A Hartlepool man is on the challenge of a lifetime as he takes on a gruelling bike ride the length of the USA.
Steve Lee, 32, moved from the town to Portland, Oregon, four years ago and is set to make an emotional return to his hometown later this summer.
Before he departs America, though, he set himself the challenge of riding the length of the west coast in 60 days, from Canada to Mexico.
He has so far cycled just over 1,000 miles.
Steve, who went to High Tunstall College of Science, Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Cleveland College of Art and Design, hopes his challenge will ‘inspire’ others.
He said: “I’m still trying to figure out why I’m doing this!
I’m still trying to figure out why I’m doing this!Steve Lee
“Mainly, it’s a bit of self-discovery and some time out from my career.
“I know I’m really lucky to be able to afford time off, and felt that I needed a bit of a break and reflection.
“I spoke to a friend who had done west to east America, and he was really inspiring. I hope that I can do the same and inspire others.”
Steve, who moved to America to work as a designer, is cycling for between 40 and 60 miles a day, with some huge climbs, up to 2,000ft, on the journey.
He is hoping to complete the challenge by early August, and sees this as a farewell tour of the country, having worked in 18 states in the last four years.
Steve, who lived in Frensham Drive, Hartlepool, added: “The bike weighs more than I do with all of the clothes, camping equipment and technology, but some people I’ve met are managing 100 miles a day. I’ve no idea how they’re doing that!
“I’m an experienced cyclist, and have fallen in love with the outdoors culture of the Pacific North West.
“Everyone gets outside, out of town and into nature whenever they can.
“I’ve been amazed at how the human body works and adapts. I’m doing things I would have never thought I could do, and climbing bigger and bigger hills.
“I thought long and hard about doing this for charity, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for me, and though it’s a challenge, it didn’t feel right to make this a charity thing.
“I see this as a farewell-for-now tour of the west coast, and after this, I’ll have some time in Portland to say farewell to my friends there and then fly back to reunite with the family in Hartlepool.”