Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year from Cycling South America! Here’s to a successful (and world-record setting) 2012..!

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The Berghaus Adventure Challenge – vote for me!

Some great news – I’ve been shortlisted for this month’s Berghaus Adventure Challenge! It now goes down to a public vote and it would be fantastic if you would consider lending me your support; the winner will walk away with a cool £1000 in cash and £1000 worth of gear to go towards the expedition so it’ll really help me become the first person to cycle the circumference of South America.

In order to vote just click here; it only takes a moment and even if I’m not successful it still offers a great opportunity to promote the Cycling South America project…

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The Berghaus Adventure Challenge

Another day, another application for a travel bursary. This time it’s the Berghaus Adventure Challenge, a competition which “seeks to support individuals and teams whose objectives reflect the spirit of adventure that is at the heart of Berghaus”. More prosaically this means a cool £1000 in cash and another £1000 worth of gear, which would really help to get the Cycling South America project off the road – or rather, on it.

If I somehow make it to the shortlist it comes down to a public vote. I need say no more; you’ll know what to do..!

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The Polartec® Challenge

I’ve just submitted Cycling South America as an entry for next year’s Polartec® Challenge, an international competition that “supports the spirit and practice of outdoor adventure” by offering funding to “frugal, low impact teams who respect the local culture and environment and serve as role models to outdoor enthusiasts worldwide”.

Polartec® might be associated more with more “outdoorsy” activities – indeed, this year’s winners are mainly climbers and the like – but there’s a possibility that they’ll consider an (amateur) expedition such as this so it’s worth a punt. Obviously if I get anywhere you’ll be the first to know!

Oh, and if you’re also considering applying you’ll need to be quick as the deadline is at the end of this month…

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I’m off to Transnistria..!

Okay, so it doesn’t have a great deal to do with Cycling South America but I thought this might still be of interest. I’ve just found out that I’m one of the lucky winners of Wanderlust’s brilliant 25 Trips for Under £250, a competition which invites proposals for a budget adventure starting and ending in the UK. Those deemed the most imaginative will have their trip paid for and – perhaps even better – there’ll be the opportunity for the journey to feature in an issue of the magazine next year.

My idea is to visit Transnistria, a small de facto but internationally unrecognised state on Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine. Transnistria is chiefly famous for existing as if the Soviet Union never disappeared, with Hammer and Sickle emblems and public monuments to communist heroes aplenty. It should make for a fascinating visit.

I’m not going until January – I’ll be flying to Bucharest the day after attending The Outdoors Show – but I’m already really looking forward to it. No doubt you’ll hear all about it when I get back..!

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The Outdoors Show

As part of ongoing fundraising efforts I’ll be attending The Outdoors Show at London’s ExCel Centre on Saturday 14th January 2012, where I’ll be handing out booklets to the various exhibitors and anyone and everyone else who expresses an interest in Cycling South America. Hopefully it’ll help raise both the profile of the expedition and encourage individuals and organisations to take on a sponsorship role.

So if you’re planning on going to the Show and see a slightly frazzled looking fellow desperately off-loading packs to passers-by please do come say hello..!

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Setting a World Record

A couple of months ago I submitted a request to Guinness World Records to find out if anyone had circumnavigated South America by bicycle before, and if so whether a record had been set in the process. I’ve come across a lot of individuals who have cycled vast distances in the Americas but none that has ever completed this particular journey.

It’s important in two ways, both of them to do with sponsors. It’s fair to say that the expedition will be a much more attractive prospect if it can be demonstrated that this really is the first time a circumnavigation has been undertaken, and until it is confirmed I can’t state with real confidence that this is indeed a first either.

The other benefit is the association with GWR; setting a record is simply a brilliant way to promote products. Whilst it’s true to say that I would feel immensely proud to set a World Record I’m more worried at this stage by the prospect of raising enough funds to actually complete the trip.

I’ve recently received a response from GWR and the news is mixed; the closest current category they can find is the “fastest time to cycle the length of South America“, set by Italian Giampietro Marion in 2000. Clearly this isn’t quite what I’m hoping to do so I’ve sent an email back asking if it’s possible to create a new record. When I’ve heard back I’ll post the news here…

Oh, and he did it in 59 days, in case you’re wondering…

Update 07/11/2011:
I’ve had a response from GWR stating they’ll consider my submission, so fingers crossed. In reference to the GWR logo in this post I’ve also been advised to “be so kind and take it down” despite the fact that it, er, promotes their own organisation. Apparently if I want to keep it on here it’ll set me back a hefty £375, which is equivalent to a fortnight’s pay on my current meagre wage. So down it goes in favour of a neutral picture – biting the hand that feeds and all that…

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