THE round-the-world cyclist Robert Cleave has reached the 9000-mile halfway point of his fund-raising journey for Traidcraft Exchange and Cancer Research UK (News, 29 March 2018). Mr Cleave has served in a lay capacity both in his church, St Michael and All Angels’, Bramcote, near Nottingham, and on the Bishop’s Council and diocesan synod.
He set out on 7 April 2018; and has travelled through three continents, 21 countries. This has included 49 miles of climb, which is the equivalent to climbing Mt Everest nine times with a bike and pack weighing 50 kg.
He has encountered an earthquake and hurricanes in Greece, and cyclones in Southern India; and has cycled in intense heat and and suffered punctures, pinion-gears’ disasters, and occasional bouts of sickness. “Sometimes, I can’t believe the last nine months have actually happened,” he said in a message recorded in Laos on Sunday, when he reached the halfway mark.
He cycles solo, but occasionally with company: he cycled to Xanthi with a young Muslim man who was crossing Europe on his way to Mecca. His focus is on “cycling the miles, making sure I’ve got somewhere to stay at night, having enough to eat and drink, and dealing with any problems like punctures and visas. . . It’s incredible that I’ve reached this point.” Mr Cleave is able to communicate almost daily, by use of Wifi, with family and supporters, and family members joined him for Christmas in Bangkok.
His wife, Christine, a spiritual director, said: “We both seek God, and he is with us both. He is somewhere embedded in the muscles of us both, as Rob cycles and I walk and busy myself here. Every step I take, and every rotation of his bicycle wheel must bring us closer. That’s my prayer.”
“Robert’s Ride 18000” is self-funded, and all donations — more than £10,000 has been raised so far — go to the two charities.