Sheffield graduate starts round the world charity ride
A University of Sheffield graduate left home this week (30 August 2011) to embark on a round the world bicycle ride to help raise money for charity.
James Hirst, a former geography student who graduated from the University in 2008, hopes to complete the trip which he has called The Ride Round to raise £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Keeping a blog tracking his every move, James will arrive in Sheffield later today (2 September 2011) before peddling through mainland Europe and across the Middle East.
Cycling through Syria and Iran then heading towards China, the 24 year old will continue his journey through Malaysia, then travel south to Australia and New Zealand, before making the challenging trip to South America.
Once he arrives in Chile, James will then head north visiting countries such as Peru, Columbia and Mexico before eventually arriving in the US and Canada.
To mark the final stage of the trip, he will then cycle from Spain through France and then finally crossing the English Channel to arrive back in the UK.
Setting off on his journey, James said: "Throughout my time on the road I will be raising funds and awareness of Macmillan Cancer Support. My mother has been a nurse for several years with the majority of that time spent working in oncology. Every day she sees the sterling work that Macmillan nurses and other staff do in supporting people whose lives have been affected by cancer. This trip will hopefully raise funds to help them carry on with their amazing work.
Aside from James' desire to raise money for charity, part of his motivation is to experience the different cultures that the world has to offer.
"After graduating from university and starting a career in the civil service, I quickly realised I had unfinished business in seeing the world, something which an annual two week holiday would never satisfy."
"In 2007 I was cycling along a perfectly flat, traffic free road with a warm sun setting behind a palm fringed lagoon, when a thought came to mind 'This cycling lark is good fun. Maybe I should go on a long ride one day, like around the world.'
"Weeks and months after that initial thought and endless hours of staring at maps in solitude and coming up with routes, I handed in my resignation letter and got ready to depart."
Although he has planned a preliminary route which can be followed on his website, James was aware of the challenges ahead, and decided to seek professional advice.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio Tees, he had the opportunity to seek advice from Mark Beaumont, an adventurer who held the speed record for cycling around the world in 2008.
James said: "I asked Mark some questions about wild camping and travelling in Iran. He gave me some really useful advice that I'll put to good use in the very near future."
Notes for Editors: To follow James' progress throughout The Ride Round or make a donation please visit:
The Ride Round
The Ride Round is an entirely self funded trip. James is paying for all costs of living, equipment etc. before and during the ride. Every single donation goes directly to benefit the work of Macmillan Cancer Support.
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