Phil and Ruben hail from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and are cycling around the British coast and as if that wasn’t enough effort, Phil is also collecting litter along the way.
Phil told birkenhead.news, “The main reason why I’m doing it is because lockdown was a little bit boring for me and wanted to actually do something with my time. I’ve been living off peanuts for such a long time that I thought to myself, I’m gonna do something a little bit constructive.”
Ruben, you may have guessed is the canine half of the duo, who runs alongside Phil when he’s up for it or sits back and relaxes in his cradle on the bike (known as Snail 2) when he feels the need to chill out and take in the scenery. On their arrival at Hoylake, they were greeted with applause from some of Wirral’s very own litter pickers, the Wirral Wombles .
Phil has always done litter picking even before this adventure when taking Ruben out for walks at home. “I love cycling and litter picking, so I thought, ‘why not combine them!’, he told us. “At the moment, I’ve picked around 150 bags of rubbish and at 5kg per bag, that’s about three-quarters of a ton, so far!”
Wondering about the logistics of sleeping and personal hygiene, Phil answered our question; “It’s very hit and miss! The logistics can sometimes be a nightmare!” Most of the time Phil’s overnight stops are wild camping and regarding the call of nature, he says, “You go when you can go!”
When it comes to showering, he is relying on the kindness of strangers: “I’ve probably been in a dozen people’s houses, and people have donated a chalet, I’ve even slept on a bus!”
Phil and Ruben’s adventure started at the Millenium Bridge in Newcastle on 19 April and is very close to spending 100 days on the road. Repairs have been needed along the way, with broken spokes, collapsed wheels, snapped chains and even repairs to the bike’s trailer that has the solar panel mounted on it that is needed for charging his torch and mobile phone.
We asked Phil what was memorable about his first night in Wirral, “It has to be the sunsets and evening skies have just been phenomenal! And, the cycle paths have been amazing!”
After our chat in Hoylake, we let Phil and Ruben get on their way with a trip on the ferry across to Liverpool and a visit to Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ at Crosby on the itinerary.