Por Que No?
Please excuse my horrendous varicose vein, Golum hooves!
This was our team when we started, as well as being mine and Rishi's 18 month travelling anniversary and team/family day!
Now why am I wanting to do such a stupid thing? Por Que No? (why not) a tattoo I recently got, whilst on a family holiday in Spain, to the joy of both my parents.
I have wanted to get into the charity sector for some time and Cambodia was a country and nation which stole my heart a couple of years back, when I was fortunate enough to spend three months there working.
I cannot claim I was there to make a difference, volunteering or doing anything of any worth, I was working in a beach bar, for an amazing family, getting free food, drink and accommodation - the holy grail to a couple of broke backpackers.
However it did allow me, first hand, to see a darkside to the country I fell in love with, I saw real problems, and problems that I felt needed addressing - namely child labour, prostitution, sex tourism, a lack in sex education and a lack in sports facilities or coaching. I know these problems are not unique to Cambodia, and you may argue that there are other countries in the developing world which are worse affected, however these countries have not touched my heart as Cambodia has.
Fortunately whilst I was there, I was able to talk in depth with Dan (Virak Vung), my Cambodian manager & good friend, about the problems that faced the country; what could be done in order to help; where it was needed most and how it could be implemented.
Another BIG dream of mine, at the time, was to gain sponsorship and then citizenship into Australia, following this I hoped to celebrate by cycling back to the UK raising money for a good cause along the way -
1. Saving money on a flight.
2. An amazing way to see half of the world.
3. What an incredible story, to be able to tell your nephews.
To date this has sadly not materialised, however I was fortunate enough, that it lead me to meet Captain Ketchell, a fascinating gent, who I'm hoping may write a little a piece on here at some stage (a link to his site is at the bottom of this page).
He's a man who has completed, what has been dubbed the ultimate Triathlon and with good reason, he's the first man to have rowed the Atlantic, summited Everest and cycled round the world.
When we were chatting, I mentioned to him, my idea of cycling home from Australia and the feasibility, as well as the challenges I'd face, he said "Why don't you just do the whole thing?" "que?" - he looked me square in the face and said "mate if you're going to cycle from Sydney to London, you'd might as well just go round the world........" something which prior to our meeting, hadn't even crossed my mind.
However we had met, we had talked and now....... Well now, a beautiful idea was beginning to form in the front of my brain, with flashing lights, neon signs, foam pointing fingers - The Works.
"Cycle around the world, to raise sufficient money to set up a charity in Cambodia, yes, I can use the year to grow my beard as well (a yeard - although something I have subsequently ticked off my bucket list), I wonder what else I can tick off the old bucket list whilst on route?"
Some snazzy website software and here we are..........
With over 50 years of heritage behind them, Vangos equipment is specifically designed to enhance outdoor experiences and encourage lasting memories, whilst also invoking the Spirit of Adventure!!! Therefore, the perfect partners for an around-the-world bicycle challenge, so I'm very pleased to have their backing!
The most fundamental bit of kit on an around the world cycle challenge - clearly the bicycle! I am overjoyed and relieved to have the backing and support of The Light Blue on my challenge. This prestigious Cambridge bicycle company, first established in 1895, have a fine heritage and a wealth of knowledge and stunning bikes, be sure to check them out!
Trangia, a name synonymous with quality, ingenuity and robustness, in fact, the quality of their design is so much so, that since the outdoor camping stoves inception and creation in the 1950'S, it has barely changed at all - that can only be a good thing! Looking forward to putting it to the test on the road.
Having the backing and support of one of the worlds most tried, tested and approved pannier companies can only be a good thing!!! And knowing that ALL my worldy belongings are going to be carried safe and secure whilst on the bike gives me great piece of mind!!! If you require a waterproof bag for anything from Kayaking to photography, be sure to check them out!
Tubus, a company so good at what they do, they require and use absolutely NO social media!!! To say they are still the most used bike rack system in the globe, speaks volumes for the capability and quality of their products! So I'm really chuffed to have their support on my ride and this challenge!
Security whilst on my ride is going to be ABSOLUTELY PARAMOUNT! Its fair to say I'm going to require something fairly substantial to lock my pride and joy "The Black Beagle", but, with weight being a real concern I need something light! Enter, Litelok - "The world's lightest gold security flexible bike lock" - make sure to check them out!
At this point in time, I am lucky to say that the great guys at 'The Gym', have sponsored me and are allowing me to use their fantastic facilities across the country, free of charge.
Training obviously being a very important part in the build up to the event!
I am very happy and fortunate to say, that I am now part of the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK, as run by the GLL Sport Foundation. It has been set up, in order to help athletes reach their potential and achieve sporting success.
Regardless of whether you use your bike to commute, adventure or solely for leisure purposes, I would implore you to see Michael Crebbin - Cycle Physio - I've left his clinic on a bike that not only fits like a dream, but already, averages 2-3 miles an hour quicker! He's also given me the confidence, that even with my dodgy limbs, this challenge is achievable - So thank you so much for your time and knowledge! Really means a lot man!
Whilst on a journey, which should take me through a great number of countries, continents and across a great number of borders, I am very pleased and relieved to have the backing and support of The Visa Machine, if you require any information or Visa's for trips, give them a look!
If you're looking for a great hat, for a great adventure, you needn't look any further. Lovingly handcrafted, stitched and sewn by Brazilian villagers in the Amazonas region of the country. Each hat is completely unique, made using recycled tarpaulin from trucks, which are used for moving goods around the country - make sure to check them out and use the discount code "BBBucket" for 10% off EVERYTHING they sell!!!
Since Swagger and Jacks birth and creation in Norwich, I have been a regular patron, always utilising their services when I'm back in the homelands and continuously rallying their products, which are amongst the best I've ever used on my beard, their beard oil and beard shampoo are simply fantastic! So its a great honour to have their backing and support on the ride, make sure to check them out!
Support can come from the strangest of places, and I am happy to say, one of those places is my good friend and accountant Peter Ward, who has agreed to do my books for me this year and for the duration of the trip, which is a massive help, thanks a lot - go and check him out for all of you financial requirements!
Please take the time to check out and support www.pedalforpurpose.org, these two beautiful souls, crazy cats and good friends are cycling from Lamu Yoga Festival, Kenya, to Cape Town, South Africa. They intend to raise funds for a number of foundations and charities within the countries they travel through, as well as raising funds to buy and distribute solar aid lanterns to schools, hospitals, care homes & institutes in rural communities.