A SELF-CONFESSED challenge addict has set his sights on cycling a punishing 24,301 miles ‘around the world’ to raise cash for Cancer Research UK.
The ambitious challenge will see die-hard salesman Steve Lewis-Brammer, from Stoke-on-Trent, pedal 40,075 kms (24,301 miles) around the earth’s circumference at an average rate of 30km a day, five days a week.
The mammoth feat will take him four to five years to complete and will involve Steve pedalling furiously on an exercise bike in his kitchen for a total of 1,336 eye-watering hours across the entire challenge – equivalent to virtually two months of solid cycling.
Fifty-one-year-old Steve, who lives in Trentham with his wife Mandy and children Jack (17), Sophie (15) and Jessica (8), was motivated to take on the arduous task after numerous family members and colleagues were affected by cancer.
Hearing of the huge impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on vital cancer research, Steve decided to harness the target-driven energy he has acquired through decades of sales experience and use it to raise funds for charity.
Steve, who is a sales director at Proto Labs in Telford and previously ran his own sales training company, is no stranger to ambitious mental and physical feats.
He was only a novice runner when he took on the million-metre running challenge earlier this year – equivalent to running 3.28 marathons per month – simply because he got chatting to a stranger on holiday who challenged him to do it.
But that mammoth achievement wasn’t enough for him, and Steve set his sights on an even higher prize, cycling all the way around the world: a feat he must accomplish from his exercise bike.
“I’ve always been driven by setting myself goals and targets. It’s to do with having spent a lifetime in sales, where you’re always looking to beat your best performance,” explained Steve.
“I take the attitude that everything is possible if you have the right mindset, so if someone challenges me to do something I find it very hard to resist.
“When I found out how badly Cancer Research UK had been affected by Covid-19 I was desperate to do something to help. I wanted to do something ‘big’ that paid homage to the fight the scientists are waging against cancer. So I chose a task which I will find physically and mentally demanding, and which many people would consider crazy.”
Steve began his world tour at the height of lockdown in June. Most of the miles have been racked up in his kitchen, though he has also pitched his bike at Santander in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent where his wife works. His plans for future public appearances have proven challenging to arrange with rules around social distancing due to the pandemic, although he is determined they will happen.
He has currently pedalled over 4500 km, a distance that has taken him as far as Tehran, Iran as he travels eastwards around the globe.
“I thought I could do about 150km a week but in actual fact I’m managing nearer to 250km a week – that’s about 69% above my target,” said Steve, who keeps detailed spreadsheets to monitor his own performance.
Even if Steve maintains that rate, it will still take him nearly two hours a day of his time after work, five or six days a week, for the next 3 years to complete his challenge.
Steve said: “My goal is to raise a minimum of £10,000, but I hope it far exceeds that amount. There are times when the sheer physical effort can be gruelling, but the support I’m getting from friends and strangers alike has really spurred me on.
“Like many, my life has been impacted as a result of family members, work colleagues and friends suffering with cancer, including my own father, father-in-law, brother-in-law and close friends. Cancer targets people indiscriminately and can be merciless. It impacts not only the sufferer, but their families and friends and it can change lives brutally and immediately. Everyone knows somebody fighting with some form of cancer.”
Steve continues out on his virtual world tour in an easterly direction, having already cycled through Europe, he heads on to the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, China, Japan the USA and Ireland before returning back home to Stoke-on-Trent.
Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Staffordshire, said: “COVID-19 put so much of our research on pause, leaving us facing a crisis where every day and every pound counts.
“We’re incredibly grateful to Steve for taking on such a mammoth feat for Cancer Research UK. His energy and commitment are truly impressive, and we wish him every success in his amazing challenge.
“Not everyone can take on a fundraising task as big as this, but it would really give Steve a boost if people could rally round and speed him on his way with some sponsorship. And fellow cyclists could even join him for a leg of his round the world tour by setting up their own fundraising page and cycling a shorter distance with him.”
To sponsor Steve visit his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cycling-round-the-world
Jane Redman added: “Cycling is growing in popularity as an alternative to public transport for trips to the shops or simply for exercise. There is also the added benefit of getting on a bike to keep fit and healthy. Depending on weight and effort, participants could burn roughly between 400 to 750 calories per hour of cycling.*
“Anyone who sponsors Steve or cycles their own distance to raise money will be helping to get Cancer Research UK’s vital research back on track after the impact of the pandemic. Keen cyclists can also sign up for Cancer Research UK’s Cycle 300 challenge at www.cruk.org/cycle300 where there are a host of fundraising ideas.”
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50 per cent of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK.