Cycling against cancer – Chris Gruar on his charity trip from England to Australia
Chris Gruar began in March 2012 a charity cycling trip from England to Australia. He plans to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research. (AICR). The ride will take about 18 months and over 30,000 km trough more than 30 countries.
Discover his first impressions about his roadbike trip.
Why did you decided to do this roadbike charity trip? Why alone?
I decided to do my cycling expedition for the thrill of adventure and exploring the unknown. The bike provides such a unique was of seeing the world, and experience so many diverse landscapes and cultures in an independent way. I also raise money for The Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), who funds cancer research across the globe. I found it impossible to convince someone to save all their pennies and take two years out of work!
Why did you choose this route?
A lot of my route has been determined by the historical destinations throughout Europe (back home I teach history in secondary schools). Some examples include The Western Front in France, as well as much of the tragic twentieth century history throughout Eastern Europe. I also love to climb mountains on the saddle, and that has let me to some terrific scenery in the Norwegian fjords and The Alps. These two passions for history and mountains have led to a bizarre zigzagged route throughout Europe.
How much money did you raise so far? What is your goal?
I have raised about eight thousand pounds so far, and I departed with an initial goal of ten thousand. It was fantastic promoting my trip in communities where I taught in northern England before I departed six months ago.
How is going your trip so far? Did you meet some special people, who help you? Where are you sleeping?
In keep the budget low I stealth camp each night in the wild, and cook all my food using my petrol stove. So far the trip has been a fascinating mix of vibrant cities and stunning landscapes. I’ve passed through over twenty countries, totalling about twelve thousand kilometres on the odometer. Some highlights have included the mountain passes of Norway under the midnight sun; city hopping down The Baltic States; exploring the trenches of WW1, and labouring up the Alps twice in Slovenia and Austria.
In each country I find people generally very understanding and helpful. People are always happy to fill up my water bottles, and on many occasions locals have housed me for an evening or fed me fulsome meals. When I feel lonely and need a break from the bike, I use hospitality websites to stay with locals and explore the larger cities.
You can follow his journey with posts, photographs and videos on his blog: http://cycling4cancer.wordpress.com
If you want to help Chris and donate for the AICR: http://www.justgiving.com/chriscycling4cancer