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Ryan Anderton: Cycling Against Coronavirus

Cycling the coastline of Britain is one of the toughest endurance cycling routes worldwide. The craggy hills of Western Scotland, steep coved bays of Devon and Cornwall, and the unpredictable weather provide a challenge like no other...

Ryan Anderton, founder of Recycle Yourself and wellness ambassador, explains why he has chosen to complete a mammoth charity bike ride across the UK, promoting Sunshine People’s #onemillionactsofkindness campaign along the way.

It all started in 2018…

In 2018 I cycled 4,800 miles around the British coastline to raise funds for mental health charity Mind. The journey took me 41 days, during which I received many gestures of support from kind-hearted people.

To start with, on my first day, I buckled my front wheel which was very kindly repaired for free by a cycle shop in Preston. On Day 3 I was given free accommodation whilst suffering in the wind and rain on Anglesey - this was followed with accommodation in Fishguard, Llanelli, Croyde, Padstow, Lands End, Sidmouth, Plymouth, Southampton, London, Lowestoft, Kings Lynn, Hornsea, Scarborough, Berwick, Peterhead, Seascales and Lancaster. Not only did I receive accommodation but also food, mechanical support, encouragement, and the much needed donations that eventually took my fundraising to almost £8,000.

This year, I’m repeating the ride in the opposite (clockwise) direction to become one of only a few people to have cycled around Britain in both directions. I will be raising funds for five charities: Everton in the Community, the Mental Health Foundation, Children's Heart Surgery Fund, Hammersley Homes and NHS Charities Together.

Not a baa-d view...

I’ll also be promoting Sunshine People’s #OneMillionActsOfKindness message by completing my own acts of kindness along the way... Things like buying a stranger a drink, doing five-minute litter picks, talking to children at schools to promote exercise, for example, in the hope that people will then pay that forward.

Setting off from Blackpool, I’ll head North on a 5,000 mile route around England, Scotland and Wales in what I hope will be a 40 day journey. I’m welcoming cyclists across the UK to come and join me for as long or as little as they can.

I’ve already connected with support cyclists for many of the days and have been offered accommodation for many of the overnight stops, both by people I stayed with previously and from other generous families.

Cycling against Coronavirus

The reason for doing the ride again has been largely influenced by the Coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of many planned events which has hit charitable fundraising hard. I’m also looking forward to revisiting some of the wonderful people I met in 2018. The kindness they shared has now developed into friendships and, after the isolation period, I thought it would be nice to reconnect with them in person.

Over the lockdown period I have seen so many people doing amazing feats of fundraising and I hope that this will continue to grow even more as people now start to appreciate our local charities and services as well as the great outdoors that we have missed so much throughout this difficult social distancing time.

Being away from loved ones and close friends on the challenge will add another element of difficulty, too. During other events, I have relied heavily on my dad being at the end of the phone - I’m sure it will be very similar this time round. Being on the bike for up to 14 hours a day is physically and mental exhausting and having nobody to talk to nearby feels lonely and makes you vulnerable.

However, I met so many wonderfully kind people in 2018 who I can’t wait to see again and saw so many beautiful places. After being confined inside, I decided I had to revisit as many of these people as possible, re-see some of the sights that I saw (and some I missed). Ultimately, I want to try to help the charities that have suffered so much but have continued to do great work during the lockdown period.

To follow or join in with Ryan’s journey you can find him on Strava, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching #RyanRidesAroundBritain. All donations are gratefully accepted.

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