A BARNSTAPLE mountain biker who last week set off on an epic charity cycle ride around Europe has been dealt a massive blow.

A BARNSTAPLE mountain biker who last week set off on an epic charity cycle ride around Europe has been dealt a massive blow.

As reported in the Gazette last week, Chris Alloway left Barnstaple to embark upon a dream four-month £5,000 fund-raiser for the North Devon Hospice.

He had been planning the trip for months, but just hours after reaching French shores, his adventure took a major setback after he was knocked off his bike following a collision with a car.

Chris, 21, was left to pick up the pieces of his charity challenge on a busy roadside just outside the town of Brest.

"The car just ploughed into the back of me; the driver left a bumper behind but didn't stop," Chris told the Gazette.

"I've got a bruised chest and ribs and a few cuts, but apart from that I'm OK.

"I was annoyed to say the least, but luckily a farmer working in a field opposite picked me up and took me to a hostel in Brest."

His £1,000 bike and trailer damaged beyond repair, Chris was forced to abandon them and much of the equipment he had taken with him on the trip.

But he has vowed to complete the journey around France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and Holland - on foot.

"I haven't got the money to buy a new bike, but am going to carry on along the same route by any means that I can," he said.

"I've made it as far as Cadiz in Spain and have spent a few days labouring to earn a bit more money.

"I've bought myself a new backpack and if a bike comes up then great; but I still intend to climb Mont Blanc and will get as far as I can, whether by walking, hitching or using public transport where possible."

Despite his obvious disappointment Chris remains upbeat.

"I'm still enjoying it, although would be enjoying it a lot more if I was on a bike; but that's just the way things go sometimes," he said.

Readers can still sponsor Chris online via his Just Giving website at www.justgiving.com/chrisalloway1