A MARKETING consultant left his high-flying job – to cycle thousands of miles from Edinburgh to Cape Town.
Ross Methven, 37, had worked in marketing in London for 12 years before giving up his job in January 2013 to take on the gruelling challenge in aid of Unicef.
Having cycled across Europe to Istanbul, Mr Methven flew to Nairobi in Kenya before getting back on his bike to head for Cape Town.
He will return to Edinburgh and a hero’s welcome this Thursday, having raised more than £5000 for medical support in Africa – enough for 127,000 tetanus injections, or enough midwifery equipment to deliver 204 babies.
Mr Methven was offered the support of a crew following behind him in a 4x4, transporting the equipment he would need for life on the road, but instead opted to do all the heavy lifting himself, carrying cooking and camping gear, clothing, navigation equipment, spare bike parts and medicine during the epic ride.
The trek was challenging right up until the last day.
Mr Methven said: “The final day cycling into Cape Town was a bit of a stinker – 45mph headwinds all day, hot, and heavy traffic to contend with. Table Mountain came into view, but thanks to the strong headwind I ended up looking at it for the next six hours.
“I also picked up my fifth puncture of the trip – and second in three days. I was in a slightly dodgy part of town at the time, and was spotted by the police. They came up in a van and guarded me while I fixed the puncture.
“Slightly later than planned I arrived at Cape Town Stadium where my friend Dennis met me with a cold bottle of champagne.”
Thankfully Mr Methven will be able to rest his saddle sores on the way home, opting to travel by plane instead of on two wheels. And there’s likely to be more champagne when he arrives.
His father, Alastair Methven, 65, a retired university lecturer who lives in Gilmerton with wife Anne, also 65, a retired biochemist, said they couldn’t wait to see their son.
“We’re extremely proud of him and all the work he has done to help others. We were a bit surprised when he announced that he was giving up his job to do something so different, but I think he just needed to do something completely new and we’re very pleased to see all he has achieved.
“We did get to see him briefly in October – his younger brother was getting married and he was the best man, so he couldn’t really not come home for that! But it’s been quite a while since then so we’re obviously very excited.
“There will be some champagne on Thursday and then his friends are holding a party for him on Saturday, so there will no doubt be more then!”
You can still donate to Mr Methven’s fund by visiting http://fundraise.unicef.org.uk/MyPage/value-adder-to-vagabond.