was crazy the amount of emotions running through me when I got to the finish.
“It was mostly surreal, because you’ve just spent the last 10 days on a unicycle with your absolute goal being to reach the Eiffel Tower and being just desperate to get there.
“I was so happy to have finished it because every part of my body was in so much pain by this point, I was completely exhausted by the time I got there.”
Yoshe, who also has two brothers Zack, 11, Josh, nine, and sister Coral, seven, managed to raise #1,180 for charity Sands who she says helped her family immensely when baby Hope was born stillborn.
She said: “This trip has been the biggest challenge I have ever set myself, but the thought of raising money for this fantastic charity has continually motivated me.
“Sands has been a charity close to my heart since they supported myself and my family after my baby sister, Hope, was stillborn in 2008.
“It was very tough on us especially as my brothers and sister were so young and they were struggling to understand what was going on, but we’ve all really pulled together as a family.”
Every day in the UK 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth.