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Yorkshire cyclist to retrace the late Lee Fancourt's record breaking ride across Europe to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention

Ryan Anderton says cycling has helped him overcome his own battle with depression and suicidal thoughts

West Yorkshire cyclist Ryan Anderton will this July ride the route taken by the late Lee Fancourt when he set a Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of Europe from North to South, with the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention.

Multiple record-breaking cyclist Fancourt, from Gloucester, was found dead on 19 January last year with a coroner’s inquest concluding that he had taken his own life through an overdose of cocaine and other drugs.

The 40-year-old, who had suffered from mental health problems, was discovered by police in his car in a lay-by after he was reported missing by his family due to concerns about his welfare.

> Record-breaking cyclist Lee Fancourt died by suicide as a result of acute cocaine overdose hears inquest

Anderton, who has himself suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, says that taking up cycling in 2016 has helped turn his life around. Last year, he rode 4,800 miles around the coastline of Great Britain in 42 days to raise £7,000 for the mental health charity Mind.

In July, he will set out on the route that Fancourt took in summer 2015 when he rode from North Cape in Norway to Tarifa in Spain to set his Guinness World Record of 21 days, 14 hours and 23 minutes.

Anderton’s ride from Norway to Spain will take him through the same 10 countries Fancourt visited – Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and France.

He will be providing updates on his training through the hashtag #RyanRidesAcrossEurope on his Recycle Yourself Campaign social media accounts, and is looking for companies willing to support him and help raise awareness about mental health.

“With one in four people suffering some form of mental challenge most people will know of someone that has been affected and with the growing numbers of suicide in the UK this is a great way to support a much needed area of health and gain publicity for your organisation,” states a press release announcing his forthcoming challenge.

He can be contacted via his website,

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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burtthebike | 4 years ago

Well done Ryan.  Mental health still isn't talked about, even though about one in four people will suffer from it during their lifetime.  As someone who has suffered occasional bouts of depression, I know how beneficial cycling can be.

Yet another reason why any sensible government with a sensible transport policy would be pouring money into it.  I've just had another letter from my MP telling me how much they support cycling and how generous they are in supporting it.  Thankfully, House of Commons paper is relatively soft.

Simon E replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
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Good luck Ryan!

burtthebike wrote:

Mental health still isn't talked about, even though about one in four people will suffer from it during their lifetime.

One in four is a dreadful statistic.

But until the stigma is erased and mental health is taken as seriously like we do physical health then not much will change.  2

It starts with politicians and civil servants (not much cause for optimism there) but the medical profession also has some way to go.

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