Big Issue readers have gone above and beyond for vendors since the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a 15-week spell off the streets. Few have gone quite so far as Jacob Hill-Gowing.
The art director made the most of lockdown to cycle the 2,200-mile distance of the Tour de France on an exercise bike in his flat in a challenge he cheekily dubbed Le Tour de Flat.
The mammoth challenge, which raised more than £16,500 for our charitable arm The Big Issue Foundation, was inspired by London Big Issue vendor Stevie Taylor. He returned to his pitch on Monday outside Pret on Old Street near to where Jacob works and where the pair struck up a strong friendship.
Tour de France? ????????????
How about Tour de Flat! ????????
Jacob cycled the gruelling 3500km distance on his indoor bike to support @BigIssue street vendors ????️
— JustGiving (@JustGiving) June 26, 2020
The Big Issue reunited Stevie and Jacob following the end of the challenge in May and the pair have been swapping texts ever since, in anticipation of a face-to-face reunion. That was boost for Stevie who spoke of grappling with the boredom of lockdown.
But Stevie told The Big Issue that the reunion is on hold for now as he returned to work this week.