Welcome to Be Inspired! Celebrating all the incredible people in life who inspire others. Ranging from unsuspecting heroes, to those performing epic feats, to people who have changed their lives or the lives of others in a remarkable way. It’s a chance to remember all the things that can be forgotten on a day to day basis. Life is amazing and so are people!
This week we have the pleasure of interviewing Danny Bent, a remarkable human being who cycled 15,000 kilometres from the UK to India to raise money for ActionAid. Danny is the author of ‘You’ve Gone Too Far This Time, Sir!’ which captures his inspirational journey.
In this jaw dropping cycle ride Danny’s courage knows no bounds as he battles food poisoning, extreme cold, huge trucks, thirst and malnutrition, dodgy border guards and a seemingly endless list of obstacles on his one man mission. Along the way he meets some extraordinary people, including the mad, bad and truly amazing!
The challenge is epic. The book defines the word inspiration. It’s funny, fast paced and heartwarming (there wasn’t a dry eye in our house!). Warning, it will make you want to be awesome!!
1) How did your family and friends react when you said you were going to cycle 15,000km from the UK to India?
My Dad was dead against me going. He thought I was either going to be beheaded along the way or freeze to death in the high mountain passes. My mother on the other hand was calm – very much out of character (I’m a total mummies boy) – and when I asked her about it she said that I’d said in a leaving assembly at school 20 years previously that I wanted to cycle round the world and raise money for charity and so she’d been waiting for this day for 20 years.
2) What’s your most memorable moment from the experience, the one that always makes you think “that’s why I did this!”?
Sitting in the slums in Mumbai hearing how the money raised was being used to empower women. The struggles they had been through to be where they are and the final reactions of the men to their success!! I wept with joy and vowed that I would have cycled 10 times as far just for this moment.
3) On the flip side of that, what was the worst part of your trip? How did you get through it?
Being held at gun point and being ill and the state of the toilets you visited all tested my resolve but I saw them all as good stories to tell the folks back home and so enjoyed every minute of each of them.
4) On the way you had a few scary moments. Were there any points where you really feared for your life?
The trucks and state of the roads along the way were the scariest parts. At one point I was being passed by a continuous stream of trucks on a tiny road where I had 10cm of tarmac for my own. I lost concentration at one point and fell into the road – for some reason there was a tiny gap in the trucks and I fell into that and managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time before the next 10 tonnes truck careered past. Someone was looking after me at that moment!
5) Your epic journey is very inspiring to me and many others. Who inspires you?
Every person has different boundaries and every person who fights past that barrier is an inspiration for every one they meet. The person who thinks they can’t run who straps on their trainers and does a lap of the park. The person who struggles to socialise who talks to the person sitting next to them on the train. We all have make believe barriers and can all feel the elation of smashing them each and every day.
6) Did you always plan on writing a book about your adventure?
I’m dyslexic and failed English at GCSE so I have always struggled with writing in an academic sense. When at uni I started writing for local sports magazines and letters home to my family I realised I had a knack for writing a lot about not a lot in an entertaining way. I then won a journalistic award and then my mind was set on the book. It’s more proof that we are more capable than we or anyone else can possibly imagine. If I told my teachers I had a best selling book they’d laugh at the joke.
7) You have done a few other challenges on top of the epic bike ride. Is there anything you would draw the line at through fear?
I think my dad made me face my fears. If I feel fear my natural reaction is to dive headlong into it. For example I love drawing and go to a life drawing class. At one point I wondered what it would be like to be the model – having all these eyes on you in the nude. I shrivelled up in response to my fear but within a month was standing their as proud as punch wearing nothing in front of the class I had once been part of. It felt wonderful smashing that fear about my figure! And I’d recommend it to everyone!
8) What is it that drives you to take on these challenges?
The one fear I can’t beat. Fear of the mundane. Fear of a real job. Fear of doing what I don’t enjoy for the rest of my life! 🙂
9) In the book you have a couple of gruesome situations, which leads to our favourite type of question! Would you rather sleep in a horrifically dirty room and wake up with maggots in your hair, or accept a putrid drink off a local out of politeness and suffer severe diarrhoea?
Love this question. I’d go for the maggots every time!! They totally cleaned up my beard! 🙂 But I’d accept that drink again if I was offered – unless you were with me then I’d politely pass it to you.
10) What’s next for Danny Bent? Any more epic challenges? Or another book in the pipeline?
I just returned from America having orchestrated a 2000 person running relay from LA to Boston raising $100,000 for the victims of the boston bombings. I’m writing about that now and it’s incredibly emotional book. My next plan is a relay run around the world. Uniting nations, people and countries through our love of running. (I’m also hoping to pogo across Togo with my best friend Emily in November for fun)
A massive thanks to Danny, a top bloke indeed! I am sure this tickled the fancy of our readers! Here’s where to go for more of this awesomeness:
Buy the book ‘You’ve Gone Too Far This Time ,Sir!’
The latest charity challenge: One Run For Boston