South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE) IT Operations Manager, Nick Brailsford, spent almost 70 hours in the saddle last week as he cycled from one end of the UK to the other, just 18 months after buying his first bike.
Nick, 42, from Wingerworth in Chesterfield - who started cycling in January 2018 after getting fed up of being stuck in traffic on his daily commute - pedalled through the pain and rain to reach Land’s End for young suicide prevention charity, PAPYRUS UK.
With the support of family, friends and colleagues at SYPTE Nick has now raised £2,000 for the cause.
“Suicide is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 in the UK. I think it’s important to raise awareness that there is help out there. After my colleagues set up a fundraising page in memory of their niece, I decided to use my love of cycling to raise money for PAPYRUS UK,” explained Nick.
“Throughout the journey, I was stopped by people who had seen the PAPYRUS logo and wanted to know more. When I told them about the vital services that the team at PAPYRUS provide, people were really generous and wanted to help me boost my fundraising total.”
To mark the halfway point of his epic challenge, Nick was joined by Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region and SYPTE’s Principal Solicitor, Steve Davenport, on the route from Lancaster to Sheffield.
Sarah said: “I was honoured to ride with Nick for part of his journey from John O’Groats to Lands’ End. Despite some challenging weather conditions Nick persevered, raising thousands of pounds for youth suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS.
“To hear how Nick’s love for cycling began when he got a bike through a cycle to work scheme after growing tired of sitting in traffic on his commute, and now 18 months on he’s cycling the length of the country, shows the positive impact active travel has had on his life. Not only has he lost four stone since he began cycling to work, but he’s also cut his journey time. I hope his story can inspire others to give cycling to work a try.”
Reflecting on his journey, Nick added: “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, particularly with the amount of hills involved - I climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest twice on just four hours sleep a night. But I’d never really appreciated just how beautiful the UK is before I did this, and I’ve seen parts of the country I would never have seen otherwise.
“I’d definitely like to take on another challenge in the future. Cycling has brought me so many benefits, I’d encourage anyone thinking of getting more active to give it a go.”
More information on the benefits of active travel and how to get involved can be found at travelsouthyorkshire.com/activetravel
You can also find out more about PAPYRUS UK at papyrus-uk.org/