24 hours until the start of my 5,000km journey….

Robert Hargreaves, an undergraduate in BSc Psychology with Neuroscience, is doing a 5000km bike ride in aid of the world’s first Toddler Lab currently being built on campus. Robert shares his feelings as he prepares to embark on his journey. Please support Robert as he undertakes his fundraising bike ride.

I leave Paris and head through Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany into Denmark. Once I reach Skagen, I’ll take a ferry over to Gothenburg and then head up through Oslo all the way to the top of Norway, along the Lofoten Islands to just above Narvik. Well within the Arctic Circle, the trail heads East through Lapland until I reach Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia, where the home run starts from the top to the bottom of Sweden, through Copenhagen and finally on to Berlin.

It will be an amazing experience taking in the Eiffel Tower, Dutch canals, Danish ports and peninsulas, Norwegian fjords, glaciers and untouched countryside. There will be lots of interesting people to meet and maybe even a few saunas along the route that will help with any aches and pains I may incur.

I think the solitude will take its toll; the climate will be tough, supermarkets sparse.  I will mainly be wild camping, but I’ve got Kandel, Dennett, Eryn Saks, Pinker, Blakemore and Plomin audiobooks to keep me company, so going into the final year of the bachelors it’s a great opportunity for learning, meditation and self-reflection.

We have some great professors and lecturers at Birkbeck who are teaching us about developmental neuroscience and psychology from the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. They covered a lot of research from the BabyLab, so it inspired me to get involved and help raise money for them to enable them to buy more equipment for the new ToddlerLab centre.

Although this is going to be difficult, I have some experience.  In 2017 I cycled 6,000km in 100 days for BEAT the UKs eating disorder charity and the Body Dysmorphic Foundation, so I’m using the same kit and anything I’ve had to buy or consume is entirely self-funded and 100% of any donation or gift aid will go directly to help Toddlers with Neurological problems.

I will be posting photos of the journey, the people I meet, some beautiful sights, landmarks and maybe even a few wolves and bears along the way. The Birkbeck owl mascot will be coming along for the ride, and will pop up across eight countries and might even call in at some other universities along the way!

Please follow the social media feed, send messages of support along the route and, if you’re able to, donate to ToddlerLab.

You can follow Robert’s journey on Instagram and Twitter, with the hashtag #RobsBikeRide


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