After what seems like an eternity spent on its dusty roads, our round-the-world charity cycling hero James Bowthorpe has finally left Australia and has just arrived in Auckland, New Zealand.
James has cycled round the coast of the great continent, from Perth in the west to Brisbane in the east, and his trip seemed to be fairly incident-free until he was levelled by a stray wombat, receiving a few cuts and bruises. His rear brake lever snapped, requiring a repair when he reached Sydney.
While the bike was being repaired James rested awhile and was pleased to find out that a new rig-out of clothes was waiting for him. He set off again, Tweeting that being able to apply a new back brake was “less like a rudimentary ejector seat now.”
En route to Brisbane, James seemed to be taking a fair few comments from passing cars. Someone shouted out, “buy a car, you tart!” and others actually hurled objects at him.
However, James recalled that not everyone across the world was so unfriendly. He posted the following thoughts:
“Cycling along in Turkey lots of people will be friendly from their cars, asking you where you’re from or what your name is. I have just realised that this is not hilarious, by any stretch, but it works for me. Anyway, one such friendly soul with arms outstretched, cried out to me, “What’s my name!?” I’m pretty sure he got one word wrong there, but as it happened quite swiftly I just shouted back, sort of honestly, “I don’t know!” The car carried on, its passenger perhaps struggling with having briefly met someone who didn’t know their own name.
“I can play this back over and over and still get a laugh (from myself). Then I start to wonder maybe he DIDN’T know what his name was, still doesn’t, and just gets driven around asking people. This makes me feel less bad about saying, “I don’t know”, but it’s not very likely is it?”
James was hoping to match the daily distances covered by the Tour de France riders, but as he wasn’t sure what they were, he just continued to match his personal target. Unfortunately he missed his scheduled flight from Brisbane but caught the next available one and is now in New Zealand, where wombats and, hopefully, abusive comments, are fewer.
James is doing this ride to raise money and awareness for research into Parkinson's disease. The total raised so far is £41,587.38 and he is 3 per cent of the way towards his goal of raising £1.8m. If you want to support James in his quest you can donate at his site www.globecycle.org, you can also follow his progress via live GPS updates at www.whereintheworldisjames.com (James has attached lots of pictures to the route too so that it is very much more than a line on a map) and he also has his own video channel on Youtube.