A COLCHESTER man who suffers from a condition which meant he could not tie his own shoelaces as a child is to cycle 420 kilometres through Death Valley.

Ian Humm, 22, of Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, suffers from dyspraxia, a developmental co-ordination disorder.

The disorder – which used to be known as Clumsy Child Syndrome – can be misunderstood, and was often confused with dyslexia.

After belatedly being diagnosed five years ago, Ian has gradually built up enough confidence to take on the intimidating challenge through the harsh Californian landscape.

Ian recalled: “I wasn’t able to tie up my laces to a very late age, or dress myself.

“I didn’t like bright lights, I didn’t like loud places, and I had to go home countless times from watching Colchester United football matches before half-time, because I couldn’t take the noise any more.

“I wasn’t able to write in a straight line until I was about 11, and I didn’t like going out to restaurants because I felt embarrassed about having to have my food cut up for me when I was 12.”

Ian needs £3,500 in sponsorship to enable him to take on the challenge of a lifetime, and give something back to the Dyspraxia Foundation, the charity which supported him and his mum Shirley.

The charity helped Ian get work experience as a cleaner for Rentokil Initial, which eventually saw him earn his current job, cleaning for Colchester’s Debenhams store.

Working has enabled Ian’s confidence to grow, and inspired him to push himself to do something out of the ordinary.

Ian’s five-day challenge will begin when he flies out to Las Vegas on November 10.

He will join a group for the cycle ride, organised by Global Adventure Challenges, and which will involve pedalling between 80km and 100km each day.

The group will encounter a range of challenges and landscapes, ranging from snow-capped mountains to desert plains, and a range of temperatures.

Ian added: “It means everything really, I don’t stop thinking about it.”

Local businesses and organisations willing to sponsor Ian should contact him via deathvalley ianhumm@googlemail.com To follow Ian’s progress, see www.twitter.com/IanHumm or donate at www.justgiving.com/ ianhummdeathvalley