AN INSPIRATIONAL man from Pontypool who lost his job in lockdown will cycle to Berlin on Saturday in search of a new challenge.

Joe Richardson lost his job earlier this year in a round of redundancies at Media Wales during the initial coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Richardson, aged 27, said his mental health began to spiral out of control.

Having moved back in with his parents in Pontypool, Mr Richardson said: “I have suffered for years with mental health issues, and anxiety has never really left me.

“Lockdown hit me hard after I became unemployed. I spent three months on my own and got to a real low point. I stopped eating properly and lost two and a half stone in less than a month.

“A friend of mine – who is a very good cyclist and lives up in Glasgow – asked if I’d go there and cycle with him. I’d never really cycled before.

“I went and we cycled from Glasgow to Loch Lomond and I loved it. The anxiety just left me and I felt free.


“I came back home and immediately bought a bike. I spend three hours a day cycling now and it’s a time where I can forget life’s challenges a little.”

As if three hours a day on the bike isn’t enough, Mr Richardson is taking on the challenge of cycling to Berlin while doing job interviews.

When asked by a friend about his job prospects, he jokingly said “I’d take a job anywhere between Wales and Berlin right now”, and his idea for a 1,000-mile challenge came to life.

South Wales Argus:

“I really want to show people that no matter how hard life gets, that they can still push through," he explained.

“I’ve arranged for two interviews while I’m cycling. I’m hoping to stand on my bike and do them, and then maybe share the recordings on social media.

“There is going to be a lot of competition for jobs now and I felt I wanted to try something completely different.”

Mr Richardson will cycle from Pontypool, setting off on Saturday, for 14 days. He’ll stop in Chepstow, Chippenham, Guildford, Dover, Dunkirk, Brugge, Brussels, Weert and Dusseldorf on the way.

“It’s a heck of a challenge and all pretty quick from when I started cycling a few months ago, but I think it’ll be good for me,” he added.

South Wales Argus:

“I’m not usually great on my own, but I want to spend time to get used to my own company too.”

Mr Richardson has already raised £1,103 for mental health charity MIND.

To follow his journey and donate to the cause visit

  • Additional reporting by Robert Griffin.