It's possibly the most eccentric crossing of the mountain ranges since Hannibal first took a team of elephants Rome. A UK man has made history by crossing the European Alps on an original 1970s space hopper.

Steven Payne completed the 76 mile journey Bardoneccia to Grenoble on the retro rubber play thing.

Payne has a reputation of making grand journeys on less-than-grand modes of transport.
In 2015 he completed the 200-mile Pilgrims Way in England dressed as a monk, after being diagnosed with Leukaemia. He spent the next winter travelling across Wales in a coracle – a medieval rudderless boat.

Pilgrim's Progress: In 2015 Payne completed the 200-mile pilgrim's way dressed as a monk. Photo / Facebook.com, 14thcenturypilgrimsprogress
Pilgrim's Progress: In 2015 Payne completed the 200-mile pilgrim's way dressed as a monk. Photo / Facebook.com, 14thcenturypilgrimsprogress

When not making his way through this world, Payne spends much of his free time volunteering for homeless charities in his home town of Chichester. The latest idea for a great journey came to him when he was discussing the difficulty a homeless friend was having when trying to find work without a fixed address.

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"It's like trying to cross the Alps on a space hopper," the friend complained, but this sparked an idea for another grand adventure.

The video explains why I did it....I was too tired to edit the start of the video, and so tired I even called Hanniball 'Napoleon'.....he didn't mind, he was exhausted too.

Posted by Steven Payne on Friday, 17 August 2018

He bought an original space hopper off of the website eBay, and began practice.

"I researched routes and found one that seemed feasible – 76 miles between Bardoneccia in Italy and Grenoble in France. I visited my GP, who assured me my leukaemia shouldn't affect the journey, other than increasing tiredness," Payne said in an interview with the Guardian.

Retroactive: Payne bought his vintage spacehoppers online and got to practie. Photo / Facebook.com, Steven Payne
Retroactive: Payne bought his vintage spacehoppers online and got to practie. Photo / Facebook.com, Steven Payne

In August Payne and his space hopper Hannibal set off to realise the improbable journey.

His Facebook page Pilgrim's Progress was inundated with support and disbelief as he logged the 76 mile journey.

"Some slopes were too steep for bouncing and I had to deflate my hopper and climb. Occasionally, the terrain was littered with sharp stones; I lost my first hopper to a puncture on day five. Fortunately, I had three spares," he told the Guardian.

On the 17 day he finished the journey in Grenoble exhausted.

It was only after he completed his goal that Payne revealed the real reason for becoming "the first person in history to cross the Alps on a space hopper."

There had been a lot of speculation on social media but it Payne posted a video to Facebook on what motivated him to undertake the arduous journey.

Originally Payne dodged questions by saying his inspiration was a Monty Python sketch in which Michael Palin "crossed the Andes by frog". He used his facebook page to announce the admittedly silly mode of transport was an effort to gain attention for the more serious issue of homelessness and how his work in Chichester was where he come across the idea in the first place.

While resting up he will be making plans for his next adventure, which will involve either crossing the English Channel or cycling a penny farthing in a suit of Armour.