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Old Burghclere man takes on epic cycling adventure for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Mr Lidgley intends to visit 168 lifeboat stations during 7,000km ride

AN ADVENTURER from Old Burghclere is cycling around the UK to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Harry Lidgley, 23, will be stopping at every lifeboat station on the mainland – 168 in total – as he journeys approximately 7,000km around the coast of the country – the equivalent of five rides from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Mr Lidgley, who completed an environmental masters last year at King’s College London, after an undergraduate course reading classics at Cambridge, is planning to start the endurance challenge in May.

He is hoping to raise £5,000 for the charity after he was part of a team that rowed around Britain last summer.

He said although his team hadn’t needed the institution’s help, its presence was reassuring and now he wanted to give something back.

He said: “I’ve been sailing for most of my life so I’ve always been aware of the RNLI as a charity and as a life-saving presence.

“This was further enforced last summer when I was part of a team called Exe Enduro and we were the youngest team to row around mainland Britain, and the RNLI was quite a reassuring presence.

“If we had got into trouble, we knew we could’ve called on them to help.

“They came out to see us on the west coast of Scotland which was really nice – they all seemed like genuine, selfless people, so I wanted to give something back.”

Mr Lidgley, who will be solo after a friend dropped out for personal reasons, is planning to start the ride at the RNLI headquarters in Poole then head in a clockwise direction, sticking close to the coast to hit all the RNLI stations and finishing in under 42 days.

He will be carrying a small tarpaulin and bivvy bag to go as lightweight as possible, living off freeze-dried ration meals and fruit and snacks to hit about 6,000 calories a day.

He has been training for the challenge by working as a Deliveroo delivery cyclist, as well as doing long bike rides to get used to the distance.

Mr Lidgley said: “For long-distance endurance training, it’s not just about sitting on the bike for hours and hours.

“You need to go through the different heart rate zones where you push yourself a bit harder for some sessions, and the best way for me to do that is to work as a Deliveroo cyclist.

“Then the days I’m not doing Deliveroo I’m going out on long slow cycles getting used to hours in the saddle.”

Mr Lidgley is hoping to turn his passion for adventures and nature into a career by becoming a professional endurance and adventure athlete, and said this latest endeavour is the next step in pushing his limits.

He added: “There’s a long history of explorers whose sense of pioneering and going out to the unknown is what initially grabbed my attention – the best known probably Ernest Shackleton.

“These days it’s hard to find anywhere that humans haven’t covered, so the sense of exploration would be personal for me.

“More relevant is the pushing my boundaries and discovering the limits of my capabilities, and one of my heroes is an endurance cyclist called Mark Beaumont, who holds the world record for cycling around the world in 78 days.

“There’s the endurance ability – battling the mental fatigue as well as physical – and working out the best strategies to execute a pretty epic exploration.

“I like to draw lots from his experience and hopefully one day take on something as big as he’s done.”

To donate to Mr Lidgley’s cause, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gblifeboatcycle.

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