It all started as quite a simple idea – a four week trip covering a thousand miles to spread the message about stopping hate crime, going the extra mile, being positive role models.
But by the half-way stage it had grown from four weeks to six months and then to nine months and Adrian had already hand-cycled over 1,700 miles with more invitations for more talks and more visits pouring in all the time.
“It’s taken on a life of its own,” said Adrian. “The response has been so phenomenal the tour is now going to run through to December 22nd. The incredible amount of interest has proved beyond doubt that people want to hear the message I am giving. I was in the Isle Of Man a short while ago and spoke to two schools, but now the Manx government have invited me back to speak to many more of them.”
He had further proof one day while enjoying a coffee in Starbucks. He was approached by a woman who asked if he was Adrian Derbyshire. When he confirmed he was the lady could not thank him enough.
He explains: “She said her teenage daughter had heard one of my talks a few weeks ago and it had completely changed her life. Her mother had no idea she was being bullied to such an extent that she was considering harming herself, but after hearing my talk the daughter plucked up the courage to tell her mum what was going on. She told me ‘It’s changed her life completely.’
“It’s quite something when someone says that to you and it tells me that the message is definitely getting through to those who need to hear it,” he said.
Back to school
Adrian spent part of the school summer holiday on the health and well-being section of the tour when he hand-cycled along the south coast of England from Portsmouth to Land’s End, chatting to people along the way. But now the kids are back to school and he is preparing his plans for the next phase of the tour.
“I don’t know how many miles I will have done by the time I finish, but certainly over 2,000 plus with things like the English half marathon and lots of 5ks and charity events in between.
“When I finished at Land’s End I was knackered, physically worn out by doing a marathon a day for 21 days. I hadn’t realised how much it would affect my disability and I ended up doubling my medication as the event wore on. There were some amazing highs and horrible lows, beautiful weather and torrential rain.
“But that’s all behind me now and as I’m gearing up for the next segment of the tour which will see me making school visits right up until December 22nd. Then I might have a bit of time off for Christmas before taking on the next project which might mean extending the campaign throughout 2015!”
“Interest in what I am doing is continuing to grow and the tour might be going international next year. I’m already in talks with America, Germany and France to take the message to them.”
“It’s quite something when someone says that to you and it tells me that the message is definitely getting through to those who need to hear it”