Interview: Sean Maher, riding-out the recession

Sean Maher graduated in the middle of the worst recession for several decades and found there were no jobs. Unperturbed, he decided to ride-out the recession, literally: cycling 12,000 miles from Cornwall to Capetown.

Sean Maher on Bodmin MoorHow did the idea for the trip come about?

Before I decided to do this trip I was a student at Exeter University. I graduated this year with a high 2:1 in Politics.

My main activity at university was Rugby and I played for the University 2nd XV in my final year.

I decided to do this trip because no matter who I applied to I couldn’t get a job! I thought this would help me boost my skills without having to do another year’s study or wait tables like some of my other graduate friends.

How have you been preparing?

I really started cycling to get to a summer job in my first summer of university. It was 10 miles there, 10 miles back and I did it on my brother-in-law’s old bike which I took the rear brake off, because it was rubbing on the back wheel!

I’ve been planning and training for this trip since the beginning of June, when I should have been revising. I tend to do around 30-40 miles, three times a week on the bike, plus running and walking a lot.

I’ve prepared for the trip by reading every book I can find about the continent and by following other expeditions. Particularly the Listen to Africa expedition. Continue reading

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Interview: Round-the-world cyclist, James Bowthorpe

James Bowthorpe in San FranciscoJames Bowthorpe is currently cycling across the USA, 19 days from returning to London at the end of his round-the-world trip.
If he hits his target, he will do it faster than anyone in history. He took some time out to talk to me for an article in the Guardian, but here’s the full transcript.

How long have you been on the road?

I left London on the 29th of March, I’ve been away five months. Sometimes it feels like a lot longer…

How soon do you expect to finish, and how much are you hoping to beat the record by?

I’m hoping to get back to London mid-September. The current record is 195 days all in and I’m hoping to beat that by around two/three weeks. Anything less would be ungentlemanly!

What’s been hardest part of the trip?

Physically, probably the first three weeks – which were still a part of the training. In general, headwinds are the hardest thing to deal with – they’re so soul destroying. It’s an environmental and physical hardship that becomes an emotional hardship – you just can’t beat them and it can really grind you down.

Getting sick after India was really hard. I couldn’t leave my Thai hotel room for nearly three days, let alone get on the bike. It was a pretty dark time and I did think about getting on a plane home. But eventually I could keep enough food down to fuel the cycling and I just got on and did it. Continue reading