A 23-year-old man from Thame is preparing to cycle around the world in under 10 months.
Alex Clark will set off from his home town on July 22, taking in Europe, the Middle East, India, Australia and the United States, before heading home after 289 days of travel.
He said: “The motivations behind the concept of this expedition can be put down to an addiction to pushing my body to the limit, the need for a challenge and ambition to support two charities.
“One key challenge that I seem to have overcome was to convince my family that this is a good idea.” He aims to raise £10,000 on the expedition for the Jack O’Donnell Foundation, which helps fulfil the sporting potential of children, and Sponsor a Gambian Child. Jack was a fellow pupil at Lord Williams’s School.
Sponsor a Gambian Child is a charity run by a teacher from the school and Alex visited The Gambia in 2010 to see first hand how much of a difference even £500 would make.
Alex will carry around 8kg of kit, setting up camp along the way, and set off through France, heading across Europe to Trieste. Stage 2 will see him pedal 6,240km from Trieste to Mumbai, then through Bangladesh and Burma, which he believes will be some of the most challenging navigation on the whole trip. Next will include Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and several islands in Indonesia.
Alex said: “On this leg, I hope to achieve a new level of physical strength that will protect me from fatigue for the rest of the trip.”
Flying to Perth from Bali, Alex will then begin what he considers the most dangerous part of the journey. Following the south coast of Australia from Perth to Sydney will mean 5,000km with the deserted areas making up roughly half of that.
Temperatures will reach 45 degrees Celsius and there will be hundreds of miles where human contact is not possible. A tour of New Zealand will be followed by a flight to San Diego and the start of a route up the west coast of the United States heading to Vancouver in Canada, with Alex averaging 160km per day at this point.
He’ll then travel 5,500km across the northern states to reach New York, with a flight to Lisbon in Portugal and a route through Spain and France to home.
Alex will ensure he cycles through Madrid as that is the antipodal point to an area just above Wellington on the Northern Island of New Zealand that he will also pass through. These antipodal points are necessary for the trip to be classed as an official circumnavigation of the globe.
Alex, who graduated from Royal Holloway in 2016 after studying politics, added: “My physical experience of long term endurance lies in the work I do towards triathlon events. The build-up to these races requires many months of daily training, whether that is active physical training or whether it is merely eating the right things and stretching.
“I am currently building up my training for Ironman 70.3 in Marbella – I hope to slice 45 minutes off my previous Ironman 70.3 time from St Polten, Austria. Currently, my training is focussed on this, but from June and July onwards I will be focussing my energy on longer stints behind the handlebars. I have also planned to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats as a warm up ride and this will help me test equipment, strategy etc. Training at the moment lies around 12-14 hours per week - when the training focuses on endurance cycling alone it will move to 20+ hours a week I believe.
“Cycling, for me, is the best sport in the world and is a key reason for me wanting to take on this challenge.
“The freedom that a bicycle gives you is a freedom like no other. Another dream of mine is to attain my pro-triathlete card before the age of 27 – when I return from this adventure my sights will turn to this.”
Alex works for Energy Generators who are based in Kimblewick. He added: “They have been fantastically supportive of the dream and have provided some generous sponsorship, for which I am very grateful.”
Once back in the UK, he plans to write a book about the journey, with anecdotes of the trip, a story of his adventure.
If you want to support Alex, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org