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Cycling Show visitors encouraged to help Rob complete Mind Cycle tour

Visitors to the 2018 Prudential RideLondon Cycling Show are being urged to help a bi-polar cyclist complete a virtual Tour de France challenge to raise money for a mental health charity. 

Rob Stephenson, 46, is riding every stage of this year’s Tour de France – totalling 3,351 kilometres - on a stationary bike that he will take around the country, with the general public invited to join him to cycle sections of the route.

The dad-of-two will cycle three stages of his ‘Mind Cycle Tour’ at the Prudential RideLondon Cycling Show between Thursday 26 July and Saturday 28 July - and visitors will have the opportunity to ride alongside him.

The three stages include the brutal Stage 19 in the Pyrenees on Friday 27 July which includes six categorised climbs including the famous ascents of the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque.

“That is an absolute brutal stage and after that it’s almost done but I will definitely need some help getting through that,” said Rob who wants to use the challenge to get people taking about mental health.

“I was doing a training ride on stationary bikes with Dean Stott – who has broken two world records for the fastest time cycling the Pan-American highway - and there were other people on bikes around us and this is where the idea came from. I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to do a challenge I could take around work places and exhibitions like the Cycling Show and talk about mental health as well as tackling the challenge’?

“Attitudes to mental health are changing massively thanks to the work the Royals did with Heads Together last year and we are seeing the conversation begin to open up. But there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.

“I am bi-polar and I was inspired last year to be open about it and talk about it but not everyone does. So many people are still suffering in silence and it’s still killing people, so there’s still a lot to do and that is why I’m so passionate about it.”

Rob is a keen cyclist so naturally looked for a challenge on two wheels that could raise awareness and money at the same time and came upon the idea of the virtual Tour de France challenge of the Mind Cycle Tour.

He will ride each of the 21 stages on a trainer bike with the actual route being played on a big screen. He will ride at venues and workplaces around the country with up to five people able to join him on other stationary bikes at one time.

All money Rob raises will go to the MQ Mental Health charity.

“The idea was to do something different and this hasn’t been done before,” he said. “I start with the first stage on Saturday so it’s getting very close.

“I go through a massive range of emotions all the time. If I just focus on the physical challenge - the bit which is most in my control - I do feel I’m ready to get on the start line even though I’m entering the unknown, but there is a lot of nervous energy too.

“By the time I get to the Cycling Show I think I will be pretty tired and I will need all the support I can get.”

The stages Rob will be completing at the Cycling Show are:

  • Thursday 26 July: Stage 18 Trie-sur-Baise to Pau, 171km
  • Friday 27 July: Stage 19 Lourdes to Larun, 200.5km
  • Saturday 28 July: Stage 20 Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette, 31km (time-trial) 

To book to ride alongside Rob at the Prudential RideLondon Cycling Show, click here

To sponsor Rob, visit mindcycle.everydayhero.com

The Prudential RideLondon Cycling Show is held at the ExCel Centre, London E16 1XL, from Thursday 26 July to Saturday 28 July.

Full details of all the activations at this year’s Cycling Show will be announced next week.