Andrew Crompton will spend an incredible eight months in the saddle as he pedals the 8,500 miles to Australia.
His route will take him through 14 countries across three continents and pass through 10 time-zones before his scheduled arrival in the Australian state of Victoria in April 2023.
This unbelievable effort is all to raise money for two causes which help young people in Greater Manchester - and Andrew is hoping his exertions on two wheels will bring in the huge sum of half a million pounds.
A marathon cycling effort from Manchester to Melbourne
Andrew, 57, is taking on the colossal challenge of cycling from Manchester to Melbourne as he contemplates retirement from his career as an insurance broker with his business Watson Laurie on St George’s Road, which he set up in 1988.
He will depart Greater Manchester from his home town of Bolton on 29 July before pedalling down to London, over the channel to France and then across Europe through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania before arriving in Turkey by the end of September.
He will then embark on a two-month ride across Turkey and Iran before at the end of November he flies from Iran to India where he will spend seven weeks, including Christmas, cycling from Mumbai to Chennai through the vast landscapes of the Deccan Plateau.
From Chennai it’s a flight to Bangkok for a three-week ride in sweltering heat and humidity through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, before a final flight in early February 2023 to Cairns in northernmost Queensland.
After touching down on Australian soil the final stage of Andrew’s epic adventure will be a two-month journey down the entire length of Australia’s eastern coast, arriving at the finishing line in Melbourne in early April if everything goes to plan.
Along the way Andrew will have to cope with the sheer exhaustion that comes from cycling day in and day out in both mercury-busting heat and the freezing cold. He could also face insect bites, long delays at check-points and borders and the loneliness that comes from being away from home for months on end.
His gruelling schedule involves pedalling between 60 and 65 miles each day on the bike, with two rest days per week built into the schedule.
Long-time friend John Mills will drive a support vehicle along the route to support Andrew while another friend, Marcia Rock, will be sorting out all the logistics from the UK.
All this is even more impressive when it is considered that although Andrew regularly rides his bike to keep fit this will be the first time he has ever taken on such an endurance challenge.
Why is Andrew taking on this extraordinary challenge?
He first learned about the importance of unpaid family carers when a friend became the primary carer for his parents, making him realise how little support and recognition there is for people making huge sacrifices to look after family members. Andrew’s company, Watson Laurie, has been supporting Carers Trust ever since.
He was then introduced to the work of Bolton Lads and Girls Club in 2000, when he agreed to become a mentor. The club provides a huge range of activities and support for more than 4,000 youngsters in Bolton, almost nine in 10 of whom live in the borough’s five most deprived wards.
Andrew has set himself the huge fund-raising target of £500,000 and you can donate by going to the JustGiving page here.
What has Andrew said about his fund-raising challenge?
Andrew said: “I reached a point where I wanted to adopt a much slower pace in life and focusing on this challenge is really helping me make that transition mentally whilst also keeping me physically fit.
”I’m also determined to raise as much money as humanly possible for two fantastic charities that I’ve supported for a long time and which are close to my heart, Carers Trust and the Bolton Lads and Girls Club. I had no idea of how many deprived kids there were in my home town of Bolton and some of their stories were, and still are, quite shocking and incredibly moving.
“It’s going to be a hard slog at times. But it’ll also be an unbelievable adventure. I’m really looking forward to visiting incredible places, meeting wonderful people and trying out some of the incredible food along the way.
“As if that isn’t motivating enough, I’ll be spurred on every wheel turn of the way by the fact that I’m raising money to benefit unpaid carers and vulnerable children , I just hope my knees hold out!”