Last Friday I had a memorable ride with the Turkish-Dutch actress Funda Müjde in and around Ljubljana. We are both raised in Zaandam, the Netherlands, and we both share a passion; riding a bike. Below more on Funda and her adventure where I was very briefly part of.
Meet Funda Müjde. Funda is a 52 year old actress from the Netherlands. She is confined to a wheelchair after she was severely injured in an accident in 2007. Still, when you see her, there’s 99 per cent chance that she will be laughing/smiling.
This summer Funda is travelling from Amsterdam to Istanbul. The easiest way to do this is by plane, you can also go by car or by bus, maybe even the boat is an option. When you are in a wheel chair all these means of transport face you with challenges. Funda is not afraid of a challenge. She travels from Amsterdam to Istanbul by handbike.
Funda usually rides between 50 and 70 kilometres per day. Her longest ride so far was 97,4 kilometres. She rides either on a race handbike or a heavier so called Berkelbike that allows her to pedal with her legs too. The Berkelbike has an electric engine that helps Funda keeping the bike rolling. Here she’s on the Berkelbike.
>Proud? Oh yes, very much so.< Funda discusses the route with husband Ron. Brother in law René is in the background on the motorbike. The two men are her support crew. Husband Ron wasn’t too happy with the whole trip. ,,When she told me about it, I just thought, let it be. I only saw problems. But I didn’t say too much. If Funda wants something she will really go for it and it will happen.’’ But now, halfway the adventure, a lot of his skepticism has disappeared. Is he proud? ,,Proud? Oh yes, very much so.”
,,I’m so happy that I can ride again. The rides are the most blissful moments of the day. I feel so free. It’s absolute freedom in dependence, because I can’t be without help. But on the bike I don’t think about that. On the bike I’m again Funda, a tough women. I feel the old me return.’’
Funda is not only riding for herself. She started a foundation that promotes physical exercise for disabled and fights for new sport facilities for disabled. http://www.stichtingbewegenisleven.nl/ Behind her you can see Paul van Oostveen, the deputy Head of Mission of the Dutch embassy. He accompanied Funda when she rode out of Ljubljana.