A couple of months ago I got a call from somebody at the BBC’s The One Show asking about riding a rickshaw long distance.
I have to admit that I didn’t know what The One Show was but, after being as helpful as I could, I’ve since been brought up to speed and seen presenter Matt Baker has started his journey from Edinburgh to London.
It made me think about a few celebrity challees that are similar to some things I’ve done.
Here’s a few…
Charley Boorman By Any Means
Whilst preparing for my Around the World in 80 Ways trip a few years ago – a journey around the world using as many different transport methods as possible – I rather embarrassed myself trying to get some kind of celebrity endorsement from Charley Boorman, himself fresh back from motorbiking across the globe.
I went to see him present at some travel shows in London and queued for his autograph before delivering an incoherent spiel about our project and why I thought he should help. He was very polite but unsurprisingly, and probably mercifully, we never heard from him.
A few years later, Mr Boorman embarked on his own trip across the map using lots of different transport methods: By Any Means. It’s had a couple of TV series, speaking tour, book and DVD as I understand.
At first, I don’t think Thom and I were sure whether to be outraged, amused or proud that someone had taken our idea but, in reality, I suspect Boorman barely remembers anything about being pestered for help. It would be nice to think that at some unconscious level our idea sowed a seed in his mind though.
(N.B. Shortly before departing on our trip we were contacted by Robin Dunseath who done almost exactly the same thing a few years before but in a much more impressive style: Around The World In Eighty Ways Foundation. Clearly we weren’t the first!).
Matt Baker Rickshaw Challenge
On Friday 11th November, Matt Baker departed from Edinburgh with the aim of cycling about 500 miles to London. He’s raising for Children in Need through The One Show.
I don’t think many people have cycled long distances in a rickshaw so when the researchers went on Google, they came across my website. From memory, they were mainly trying to ascertain whether their itinerary was possible. It’s a lot stiffer than mine was but I said it was quite do-able since I didn’t train for my trip or attempt to make it an endurance event.
(N.B. As with the 80 Ways project, I quickly discovered that I was not the first person to ride a rickshaw long distance and, in fact, got the idea for breaking the World Record from Simon Etkind and Lianna Hulbert’s Rickshaw Odyssey)
Ben Fogle and James Cracknell Rickshaw Challenge
I came up with the idea of using a rickshaw as a physical fundraiser whilst on the Trans-Siberian railway several years ago with my friend Thom. It wasn’t until 2010 that the idea actually came to fruition but, no sooner had I started planning than I discovered that Fogle and Cracknell had beated me to it!
Like Matt Baker, they also rode Edinburgh to London, and did so, in their typical style, very fast; going far further in a day than I did.
David Walliams Swimming the Thames
Laura and I started our attempt to swim the length of the river Thames earlier this year. After half a dozen or so trips out west, we’ve racked up about 30 miles with over 100 left to go.
Meanwhile, comedian David Walliams cranked out the whole thing in less than a week.
I knew about Walliams’ plan when we started as he’d announced it sometime in advance. I naively thought we might finish before he began but mostly due to my inability to withstand cold water, progress has been slow.
That, and the fact that Walliams’, who’s previously crossed the Channel, is clearly a different league of swimmer.