Cyclist's latest challenge will see him forage for all his food
A CYCLIST who once broke a world record on his bike has set himself his next daring challenge – eating only what he can gather as he travels across the UK.
Vin Cox plans to not spend a penny, to eat from bushes and hedgerows and to drink from rivers and streams during his Hungry Bike Ride in March.
The 37-year-old appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records after being the fastest man to circumnavigate the globe on his bike, travelling 18,000 miles and across five continents in 163 days, six hours and 58 minutes.
He beat the previous time, set by Julian Sayarer in December 2009, when he finished his journey in 2010. He found out 10 days ago that his record has now been broken.
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Mr Cox, who was born in Derby, is looking forward to his latest challenge, which he says will allow him to fully appreciate the English countryside.
He said: "The point of this is not to sound all 'Bear Grylls' or that I'm on some survival mission. It's something I'll enjoy because I will be able to get close and in touch with my surroundings.
"I first had the idea when I went on a walking holiday. I thought how good it might be as training in the spring but the more I started talking to people about it the more it turned into this grand expedition.
"It will be a very difficult time of the year to attempt this because not much is growing. I'll stick to lanes and trails where there's more of an opportunity to forage and I'm hoping I won't be reduced to eating little bunnies."
Mr Cox, who now lives in Cornwall, is hoping to visit family in Derby when he embarks on the expedition.
He will start from his home on March 8 and, although he has not planned the exact route yet, he expects to follow the coast some of the way. The cyclo-cross champion plans to finish his trip in Lockerbie, Scotland.
He said: "I expect to meet friends along the way and some of them will probably join me for bits of it. When I call in at my dad's in Derby, I'll try not to take any food off him. But I'm hoping to call in on all sorts of interesting places along the way. I'll take a water filter with me so I can drink and a small waterproof cover and sleeping bag.
"I practised foraging on Thursday. My lunch was dandelions, nettles and sorrel. The trick with nettles is to roll the tips in your fingers before eating them, although I did get stung in the mouth once. It's not as bad as you think."
Mr Cox held his world record for 17 months. Although cyclist Alan Bate finished his attempt – in 96 days, 10 hours and 3 minutes – just days after him. Mr Bate did not submit his evidence straight away.
Mr Cox said: "Alan had quite a different approach to me. He travelled with a support team, while I went on my own, and I think this will be a new style of attacking the record in the future."