Norfolk adventurer takes on round GB challenge
Norfolk adventurer Richard Steven is about to set off on his latest, and biggest, challenge – a coastal circumnavigation of Great Britain on a diesel motorbike, powered by recycled chip oil for fuel. Keith Morris reports.
Earlier this summer, Richard, who is a member of Liberty Church in Frettenham, completed a 54-day charity ride from Land’s End to John o’Groats in aid of the British Red Cross and Riders for Health on a 1930s Police issue Humber bicycle, fitted with a small magic wheel engine.
Richard survived punctures, breakdowns, running repairs, a crash and hospital visit to complete the attempt, sleeping in a small tent on route. “The only parts I didn't rebuild were the frame, seat and handlebars,” said Richard.
For his latest challenge, the member of the Norwich Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship aims to ride around the coastline of Great Britain on a vintage motor cycle, loaned to him by Norfolk Motorcycle Museum, as this is the 120th anniversary of the motor cycle.
Starting on October 8, he will go from chip shop to chip shop, fuelled by chip oil, to also celebrate the 150th anniversary of fish and chips in Great Britain.
Richard was born and raised in Norwich and served in the Royal Marines until he was medically discharged in 1999 due to injury. He emigrated to New Zealand in 2001 with his wife and undertook many different roles, including renovating properties, restoring and racing classic cars and raising Alpacas.
His life was turned upside down in September 2010 while being involved with civil defence as an urban search and rescue responder following an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, which struck five minutes from his front door.
“I went through approximately 2700 earthquakes over the next six months,” said Richard. “I was then injured after a fall whilst responding to the 6.3 earthquake in February 2011 which destroyed Christchurch. I responded and carried on regardless and ended up barely able to walk and in hospital many times.”
Richard injured his arm, broke his collarbone and damaged some discs in his back and broke a few teeth in a six-foot fall. During this period, he also separated from his wife and their 10-acre farm was sold.
On the advice of friends, Richard returned to Norwich where his parents live, and since January 2013 he has been signed off with post traumatic stress disorder.
“We never know where life will take us,” said Richard. “For me to have been so happy and content with no want or need in life, I am now in a situation nobody in this modern world should find themselves caught up in.
“I am in fact homeless, have no money, little support and am struggling day-by-day to stay alive. For me this is survival, not choice as such as I cannot just lie idle or trapped in one place having done so many different and worthwhile roles in my lifetime.
“The charities I am raising money for are the British Red Cross and the Royal British Legion – being an ex Royal Marine - and also a member of the RBL motorcycle riders branch. Any support, sponsorship and possible accommodation en route would be kindly accepted,” said Richard.
You can contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07776 310849.
Pictured above is Richard Steven on his previous adventure to Land's End and John o'Groats.