UK's cycling money man ditches capitalism after long Brazil ride

Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:14pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

MANAUS Brazil (Reuters) - London accountant Andy Smith used to make good money in the City but says he is giving up on full-blown capitalism after a five-month bicycle ride through Brazil opened his eyes to life's real riches.

The lean and heavily tanned 35-year-old stood in the baking heat outside the Amazonia arena in Manaus on Thursday after cycling almost 8,000 km (5,000 miles) for charity since starting in the southern city of Porto Alegre in January.

"I came here to find some inspiration ... and when I go back I need to find something different," he told Reuters, saying he wanted to perhaps work for "a social enterprise, a business that's trying to make the world a better place somehow."

He added: "At least it's not just shuffling money around from shareholders to suppliers to whatever which is what I've been doing for years and doesn't inspire me."

The die hard fan of the England national soccer team quit his job last September to prepare for the trip.

Smith, sporting a large black beard, said he wanted to explore Brazil as "as a bit more enlightened foreigner rather than (someone) just thinking of the stereotypes of half naked people dancing samba on the beach".

He added: "This country is so much more, it's so diverse, and I'm just delighted to have seen it."

One highlight was touring the famed Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Another was visiting a couple of schools at the start of the trip.   Continued...

London accountant Andy Smith poses in front of Arena da Amazonia stadium where England and Italy will play for their first match of the World Cup, June 13,  2014. REUTERS/Andres Stapff