DEACON Richardson is swapping lockdown for open roads when he takes on a monster charity bike ride across the country.

The 27-year-old, from Colchester, is sizing up a 450-mile coast-to-coast adventure, pedalling from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to Ness Point, in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

He is giving himself ten days to complete the eye-watering challenge and travelling solo and unsupported, camping along the way.

The mission has been organised to raise funds and awareness of the Colchester-based charity Re-Cycle, which sends bikes from the UK to rural communities in Africa.

Deacon, a social worker in fostering and adoption, said: “It’s a daunting prospect but I’m very excited.

“I’ve taken on a few challenges in the past, including a couple of ultra-marathons, but never done anything like this before.

“I’m not a massive cyclist and haven’t got much experience of camping, so it’s going to be a huge test.

“That’s part of the appeal, though, and I feel if I can do this, I can do anything.

“There will be such a sense of achievement and it’ll give me confidence in every aspect of my life.”

Deacon, who gets underway today, has a route planned and will travel through his home town in the latter stages, passing through Colchester en route to the Suffolk coast.

However, he says he will be happy to divert if it means seeing particular tourist attractions and hotspots.

“We live in such a beautiful country and I won’t be afraid to take detours, because it’s about getting the most from the experience,” said the former student at Colchester’s Thomas Lord Audley School who is younger brother to boxer and Olympic hopeful Lewis.

Worthy cause - Deacon with youngsters on one of his trips to Africa

Worthy cause - Deacon with youngsters on one of his trips to Africa

“After what’s been a hard year for everyone, being locked away, it’ll feel great to be free and what better way than in the open air on two wheels?

“As I’ll be doing the ride unsupported, I’ll be carrying everything I need to sustain myself and all on a second-hand bike worth £100.

“That’s part of the challenge and why I decided to ride on behalf of Re-Cycle, which uses unwanted and donated bikes and ships them to deprived countries in Africa.

“I looked at various charities, but this one really spoke to me, because of its ethos and values and because I’ve personally been to Morocco, Tunisia and Kenya.

“I’ve witnessed first-hand the inequalities communities face and things we take for granted here can be so valuable for people out there.

“Travelling in Kenya made me realise how happy everyone seemed, despite many families still living in mud huts with none of the material items we value in Britain.

“Here, many people, including myself, consider a bike ride as a leisure, fitness or commuting activity, but I recognise the positive benefit a bike can make for rural communities in Africa.

“For most people in that kind of environment, it’s their only mode of transport and it’s tough to get to work, school, markets or even to fetch water.”

Big hitter - Deacon with brother Lewis, a boxer and Olympic hopeful

Big hitter - Deacon with brother Lewis, a boxer and Olympic hopeful

Re-Cycle mechanics have checked the bike and ensured it is safe and roadworthy for the challenge.

Lindsay Hurrell, the charity’s fundraising and marketing manager, said: “We’re thrilled Deacon has decided to take on this challenge and raise valuable funds for Re-Cycle.

“Due to the pandemic, the past year has seen a decline in fundraising activities and bike donations, so we’re truly grateful to individuals who are helping support us by fundraising and raising awareness.

“Team Re-Cycle wish him good luck with his adventure.”

To make a donation, head HERE.