The Sunderland cyclist who rode round Britain - this is why he did it, and where he liked best
He’s done it! Washington super-cyclist Stephen Bell has peddled round Britain to raise money for a great cause.
Cycling an average of 100 miles per day, he clocked exactly 3,004 miles for Heel and Toe. The charity offers therapies to children across the North East with various conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism and musculoskeletal disorders.
The supervisor at the Gestamp car components factory in Washington is now just £600 away from his £3,000 target. His workmates have contributed £1,300, with the rest coming via his JustGiving page. Stephen funded the entire venture himself, so every penny raised goes to Heel and Toe.
He began his clockwise odyssey from home, with the first stop in North Yorkshire, and slept each night in a tent.
Now recovering from his adventure, the 61 year-old is glad he did it. But certain sections of the journey proved extremely difficult.
He said: “It was a challenge I set myself to help these children. My hands have no strength in them at the moment. The rest of me is a little fatigued, but everything else is fine.”
“In the first five days I was thinking ‘this is okay.’ But then I got to Devon and Cornwall and it was brutal. It’s beautiful there and the people are great. But it’s the terrain. It’s very hilly.
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“I was up at five each morning. I did think at times ‘this is too much’. South Wales was difficult too. But I dug in and got more into the rhythm.”
Another trying section was in the Highlands. One 52-mile stretch took him eight hours as the wind was so bad. But Stephen has a particular fondness for Scotland.
He said: “Scotland is just a brilliant place. It was hilly too, but more undulating. I loved going from Contin to Durness. The scenery is just stunning in the West Highlands.”
At times he was bowled over by the hospitality of strangers. When he found that a camp site in Scotland had closed down, one woman in an Aberdeenshire village let him pitch his tent in her garden and use her shower.
To contribute to visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/roundbritainride