PledgeSports have the pleasure of working with some phenomenal athletes and teams. Every Friday we will choose one of them as the PledgeSports “Athlete of the Week”.
This week’s winner is Charles Hannaford – The Novice Explorer. In April, 24 year-old Londoner, Charles, is setting off on a 17,000 mile unsupported, solo cycle around the world. Charles will make his way through 5 continents over a 9 month period. We think his ambition and determination is worthy of this week’s award.
It’s not every day someone decides to cycle around the world, so we caught up with Charles for a quick Q&A to learn more about this remarkable character and the incredible challenge that lies ahead – check it out! (Questions are in BOLD)
Where does your motto, “Inspire and prove that the ordinary individuals can achieve the extraordinary”, come from?
It’s something I coined myself. I love to watch adventure shows where you follow and individual on an epic journey, like Ed Stafford and Bear Grylls, and I started reading up on Sir Ranulph Fiennes. These guys are just awesome and definitely role models of mine, but they all had some form of military training to get them were they are. I was inspired for this Expedition by Alastair Humphreys, who showed me that you don’t need all this special training. So I want to inspire others, to get out there and achieve their own adventure.
How long have you been cycling for?
Ha! I have always been able to ride a bike, but I’m not a cyclist in any sense. I never owned a road bike, but occasionally used one to get to UNI and back. I bought this bike in August and the next day cycled to Wales to test it out. And to prove to my dad I could handle a long journey.
What preparation/training have you done?
Cycle almost every day, 20-30 miles, gym a few times a week for core and bike work. Saturday mornings is a Boxcercise High Intensity Training Class, and try and run in the woods twice a week too as its apparently good for your knees.
What challenges do you expect along your journey?
Weather would be a big one, obviously hills too. I think one of the hardest parts will be trusting in my decision making skills and dealing with being isolated at times. I can’t turn to the guy next to me and ask what he thinks we should do. It’s just me.
Congratulations on passing the Bar! What will be more difficult; That, or your cycle?
That’s a very good question!! The Bar was hard, more mentally than academically. It made me want to challenge myself but definitely in a different way. I think it made me stronger in a sense. I’m sure this expedition will have some very hard times. It’s the challenges that make you grow.
How are you managing accommodation on your cycle?
I am camping as much as possible. I have also looked into websites such as CouchSurfing and WarmShowers. I think people will be surprised at how welcoming and friendly communities around the world will be when I get to them.
Why do you think many of the companies you contacted for support did not follow through?
Honestly, a lot of the time it’s impossible to get the attention of the right person. How can they make money from you? Crowdfunding is the way forward I think. The people looking and donating have the mindset to support you already.
What are you most excited about for you cycle?
Freedom, seeing all these amazing places that I would probably talk about visiting one day, but never get round to it. The open road. Sleeping in places I would never get a chance to visit.
What, if anything, are you most scared about?
Running out of food and water, and Rabies.
Ever had any serious injury?
I have broken my elbow, a couple of fingers and toes, but nothing too serious.
Who inspires you most?
Tough choice. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the greatest living explorer and I would love to meet him one day. I have also been very fortunate to receive some really kind words of advice from Sir Mark Beaumont, the Expeditions Patron. I started to research Mark and the adventures he has gone on are incredible! I would love to be a mixture of the two one day! But I would have to give it to Sir Fiennes for now, he is amazing!
If this challenge goes well, could you be tempted into doing another one?
Definitely! Even bigger! Just don’t tell my parents.
As mentioned above, Charles Hannaford will be cycling the world solo and completely unsupported. This means he is depending on fundraising for the likes of food and essentials throughout his expedition.
PledgeSports is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to sport.
Are you or someone you know seeking funding for cycling or extreme expeditions?