Press Release

06/02/16


Doctor pedals back to London hospital six years after he set off – travelling more than twice around the world by bicycle


On February 19th 2016, after cycling 86,250 km (54,000 miles), Dr Stephen Fabes will return to St Thomas’ hospital in London from where he set off more than six years ago, aged 29.

During that time Stephen has cycled the length of six continents, across 75 countries, crossing over one hundred international borders and pedaling a distance equivalent to more than twice around the planet, or sixty six times the length of Great Britain.

In 2009 Stephen was working as a junior doctor at St Thomas’. Since he left to pedal the world he has visited scores of remote medical projects and clinics aimed at helping marginalised people: from refugees, the disabled, slum dwellers and homeless children, to drug addicts, victims of suicide bombings and domestic violence, ex-prisoners, the mentally ill and those with infectious and deforming disease.

A freelance journalist, Stephen plans to write a book, part travelogue, part investigation into marginalisation and its relationship to health and disease.

‘An epic challenge’- Bear Grylls

For Stephen the most difficult times have included pedaling through a Mongolian winter where he was camping in temperatures of down to minus forty degree Celsius, crossing troubled regions of Afghanistan, contracting dengue fever, being forced to undergo knee surgery, discovering a black widow spider inside his tent and lions roaring outside, hiking through the aftermath of a fatal blizzard in Nepal and having a gun held to his head at night in a remote part of South America (soon afterwards the gunman made him some soup!). But Stephen remains positive:

‘Cycling is simple, cheap and was slow enough for me to appreciate the details of people’s lives. As a cyclist I felt more connected to the landscape, and received a kind of backstage view of the world. I received hospitality in every country I’ve travelled, and the one invariable pleasure has been the warm welcome from people I’ve met along the way.’

Some of his most cherished memories include being thrown a birthday party in a small Syrian desert village months before the country fell into war, taking a break from cycling to hike across the Pacific island of New Caledonia, towing a rollerblader across Uzbekistan, tackling Andean passes of up to 5200 metres and riding across a frozen lake in Mongolia with ice tyres.

Dr Fabes has been sharing his journey through magazine articles, his popular blog and in the multimedia presentations he has given in scores of schools along his route. He has also raised over 20,000 pounds for Merlin, a humanitarian aid NGO that came to an end in 2013.

For one week prior to Stephen’s return there will be a display in the lobby of St Thomas’ Hospital in central London with photos, statistics, stories and information on the various adventures and the medical projects that have featured in Stephen’s six year ride – come down and have a look.

Ends


Notes for journalists and editors:
  • The display in St Thomas’ Hospital will be up from Friday 12th Feb 2016
  • Stephen will return at 13:00 on Feb 19th to the front entrance of St Thomas and give a short talk in the lobby before giving interviews in the afternoon. To book one email Stephen: cyclingthe6 (at) gmail.com
  • Dr Fabes is a freelance journalist with work published on the BBC, CNN, the Telegraph, Geographical and in scores of travel magazines. He is also the winner of three travel writing contests (Pure Travel, Just Back and We Said Go). If you are interested in a feature or an interview, please email. A portfolio of work is available to review.
  • High-resolution, high quality photographs of Stephen are available upon request – try these, or these.

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