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Stephen Fabes: Doctor, writer, adventure cyclist and Inspirational speaker

Like most decisions of great consequence, Stephen Fabes settled on a plan to cycle the length of six of the earth's continents in a pub, beer in one hand, mini-atlas in the other.

For six years, from 2010 to 2016, the British medical doctor pedaled across 75 different countries, clocking up a distance of 86,209 km (54,000 miles) by bicycle – a distance equivalent to more than twice the circumference of the earth, 25 times the Tour de France's or 66 times the length of Great Britain (and over slightly more challenging terrain).

From the baked war-struck deserts of Syria and Afghanistan to an outstandingly untoasty Mongolia mid-winter, Stephen Fabes dodged landslides and leaping camel spiders, was detained on suspicion of espionage in China, towed a rollerblader across Uzbekistan, contracted dengue fever (and the urge to tell everyone about it), survived blizzards and tropical storms, marveled at his own spiraling dishevelment, began a relationship with Ol' Patchy - a personable inner tube, and survived both a run-in with a gunman and the marauding hoards of school children armed to the milk-teeth with snowballs in Kent.

Along the way Stephen Fabes spent time among marginalised people with health problems – nomads, refugees, drug addicts, street children, patients with infectious and deforming disease, the disabled, sex workers, ex-prisoners, slum dwellers, the mentally ill and victims of violence. His interest lies in how marginalisation and health collide, subject of an upcoming book, part travelogue, part 'slow-journalism'.

Stephen Fabes is an avid story-teller and an experienced and witty speaker. He's spoken at hundreds of schools, universities, corporate events, cycle clubs and societies in over twenty countries. He packs in tales of adventure in the world's wild places, with a spotlight always on the absurdities of our planet and a life on the road.

Stephen Fabes is also a journalist, with work published in the Guardian, the Telegraph, Geographical, CNN, the BBC and a variety of adventure travel publications.

More comfortable with the label 'inspirational' rather than 'motivational' speaker, Stephen Fabes is not a big fan of universal advice and acknowledges that ambitions vary, and we all work differently to achieve goals. But he's always keen to share some of his own personal lessons from the road, from over-coming self-doubt to making sacrifices in a search for something more. 

Stephen Fabes can tailor his presentation to the audience in consultation with the organisers. He can do light-hearted tales of adventure, or focus in more on the knot of health and marginalisation, or veer into some of the many lessons he took from the road, or a combination of the three. Alongside plentiful anecdotes, some of his key messages include:

• Sacrifice in the context of achieving goals

• Overcoming self-doubt

• Communicating passion

• Perseverance

• Decision-making

• Obstacles as an excuse to get creative

• Simplifying your life

• Investing purpose in what you do

Stephen Fabes: Doctor, writer, adventure cyclist and Inspirational speaker

Stephen Fabes: Doctor, writer, adventure cyclist and Inspirational speaker

Originally from Oxford, Stephen Fabes trained at Liverpool University and qualified as a doctor in 2005. He went on to work at the renowned teaching hospitals of Guys and St Thomas’ in central London, specialising in Acute Medicine and working on the medical wards, the kidney transplant unit, the Intensive Care Unit and in the Emergency Department. He has some training in Wilderness Medicine, is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians and has been a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Before embarking on cycling six continents Stephen Fabes he took time to dash up Welsh mountains, cycle the length of Chile (as a teenager),summit Iranian volcanoes, and amble around wild places in India, Iceland and East Africa.

In 2010 Stephen Fabes set off on a six year bike across six continents: 75 countries, 6 continents and 86,209 km (it might have been a round number, but he got lost in London on the way home).

En route Stephen Fabes crossed the Andes a dozen times, traversed Mongolia in the winter – camping on the frozen surface of lakes at minus 35 degrees Celsius, pedaled through clouds of volcanic ash, survived tent-invasions of fire ants, made friends with a man who leveled a gun to his head, pedaled through the wettest place on earth during the monsoon, hiked across the pacific island of New Caledonia and came closer than his mum would like to lions, a snouted cobra and black widow spiders in Africa.

 Stephen Fabes slept in the homes of people in more than fifty countries, as well as countless churches, mosques, hospitals, schools, police stations, temples and army barracks. He also shared the fusty air and mosquitoes of a barn with a cheesed-off buffalo.

His other passions include music – he’s a hip hop, funk, soul and DnB DJ. Reading great books. And eating, so much eating. 

Stephen Fabes is also a popular blogger (www.cyclingthe6.com), freelance writer and photographer, with awards in all three. Authorship is the next challenge and his first book is in the pipeline.

Stephen Fabes  can tailor his presentation to the audience in consultation with the organisers. He can do light-hearted tales of adventure, or focus in more on the knot of health and marginalisation, or veer into some of the many lessons he took from the road, or a combination of the three. Alongside plentiful anecdotes, some of his key messages include:

• Sacrifice in the context of achieving goals

• Overcoming self-doubt

• Communicating passion

• Perseverance

• Decision-making

• Obstacles as an excuse to get creative

• Simplifying your life

• Investing purpose in what you do


Fabes: Doctor, writer, adventure cyclist and Iinspirationalspeaker

Stephen Fabes has a proven track record, and his presentations have been warmly received at The Explorers Club, The Rotary Club of Vancouver, the Royal Geographical Societies of Hong Kong and Queensland, The Alaskan World Affairs Council, World Expeditions, The British Chamber of Commerce, and corporations such as Zurich, Cape Storm and Dimension Data.

“It’s a cliché to say a book or talk is life-changing, but I honestly believe that Stephen Fabes’s inspirational presentations will have changed many of our pupils’ lives – and probably some of the teachers’ lives as well! His message chimed perfectly with our school’s ethos of showing courage, resilience and resourcefulness in the face of challenges. His unforgettable photographs from across the world helped to reinforce Stephen’s lesson that the world is a bigger, and friendlier, place than we think.”

Thomas Wilde, Deputy Headmaster, Haileybury School, Almaty, Kazakhstan

‘Animated with stunning and touching photos Stephen Fabes  tells an inspiring tale of what a normal guy can accomplish with a strong dose of will while also giving a positive message of the diversity and goodness of humanity.  Highly recommended for its message of motivation but also diversity, cultural openness and inclusion.’

Philippe Danielski, President Director Zurich Insurance Indonesia

'Students and staff alike were delighted with Steven Fabes's presentation - the magnificent photographs, extraordinary story, entertaining anecdotes and wonderful life messages to our students made for an enthralling assembly.'

Elizabeth Lenders - Principal, Kingswood College, Melbourne, Australi

‘I have had the great pleasure in meeting Stephen Fabes twice; the first time during his epic odyssey when he travelled through Indonesia and more recently when he returned to Jakarta to conduct some research. On both occasions Stephen Fabes made presentations to business forums, multi-national corporations and schools. Stephen’s talks and presentations are extremely engaging, insightful and entertaining; on top of the extraordinary sights, sounds and tastes, six years on the road has given Stephen plenty of time for thoughtful reflection, musings and of course anecdotes! All of these are present in Stephen Fabes’s talks and I would thoroughly recommend having the opportunity to listen to Stephen Fabes tell you about his incredible adventure.’

Simon McCrum, President Director, Willis Towers Watson, Jakarta

'Dr Stephen Fabes captivated our students and faculty for 45 minutes in one of the best high school assemblies we have had over our 13 years.  I believe one of the long term results will be its challenge to be bold with your dreams!'

Jeff Woodcock, Principal of Oaks Christian High School, California.

“In this lecture, Stephen Fabes told the story of his audacious expedition to cycle around the six inhabited continents of the world over six years, one of the longest rides in history.  In a finely illustrated lecture, Stephen Fabes  told with humour of the extraordinary effort required, from mountains to jungles, and from terrorists to teens with snowballs, together with the experiences he encountered along the way. The lecture was much appreciated by all attendees, presenting a unique combination of real adventure and an exciting trip, which made it a special event for the Members.  The number plus the quality of the questions, showed the level of interest.”

Rupert McCowan, Director Royal Geographical Society of Hong Kong.


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