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WorldWideBikeRider in Tokyo

For the last week or so, Tokyo (and more specifically, the couch in my living room for a few nights) has been host to a round-the-world cyclist, Matt Blake, who arrived from England overland after an epic 14 month ride.

At the finish! From left to right:  me, Matt, Naoko, Bruce & Phil.  I was the last of our group to finish, but had a rosy feeling of satisfaction inside, and a look of being totally stuffed on the outside.

The above photo is Matt – in orange T-shirt – and the rest of our group at the finish line of the Tour de Utsukushigahara ride on 28 June.

マシュー・ブレイクのウェブサイトを探しの方はこちらへクリックしてご覧下さい。「ぜひ募金を」はこちらです。

Matt’s 14 month ride to date has covered around 26,000km from his home in Banbury, England, and he arrived in Tokyo nearly two weeks ago.  The purpose of his trip (other than to cycle around the world) is to raise money for SOS Children’s Villages, a charity supporting children around the world.

Jiji Press published a story (in Japanese) this week on Matt’s arrival in Tokyo and his fundraising, which is available here:  アフリカ支援、ペダルに願い込め=英人男性、自転車で世界一周-「ぜひ募金を」

Matt’s routeso far has taken him through central Europe to Turkey, along the Black Sea coast, through Georgia just before last year’s war, then into Kazakhstan, through China to Thailand and Indochina, then back north through eastern China, across Korea, and then by ferry to Shimonoseki in western Honshu, from where he cycled to Tokyo.  His route through Japan was without a map – I have no idea how he managed to cross Tokyo and make it to Phil’s place, where he was staying.  He stayed at my apartment a few nights as well.

There’s something about Matt’s trip that I really envy (even though I’m sure that a lot of the time it’s a really hard slog) – I think it’s the freedom of just getting on your bike and heading down the road.  But he needs to be completely self reliant, doing his own repairs and navigation.  Most nights he camps out – when loaded up, his bike weighs around 90kg with all his gear.

Matt came with us on the weekend up to Matsumoto for the Tour de Utsukushikuhara, a hill climb cycle race that I thought was tough.  However, after 14 months in the saddle, even on a borrowed racer bike and a broken cleat, Matt shot up the mountain like a rocket.

This afternoon, Matt was frantically searching Tokyo bike shops for a new gear hub for his bike, and as I type this, he’s probably still pedalling out in the dark to Narita Airport to catch a flight to Los Angeles first thing in the morning.  The second stage of his worldwide bike ride will be from the top of Alaska to Tiera del Fuego.  He can’t even catch the train out to the airport because his bike is loaded with all his gear!

All this is probably worth a donation to his charity.  He’s raising money for a children’s orphanage in Zambia, where he intends to visit during his third leg of his ride from Cape Town back to England.  His donations page is here:  http://www.justgiving.com/projectbike/

For regular updates, Matt writes a montly post for his local newspaper back in England, the Banbury Guardian.

The Jiji Press story (link above) been picked up by the below news services (all in Japanese):

I know that Matt had another interview with Asashi Shimbun, so I hope that there will be a link to post to that shortly.

Matt hopes to be home for Christmas 2011, so let’s watch his progress on www.worldwidebikeride.com.

2 Comments

  1. WorldWideBikeRider in Tokyo | Charity Fundraising Idea :: charity | fundraising | fundraising idea | fundraisers says:

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  2. David says:

    Update

    Matt has posted about his ride through Japan on his website: http://bit.ly/13ikpj

    He’s also written an article for his local newspaper (Banbury Today) about the race: http://bit.ly/44e9wu

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