West Yorkshire cyclist Ryan Anderton will this July ride the route taken by the late Lee Fancourt when he set a Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of Europe from North to South, with the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention.
Multiple record-breaking cyclist Fancourt, from Gloucester, was found dead on 19 January last year with a coroner’s inquest concluding that he had taken his own life through an overdose of cocaine and other drugs.
The 40-year-old, who had suffered from mental health problems, was discovered by police in his car in a lay-by after he was reported missing by his family due to concerns about his welfare.
Anderton, who has himself suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, says that taking up cycling in 2016 has helped turn his life around. Last year, he rode 4,800 miles around the coastline of Great Britain in 42 days to raise £7,000 for the mental health charity Mind.
In July, he will set out on the route that Fancourt took in summer 2015 when he rode from North Cape in Norway to Tarifa in Spain to set his Guinness World Record of 21 days, 14 hours and 23 minutes.
Anderton’s ride from Norway to Spain will take him through the same 10 countries Fancourt visited – Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and France.
He will be providing updates on his training through the hashtag #RyanRidesAcrossEurope on his Recycle Yourself Campaign social media accounts, and is looking for companies willing to support him and help raise awareness about mental health.
“With one in four people suffering some form of mental challenge most people will know of someone that has been affected and with the growing numbers of suicide in the UK this is a great way to support a much needed area of health and gain publicity for your organisation,” states a press release announcing his forthcoming challenge.
He can be contacted via his website, www.recycleyourselfcampaign.co.uk.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.