Footballer Thomas Sorensen rides for kids from Hahndorf to Meningie and beyond

When international footballer Thomas Sorensen announced his retirement, he knew exactly what he would do next: ride a bike through the South Australian countryside.

He made the announcement on social media last July, and it was quickly picked up by the tabloids in England, where he played 16 seasons in the Premier League before spending his career's twilight with Melbourne City.

He would ride 3500 kilometres through four states to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation and Kids Aid Denmark.

The idea stemmed from community work he had done earlier in his career, he explained.

"I got a lot of visits to hospitals, talked to lots of fans," he said.

"I could be there as a professional footballer, but also in other areas, and get involved in charity.

"For me it's about the mental side of it ... to get something that brightens up their lives, especially kids who go through a very traumatic time.

"The Starlight Foundation puts smiles on those kids' faces and hopefully gives them a bit of strength to go through a tough time in their lives."

The $150,000 he hopes to raise through his ride will support Starlight Express activity rooms in metropolitan hospitals, including Adelaide's Women's and Children's, and other Starlight activities.

He said training for the ride had also helped him transition out of professional sport.

"It hasn't been an abrupt end to a sporting career," he said.

"It's important ... you have something to wake up to, some motivation and something that drives you forward - I'll always be looking for that.

"The day I sit down and don't have anything to do, I don't think there'll be much to live for.

"It's about finding challenges, big and small, you can throw yourself at."

Thursday's leg of the ride was a struggle against the wind for at least half the distance from Hahndorf to Meningie.

He will finish the ride in Sydney on April 1.

Sorensen was the A-League's goalkeeper of the year in 2015-16, and won the FFA Cup with Melbourne City.

He played in seven World Cup matches for Denmark, an FA Cup final for Stoke City, and a total of 101 matches for his country and 364 in the Premier League.

On the road: Retired Premier League footballer Thomas Sorensen tackles a headwind as his charity ride heads towards Meningie on Thursday. Photo: Thomas Sorensen/Instagram.

On the road: Retired Premier League footballer Thomas Sorensen tackles a headwind as his charity ride heads towards Meningie on Thursday. Photo: Thomas Sorensen/Instagram.

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