AN Oxfordshire cyclist is gearing up for a gruelling bike ride around the world to raise money for two local charities.
Alex Clark, 23, is aiming to complete the 22,000-mile cycle challenge in under 10 months with the global circumnavigation taking him through some of the world’s toughest terrain including the mountains of the Middle East, the jungles of Myanmar and the searing heat of the Australian desert.
The politics graduate is hoping to raise £10,000 for Thame-based charities the Jack O’Donnell Foundation and Sponsor a Gambian Child.
Setting off from his home in Thame on July 22 the journey will see the intrepid rider carry all his own equipment including a tent for camping, and is expected to take 289 days.
Experienced triathlete Mr Clark said he committed to the challenge through a desire to push his body to the limits, but admitted that raising vital funds for the charities provided the real motivation.
He said: “I just had a thirst for a bigger challenge.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been massively challenged so far in my life – school and university were their own challenges but I just needed something different and so I decided on the round-the-world trip.
“A key motivation for doing this, though, is to raise £10,000 for the two charities: they’ve both got a local connection and both are really close to my heart.”
The Jack O’Donnell Foundation helps fulfil the sporting ambitions of children in memory of the 15-year-old who was at Lord Williams’ School at the same time as Mr Clark.
Sponsor a Gambian Child is run by a teacher at the school with Mr Clark saying a visit to Gambia in 2010 to meet the local children was a ‘life-changing’ moment.
He is now preparing to ride from Lands’ End to John O’Groats as a warm-up for his epic journey next month.
For more information visit prestigeworldride.org/thejourney