Student takes on 4000-mile charity cycle across America

Dan in Yorktown, Virginia, where his 4000-mile cycle began. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby

Dan in Yorktown, Virginia, where his 4000-mile cycle began. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant

Whilst most university students might spend their summers working a part-time job or revelling at music festivals, there aren't many who would consider undertaking a 4,000-mile charity cycle across the USA.

In the Appalachian Mountains, July 3. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby

In the Appalachian Mountains, July 3. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant

But that's exactly how Dan Oxtoby from Bacton is spending his time before he heads back to Loughborough for his final year of studies.

The 21-year-old, who has minimal cycling experience, set off from Yorktown, Virginia on the east coast on June 21 and is aiming to reach San Francisco by August 27.

One might expect months of preparation for such an arduous ride, but for Mr Oxtoby it was quite the opposite.

Speaking from Colorado, seven hours behind the UK, he said: 'I woke up one morning and just thought 'I'm 21 and I've got a whole summer ahead.'

Near a town named Eminence in Missouri, July 15. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby

Near a town named Eminence in Missouri, July 15. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant


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'I decided I was going to do something worthwhile, so I planned my route, bought a bike, flew to Washington D.C. to pick it up and drove to the start point.'

The ride is raising money and awareness for Mind, a dedicated mental health charity.

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Mr Oxtoby admits that he was once ignorant on the topic of mental health, and decided to educate himself.

'Mental health has been gaining publicity in the past couple of years, so I thought why not jump on the bandwagon?

Throughout his journey, Dan has been greeted with huge expanses of road going on forever. Photo: Cou

Throughout his journey, Dan has been greeted with huge expanses of road going on forever. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant

'Along the trip I've met lots of people with mental health issues and it really has been eye-opening.'

The journey has taken Mr Oxtoby along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail and the Western Express Bicycle Route, which meet in Pueblo, Colorado.

'I really wanted to see certain places, so at the moment I'm adapting the route,' he added.

'Some people are specific to doing the routes accurately, but my goal is simply east to west.'

Dan met a number of fellow cyclists in the lonely depths of Kansas. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby

Dan met a number of fellow cyclists in the lonely depths of Kansas. Photo: Courtesy of Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant

Despite dealing with searing pain and perilous weather, Mr Oxtoby has been able to look on the bright side and savour a beautiful country.

'My knees are getting really sore and there are definitely days when it's pouring with rain and I feel like I want to go home,' he said.

'But I've met so many great people and the scenery makes it all worth it.'

To read more about Dan's progress, click here. You can donate by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/dan-oxtoby1.

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