Some people are content to go out on a bicycle for a few miles to enjoy the sights and keep fit. Phil Ryan is the exception to that rule as he is a mammoth cycle ride enthusiast and in the process has raised thousands of pounds for charity.
It all started for Phil, who is the Workshop Controller at Greenhous DAF in Aston, Birmingham, in 2003 when he saw an advert in a newspaper for a cycle ride in Cambodia for Macmillan Cancer Support. Already a keen cyclist and also playing football and tennis, Phil was an extremely fit man. However, this challenge appealed to him and he signed up for the 12 day trip to Cambodia, 8 of which would be cycling around 400 miles.
Phil recalls that early trip saying: “It was an experience never to be forgotten. I caught an infection after 2 days cycling, but I battled on. We had rough camping with occasional cold showers from a very basic cubicle to be shared by all on the trip, male and female, and you can imagine where our toilet needs were satisfied – in the bush!
“When I came back I said I would never go again, but after 2 years the urge had returned. The trips are organised by Discovery Adventure for Macmillan and I had a target of £4,000 to raise for the trip. I have always paid for my own travel. I have done 10 trips and was rewarded with a special green T shirt and a medal from Macmillan. I am planning the 11th trip for October 2019 in Sri Lanka. I have raised over £40,000 for Macmillan so far.”
Phil’s travels have also taken him to Peru, Vietnam, China, Central America, Mexico, Kenya, Vietnam, India and Madagascar. There have been many physical challenges to cope with including suffering temperatures of -10 degrees and frozen water bottles in the Chinese Gobi desert and 57km climb in Mexico which took 11 and a half hours to complete. Of course there have been marvellous things to see and Phil has visited the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army, cycled in the Himalayas and witnessed the breath taking beauty and wildlife of many countries.
A highlight of Phil’s 10 years of international cycling was in 2015 when he took his son, Edward with him on the trip across Cambodia and Vietnam. It proved to be great bonding experience for the two and Phil says that the whole group, which may be as many as 50 people, always support each other through the ups and downs of the experience.
Phil operated Commercial Fleet Services (which has become Greenhous DAF) from 1982, servicing vehicles and developing the DAF Aid call out service. With a year until the next mammoth ride, Phil keeps fit by regular cycling. His favourite is to ride from the DAF business in Aston to Barmouth on the Welsh Coast - a mere 118 miles! Taking in the delights of Kidderminster, Cleobury Mortimer and Ludlow, and an overnight stopover at Welshpool, our intrepid cyclist climbs over the Dinas mountains before descending into Barmouth. He uses the ride as test of his fitness!
You can support Phil and Macmillan Cancer Support by visiting his JustGiving page: