Cyclist stops in Lausanne FAI Head Office on his way to visit all the gliding sites in the world

Tolson visitThe FAI had the pleasure of welcoming to its head office in Lausanne, Switzerland, Paul Tolson, a 50-year-old Englishman planning to cycle around the globe. Paul's aim is to visit every gliding site in the world to promote this sport and of raising funds for charities such as Aerobility.

Paul was received by FAI Secretary General Jean-Marc Badan who warmly congratulated him on taking on this ambitious challenge. He thanked him for visiting the FAI Head Office and for spreading the passion for gliding. He hoped that his journey would be successful in raising funds and awareness for disabled people.

Paul started his trip on 1st July from the famous gliding site of Wasserkuppe, Germany. The first stage of his journey will take him down to the bottom of the African continent in about 3 years.

How did you think up the idea of undertaking this project ?

To travel the world is something that I have wanted to do since being a teenager. Originally it was supposed to be by motorcycle, but then I thought “No, that’s too easy !”, so I decided to do it by bicycle. Then I had the idea to combine it with my other great passion in life which is gliding by visiting all the gliding clubs around the world. I also wanted to raise money for charities and organisations that promote disabled gliding – so for the Africa part I am raising money for Aerobility, which is now working with the British Gliding Association.

What are you next destinations ?

Geneva, and then France, Spain and Gibraltar. I hope to arrive in Morocco in the middle of September.

Will you be able to cycle through the whole of Africa or will you have to take some other means of transport ?

I hope to cycle all the way to South Africa but I will probably not be able to cycle through Algeria because of the difficulty to get a visa. My big project is actually to cycle from the northernmost to the southernmost point in Africa, and that means from Tunisia to South Africa.

Are you yourself a glider pilot ?

I started when I was 14 years old with the Royal Air Force Gliding and Soaring Association at the Four Counties Gliding Club. Then I was a member of a few different clubs in England such as the Cambridge Gliding Club.

The FAI wishes good luck to Paul Tolson on his journey !