He is dressed in a superhero costume complete with a cape. But our “superhero” is only human.
Nevertheless, he has big dreams and wants to inspire children all over the world.
William (or Will) Hodson aka Super Cycling Man, is British and a former primary school teacher on a special mission.
The 40-year-old Hodson, who has a degree in modern languages (German and Spanish), is cycling around the world to raise funds for a cause. His goals: Cycle 100,000km across seven continents, raise £100,000 (RM558,710) for charity and inspire 100,000 children with his positive message (with the hashtag #WeCanAllBeHeroes) through talks around the world.
He is on a five-year cycling adventure to raise funds to support The World Cancer Research Fund, Parkinson’s UK, World Bicycle Relief and Sustrans (a sustainable transport charity) but thinks he may take seven years to complete his journey. He has been cycling for the past two years.
“I’m also aiming to inspire everyone I meet along the way to get on their bikes and have an adventure,” he explained.
Hodson recently arrived in Kuala Lumpur and stayed with his host families for a week before travelling to Singapore. He gave a talk on his adventures at a cafe in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, which was attended by Reflective Saddle, an adventure bicycle touring community.
“I want to talk about Super Hi-Five: Go for your dreams, Don’t give up, Do small acts of kindness each day, Ride your bikes and Eat lots of bananas (or other fruits to stay healthy),” he enthused.
“You can be a hero by doing small deeds. It’s about teaching children to be kind.”
He also wanted to send out “a powerful message to children that the world is full of kind and helpful people unlike what is depicted on TV – that there are terrorists everywhere or horrible people who want to hurt you when you leave home”.
Dream come true
Four years ago, Hodson got the idea of being a superhero after reading a children’s book, Max, to his class of five-year old kids. (Max is about a little boy who does good deeds including saving a spider.)
Hodson also ended up with the idea for a superhero outfit and the name, Super Cycling Man.
“The message (in the book) is: We can all be heroes in small ways. The whole class made superhero costumes,” he said.
“Maybe in a few years, I will write a series of books about Super Cycling Man!”
He designed the superhero outfit and a company later helped him improve on the design. The outfit is made from lycra, a thin and fast-drying material. Hodson has two sets of the outfit for his journey.
After Asia, he will head to Australia and hopes to meet Bob Graham, the author of Max.
“He changed my life!” mused Hodson.
Presently, Hodson has a YouTube channel, SuperCyclingMan, and constantly updates fans by uploading new videos of his world tour. His official website is linked to “a super live tracker” to keep his supporters updated. His other social media tools are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
He is grateful to everyone for making his dream come true.
“I feel extremely lucky to be living my dream. If a man in a pair of superhero undies can do it, ANYONE can turn their dreams into reality,” quipped Hodson, who hails from Bewdley, a small riverside town three hours from London.
With no sponsor to fund his world trip, Hodson came up with his own ideas to raise money.
He laughed that he has become a travelling salesman, selling knick knacks such as Super Cycling Man postcards or bracelets with the word “Hello” in 15 languages to fund his trip.
When he was 15, he cycled with two friends across Britain.
After cycling to Spain, south of France and Istanbul, his confidence grew. He then decided he wanted to cycle around the world!
But it took him 20 years to save enough money and he quit his job to pursue his big dream.
“I sold my car and my motorbike and saved really hard every month for two years.
“My friends were happy for me and wanted me to go and do it. I was driving them crazy talking about it and not doing anything for 20 years,” said Hodson. “Starting the journey and bidding my parents goodbye was the hardest part of the journey,” said Hodson, who keeps in touch with his parents (who are in their 70s) and elder sister Liz, 42, through video calls.
He also sends home packages every few months – flags, stickers and shells collected on beaches – to his two nieces.
He recalled how tourists went crazy (with excitement) when he and unicyclist Ed Pratt met near the statue of chairman Mao in Chengdu, China.
They even mustered enough courage to ask the friendly Chinese policemen to have a go at their Segway vehicles.
There was also a kind Chinese man named Hon Chee who bought them a meal and hotel accomodation after meeting them for 30 seconds!
Hodson chuckled, recalling how each year, his best friends bet money on where he might be each Christmas.
“The first year, I thought I might be in Taj Mahal, India, but I was way back in Turkey,” he said.
But Hodson is in no hurry.
“It’s a lot of fun spending each day to do the things I love – cycling, travelling, meeting new people, learning new languages and eating new foods.
“Every day is like a new adventure.”
To catch up with Hodson, visit www.supercyclingman.com.