HE faced subzero temperatures and icy peaks, vast deserts and parching heat – now a courageous cyclist is back on home soil after circumnavigating the globe for charity.
It took Glen Saberton 20,000 miles, almost three years and a “hell of a lot of perseverance” to complete the round-the-world solo challenge.
En route through 34 countries including Tibet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Istanbul and the Himalayas, Glen, 37, said his globe-trotting saw him battling torturous climbs and extreme weather conditions – a “physical and mental” arduous task.
Glen – who left London on May 2, 2006 – had only ever pedalled to and from work on his bike before the challenge.
“I didn’t do any training at all,” he said.
“I think by the time I had got to the Alps I was just forced to be fit – you had to be.
“There was hard moments – at one point I was in Tibet and it was minus 40 then a couple of weeks later I was in West India in a heatwave and it was 55 degrees – so your body had to cope with massive changes, but it wasn’t the physical side to the trip that was hardest – it was the mental. You get so lonely and bored, for the vast majority of three years I was by myself which did get a bit tough going.”
Glen spent three birthdays and Christmases alone – something that was tougher than other than challenges that he battled on his trip including breaking his toe in the Cambodian jungle, facing altitudes of up to 17,500 feet, suffering with heat exhaustion, dehydration and food poisoning.
Glen, who hails from Elvington, returned back home a fortnight ago. “It has all been a bit of a blur as I try and get used to being back in normal surroundings,” he said. “I got very emotional towards the end – as I was cycling back to York I had tears in my eyes as I remembered all the wonderful things I have seen. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I will never forget.”
Glen said that after a decade as a computer graphics designer, he wanted to achieve something out of the ordinary. Yet though he began his journey for an adventure, his experiences along the way inspired him to begin fundraising for Save The Children.
“Once I got to places like Kazakhstan, Tibet and Cambodia, it brought tears to my eyes to see how poor these children were yet they would always smile beamingly at me. I knew I had to give something back.
“I have raised about £1,000 so far, but I want to raise much more than that now I am back.”
To read about Glen’s travels, visit his website at saberton.com