Man cycling length of Britain makes pit stop in Oban

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A man cycling the coast of Britain raising money for a mental health charity made a pit stop in Oban last Thursday.

Lewis Stephens received a warm welcome in the town, with Backpackers Oban treating him to coffee and letting him use their facilities, and Cafe Shore provided his food the following day.

Lewis, aka The Tourist Dog, set off from his home in Surrey on June 1 and expects the trip will take him around four months.

So far he has raised £1,300 and cycled more than 2,300 miles – averaging around 50 miles per day on his vintage 50-year-old bike.

The 23-year-old got the bug for travelling when he left school and dropped out of college.

He said: ‘I went to college three times and I dropped out every time. My family said you need to go back, but it was not for me, so I went travelling when I was 18. I left with only £600 and I lasted eight months.’

On his adventure, Lewis travelled and lived throughout Europe, and it was while working on a ski resort that he came across the book, One Man and His Bike, by Mike Carter.

He then decided to do the same as the author. Fast forward a couple of years and he arrived in Oban, 2,300 miles into his adventure.

‘Oban is a little gem. I had never heard of it,’ the south Londoner said.

Lewis is travelling the length of the UK coastline to raise money for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably.

The charity aims to  bring down the suicide rate among young men.

Lewis said: ‘I know a couple of people who have been affected by suicide. It is a charity that is close to everyone’s heart.’

Lewis said that everyone he has met on his travels knows someone who has been impacted by suicide.

He is trying to live on £5 per day and is pitching his tent wherever he goes. However, sometimes he has to ask for help.

‘The general idea is to ask for help as much as possible. That’s the whole concept, we don’t think men are asking for help as often as they should.’

Speaking about the trip as a whole, he said: ‘I am loving it. It is up and down – I treat hills quite spiritually. Some days you feel like you are flying, some days you are going so slow. You just have to find a way to get yourself motivated.’

Lewis visited Fort William on Monday, before heading for the North Coast 500.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thetouristdog