In 2010, Leigh left the UK to cycle around the world, on his unique and epic expedition of 44,000 miles over seven years, across 51 countries, and on a budget of only £5 per day. Pushing the limits of cycling and human endurance, he rode his bicycle - Dolly - in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth but also to some of the most magnificent.
Leigh survived the extremes of nature and humanity; taking on the frigid winter of Tibet, the desert tracks of Australia and South Pacific storms. He came face to face with a lion and sang to bears to hopefully prevent attack. Leigh was detained by armed Russian soldiers and drugged and robbed in Singapore, yet in stark contrast, was amazed by the generosity of those with almost nothing to share; always so poignant and humbling.
Leigh's life changing experiences with the people of the world have instilled within him a deep belief in the goodness and strength of humanity. With a background in creative education facilitation, Leigh brings his experiences to life in motivational speaking.
Through his humour and modest personality, Leigh delivers his story of overcoming depression, to achieve extra-ordinary things. His adventure takes him through extremes, not only geographically but also mentally and, following his journey, students and teachers are given practical examples of qualities including resilience, endurance, determination and showing courage in the face of adversity, to name but a few. Leigh's is a story of simplifying life and finding what is truly important, returning after his seven year odyssey with the realisation that success might not just be wealth or social status, but happiness in our relationships and lifestyle.
Leigh's exciting and moving stories of survival, self-motivation and the kindness of strangers have been published in the international and national press (ABC Australia, BBC, Daily Telegraph), as well as him making appearances on BBC television and radio. He is now excited to use his life changing experiences, to help change the live's of others, for the better, too.
Leigh Timmis has smashed the Guinness World record for the fastest cycle across Europe by an astonishing eight days. Leigh, who had previously spent seven years on a mammoth 44,000-mile cycle across the globe, left the most western tip of Europe – Cabo da Roca in Portugal – on September 10th, intent on breaking the existing record of 24 days. He arrived at the most Eastern tip in Ufa, Russia, close to the border of Kazakhstan, having completed the 3,956-mile (6330km) ride in an extraordinary 16 days, 10 hours and 45 minutes.
Leigh’s journey took him though 10 countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, before arriving in Russia. He averaged around 250 miles a day, cycling 14 hours a day.
Leigh has also been raising money for the mental health charity MQ: transforming mental health, as he suffered from depression in his mid-20s. He said the charity was the only one scientifically researching mental health “with the aim to create a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated, and ultimately prevented”.
To see Leigh's TEDx talk, click here.
"Leigh came to us fresh off the saddle from his awe inspiring trip. We asked him to address our Sixth Form leavers at their special final assembly - an emotional and excitable occasion. Leigh is a natural communicator, and the audience was with him all the way. Using humour and his modest personality, Leigh's account of his fascinating experiences was delivered in a completely natural way that immediately connected with both the students and the teachers. He knew instinctively how to interact with these young people and to make them think about what matters in life. It was real, it was funny and it kept the audience engaged throughout. We want to work with Leigh again using his skills as an energetic and thoughtful communicator."– Mrs C Tresidder, KS5 Learning Mentor, Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School
"Wow. Utterly, wow. Leigh certainly was inspirational and indeed such a breath of fresh air, he created such a buzz around the school. I was impressed by not only the attendance of staff and parents, but the volume of students who came along. Thank you – Leigh really has touched and motivated a lot of our students."– Roberta Keys, Deputy Headteacher, Malvern College
"Leigh was one of the most memorable and inspiring visitors I have had the pleasure of inviting to school. The story of his epic seven-year adventure captivated not only the pupils, but the staff and other visitors who came to the school to see him. The way Leigh delivered and presented his story to the children was so enthralling, providing practical examples of the qualities we are try to instil in our pupils, qualities including resilience, endurance, determination and showing courage in the face of adversity, to name but a few. Leigh’s wonderful tales and photographs also helped restore faith in humanity as he described the way people from across the world invited him into the home, showing generosity, friendship and kindness towards a stranger in need. Leigh inspired our pupils to believe anything is possible with the right attitude and a positive mind. He demonstrated that an ordinary man, from an ordinary home can achieve extra-ordinary things."– Rob Hull, Headteacher, Kilburn Junior School
"Leigh Timmis is an inspirational speaker who engaged the young people of Kingsmead School who are generally from disadvantaged backgrounds and have low aspirations for their future. Leigh engaged them for a whole afternoon of two and a half hours with his stories, presentation, and props. Leigh held the attention of the young people superbly, he was entertaining and funny and his humour really shone through as he talked to the young people. Leigh’s ability to answer the questions of the young people on their level and see their perspective was also a joy to behold, as he took questions and answered them for over an hour and the pupils engagement was not lost at all. I would heartily recommend Leigh, his bike and inspirational story to anyone, it left pupils and staff inspired and awestruck."– Huw Lloyd, Assistant Headteacher, Kingsmead School
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