#TeamCALM hero Harry Wiseman, is about to set out on the challenge of a lifetime – a lone cycle from Hastings all the way to Hong Kong. We caught up with him to find out what’s prompted this epic adventure.
Hello Harry, so firstly why Hastings to Hong Kong?
Originally the goal was every country in Europe, but after some thinking I realised I wanted something bigger, something that was out of my comfort zone.
I’ve completed a couple of mini-tours with my friend Eddie. We cycled from Hastings to Paris, which set a fire for touring which obviously still burns today, and Hastings to Snowdonia in north Wales. This trip was meant to be a test ride of the huge one I’m about to start, boy was it a test. They call Wales “The Valleys” for a reason.Both trips were stunningly beautiful and the fact you had to earn that beauty made it even more special.
I ask myself ‘why this distance?’ all the time, why would I want to cause myself this prolonged pain?! It’s mix of a few factors. Setting myself this challenge has given me purpose, without this trip I’d certainly feel lost. I’ve never had a burning desire to start a career or to settle down and start a family, I feel like enough people do that – why not try something else?
I’m in no way a serious athlete or ‘sporty’, just someone who likes a challenge.
How are you preparing for the challenge?
Three years ago on a drunken rant I announced I would cycle across Europe, now I’m days away from setting off. If I knew how much prep I would have to put in, I might have not gone through with it. I’m in no way a serious athlete or ‘sporty’, just someone who likes a challenge. Finding a sport that you find exciting is key to getting fit and healthy, if the gym doesn’t work for you try something that’s outdoors.
I quit alcohol in preparation – it’s made me a little bit of a recluse, which is useful as I’m now used to spending large amounts of time on my own.
The build-up has taken its toll, with so many things to worry about, your brain goes into overdrive, imagining every worst-case scenario. The solution is to just try and stay positive. When people undermine you and your trip, just agree and ignore, I’ve found people love to put their oar in even when they have zero experience.
The thought of leaving my Mum and Girlfriend has eaten away at me for years now, it’s incredibly difficult as my passion in life is driving/cycling me away from the people I love the most. It’s a constant battle of emotions. I’ve recently started using the app Headspace which I intend on using out there, it’s an app that helps you meditate, sounds a tad hippy but actually works in bringing stress down.
Where are you excited to visit along the way?
I’m especially excited for central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), the landscape is breath-taking with both mountain ranges and arid plains to keep me occupied.
I guess it’s the wildness that attracts me, I’m bored of the monotony of modern life, but I know for certain once I’m out there I’ll miss my creature comforts.
From reading blogs and watching other touring videos I’ve gathered that even though the locals don’t have many possessions they still offer people a bed to sleep in and a hot meal for the night – I have a feeling that on this trip I’ll be relying heavily on the kindness of strangers.
I have a feeling that on this trip I’ll be relying heavily on the kindness of strangers.
Why is cycling important to you? What do you get out of it?
Pushing myself through cycling has taken the place of pushing myself with drink and drugs. Before I found this outlet, I would use substances to release built up stress and emotion.
Unlike cycling, drink and drugs just puts you back a few steps rather forward, at the end of the night I would feel super low and wouldn’t be ‘happy’ again until I was back on it.
The freedom cycling gives you is amazing and I get to push myself to the limit in a constructive, positive way. I don’t drink myself into oblivion anymore, I cycle there!
Pushing myself through cycling has taken the place of pushing myself with drink and drugs.
So why CALM?
Losing Tom (my brother) was and still is an extremely painful experience, Tom overdosed on a drug used for weaning yourself off heroin – methadone.
Tom struggled with his own mental health issues but hid them with drugs. He rarely talked about his feelings and struggled with how to deal with them. Ironically for 5 years after Tom’s death I used substances to mask my emotions and thoughts, instead of facing the reality of my situation I hid from it.
Throughout the years I’ve been in and out of hospital from the result of taking too many drugs or having a mental breakdown. Near the end of my addiction I was arrested a couple of times which resulted in an appearance at court, sadly these events didn’t change my attitude on drugs. It wasn’t until another year of heavy drugs use did I realise that this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable, I was living weekend to weekend, with no aspirations and nothing to look forward to. I decided to go sober and cut everything completely. With the support of the legends that are my Mum and Girlfriend I’ve been sober for 2 years!
From these experiences in my short life I’ve realised the importance of mental health and support in a crisis situation. CALM provides outstanding support to the men who truly need it, this is why I’m going to do all I can to raise awareness and funds for this cause.
How can people keep up to date with your challenge?
I hope to film and edit a video once a month and I’ll have a live tracker on my website so you can see exactly where I am! wisemanstour.com
Want to chip in and support Harry? Donate to his JustGiving page.
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