A cyclist is set to finish his 5,000-mile charity bike tour around the coast of Great Britain in Selsey on World Mental Health Day this Thursday (October 10).
Lewis Stephens, also known as The Tourist Dog, started his ride on June 2 and he is currently on the home straight along the south coast.
Lewis is raising awareness of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. He said: “CALM fit perfectly with me due to everyday experiences of not only my own thoughts but the blatant negative emotion written on the psyche of others – most alarmingly on the faces of men who seem to want to ignore it as much as possible. With an ever-growing rise in the aid of machines to support us, many of us are becoming reliant on something else to find us a level of calm which can only take you so far...”
“I’ve had close friends whose family members have had their own struggles due to problems that arise through no fault of their own and at times I’ve experienced the same emotions. I feel that by looking for alternate ways of dealing with problems there are ways to overcome this issue. CALM for me personally is the perfect charity to make the first steps to that change.”
Originally Lewis was cycling 50 miles a day and living on £5 a day, relying on the kindness of strangers.
The trip evolved and his most recent challenge was to live on £20 for 20 days, which resulted in lots of free accommodation and other cyclists joining him.
Lewis has also talked to 100 teenagers on the NCS programme about mental health and the pressures of growing up, which he said is one of the highlights the tour.
He said: “It’s mad to think how this journey has developed from a small idea into something that has changed and touched the lives of everyone involved in some way. When people tell me that I’ve inspired them, they talk to me about their stories/mental health journeys or keep messaging/commenting weeks after meeting them it makes me realise what an impact I’m having on people.”
Lewis will finish his bike tour in Selsey on World Mental Health Day (October 10).
To donate to Lewis’s fundrasing efforts for CALM, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thetouristdog