Norwich doctor set to cycle 6,000 miles from Turkey to China
- Credit: Archant
A Norwich doctor is swapping his stethoscope for his bicycle and heading off on an epic solo adventure.
Bob Minns, a GP at Magdalen Medical Practice in the north of the city, plans to pedal about 6,000 miles along the Silk Road from Turkey to China to raise funds for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and the Against Malaria Foundation.
He will start his quest on March 3 in Istanbul and will then travel alone through Turkey, the Caucasus and Central Asia, arriving in Xinjiang, in north-west China, in June.
Dr Minns, 51, is no stranger to adventure, having previously worked as an expedition medic on 15 cycling or trekking trips abroad over the past 13 years and cycled unsupported with friends and his son Leo, 23, in the Himalayas and across Malawi, Zambia and Morocco.
However this latest trip will see him explore some new parts of the world.
Along the way he will deal with difficult terrain, extreme temperatures and may other challenges but he says he cannot wait to begin what he is calling Bob's Silk Road Cycle Challenge.
'I am excited but nervous, impatient to go now. I have done all the training and got all the kit and just want to get started,' he said.
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'It feels like taking your first jump with an untested parachute because I am going to areas I do not know much about and it will be a new experience.'
He added: 'It will also be a test for my little Norfolk knees to cope with the mountains of the Caucasus, the Pamirs and the Tien Shan.'
Dr Minns will also be carrying his home on his bicycle throughout the four months.
'I aim to seek out homestays in Turkey but will carry my full camping kit and up to six litres of water as I expect to wild camp most of the journey,' he said.
'Apart from the risks of exhaustion, exposure, heat stroke, dehydration, road traffic accidents, animal encounters and officialdom it should be a walk in the park.'
Dr Minns, who finished his GP training in 1993, has been a partner at Magdalen Medical Practice since 2014 and he previously spent eight years working as a GP in Great Yarmouth and a year working in New Zealand.
People will be able to follow Dr Minns' progress on his trip at www.facebook.com/BobsSilkRoad/To donate funds to Dr Minns fundraising campaign, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/robertminns1Fundraising for a cause close to Dr Minns' heart
CLIC Sargent is a cause especially close to Dr Minns' heart as the charity gave vital help to his family when his daughter Elsa was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia aged 10.
Thankfully Elsa, now 21, made a full recovery and is studying history at Clare College, Cambridge, and Dr Minns said the family, including his wife Laure and Elsa's brother Leo, would never forget the support they received from the charity.
He said: 'My life changed forever when my 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. She sufferred awfully during chemotherapy, spending six months of her first year on treatment in a hospital bed. Her steroid treatment caused a rare complication affecting her bones such that she was confined to a wheelchair for another two-and-a-half years.
'The support we received from our CLIC Sargent worker, Vicky, was invaluable and without her I sometimes wonder if we would have made it through as an family intact. She was kind empathetic, realistic, pragmatic, approachable, dependable and effective in liaising with schools, disability rights organisations, occupational therapists, benefits agency and arranging respite holidays for our daughter and son.'