Are you aged between 18 and 25 with a yearning to explore the world on two wheels for at least six months? If so, a new grant launched in the UK this week could help you realise your dreams.
The Janapar Grant is the brainchild of bike rider and travel writer Tom Allen, who during his early 20s undertook a journey that saw him ride through 32 countries on three continents.
Deriving its name for the Armenian word for ‘journey,’ ‘way’ or ‘road’ – Armenia is one of the countries Allen cycled in – the grant is not a financial one, but instead sees companies donate equipment and mentors their expertise, all free of charge.
“The purpose of the Janapar Grant is to help young people begin a ‘rite-of-passage’-style journey, at a time in their lives when it will benefit them most, and with the fewest possible strings attached,” says Allen.
“The journey changed my life immeasurably and in ways I could never have imagined. On returning, I found many others who’d made similar trips.
“They’d all benefited from a new perspective on the world, a maturing of character as a result of the challenges overcome, and a heightened appreciation of what’s possible in life.
“With this grant, we hope to evangelise these benefits to the next generation of young people in the UK,” he added.
Involved in the initiative, which has been set up as a charity, are Oxford Bike Works, which will donate an expedition bicycle, cycling luggage firm Carradice, and clothing company Polaris Bikewear.
Besides Allen, mentors will include adventurers and round-the-world cycling couple Laura and Tim Moss, film maker Leon McCarron, who has cycled 14,000 miles from New York to Hong Kong, and Emily Chappell, the former London bicycle courier who in 2012 was named Travel Blogger of the Year for her account of her ride from the UK to Japan and whose book What Goes Around was published last month.
She said: “I'm really excited that this grant will encourage young people to explore the world by bicycle, and to have some of the same experiences that have given me so much.”
Applications for the grant open later this month and the winner will be announced early in May. More information can be found on the Janapar Grant website.
Janapar, by the way, was also the name of the film that followed Allen on his three-and-a-half year journey round the world, during which he fell in love and returned home with a wife.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.