A man has completed the journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a Boris Bike to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
26-year-old Baz Bignell, who currently lives in Fulham, has taken a Boris Bike – the nickname given to the Santander Cycle public bicycle hire scheme in London – to new land on his travels.
In what he believes is the world’s longest ride on a Santander Cycle, Baz cycled the whole length of Great Britain between the two extremities crossing the finish line on September 29.
Stopping off in London to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital, which 10 years ago treated him for Crohn’s disease, Baz cycled an astonishing 1,073 miles over 14 and a half days.
Cycling for nine to 15 hours covering 70-80 miles a day, Baz even had to battle 70 miles per hour winds brought by Storm Ali.
Speaking to UNILAD, Baz explained although this part was particularly tough it was also one of his favourite moments of the journey.
You can check out some of Baz’s highlights here:
Storm Ali has to be up there with the best and the worst. I got blown off my bike and trees were falling on the road every 500 metres. It meant we had to change routes six times in total but at the same time it was hilarious.
We had the roads to ourselves, trying to cycle 140km through the Lake District in a pretty significant storm. The looks we were getting made us giggle throughout the day.
I knew it was going to be tricky with the wind but nothing like I expected though. I estimated to be averaging 10 hours cycling a day. The wind added 2 hours a day to my original prediction.
It turns out a Boris Bike isn’t the most aerodynamic vehicle.
With Transport for London lending Baz two bikes for his journey, he was grateful to have a back-up when his first one broke down three days before the end of his journey.
No modifications or adjustments were made to the bikes which each weigh 23kg and have three gears.
While Baz admits the bikes not being built for speed or long-distances were slow, they were comfortable.
However, he added: ‘that said I will be taking the Tube from now on though’.
Having previously taken part in the BBC television programme Total Wipeout and a Red Bull competition ‘Can You Make It’, Baz is no stranger to what he describes as ‘the ridiculous’.
Wanting to really test his endurance and physical strength, Baz had his eureka moment when he moved to London seeing the Boris Bikes in action.
With the encouragement of his friends and family who joined him throughout in a support vehicle, Baz completed his mission raising over £4,000 so far at time of writing (October 9) for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital was important to Baz as they treated him following his diagnosis with Crohn’s disease which affects the digestive system.
He told UNILAD he also wanted to raise awareness of the incredible work the organisation does:
10 years ago Great Ormond Street helped me out hugely – I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and went through a tough spell in which GOSH helped me out significantly.
Great Ormond Street do this all the time, I’m not a one off. I’m raising money for young individuals that find themselves in a bit of a pickle due to illness like I did.
I wanted to raise money for the charity and also raise awareness for the amazing work they do. I hope to have been a positive story amongst many that don’t always turn out that way.
I took a diversion to visit the hospital mid-way through my journey. They loved it. I think for the nurses in particular who can see that their work really does make a difference. It’s not often they see patients after they have been treated.
While Baz will ‘definitely be doing something a little adventurous in the future’, for now he is looking forward to having a break.
You certainly deserve it!
If you would like to donate to Great Ormond Street Hospital, you can do so on Baz’s Just Giving page.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.