James Davenport is cycling around the world. I got in touch to find out more about it. We talk about his route, charities he's supporting and sleeping rough.
Hey James. You’re planning on cycling around the globe, simply incredible! Could you tell us a little more about it and why you’re doing it?
Hey Ben, yeah of course, thanks for asking!!!
It's something I first thought of doing in 2012, after spending 3 months living and working in Cambodia - I completely fell in love with the people and the country of Cambodia, yet on a daily basis was shown the issues plaguing the country, ranging from child labour all the way up to prostitution and sexual tourism/exploitation.
At the time, the issues were extremely evident and after speaking with my local friends, I was very keen to help any which way I could! At the same time, I was wanting to get my permanent residency for Australia and celebrate by "simply" cycling from Sydney to London and thought combining the two would be a great way to raise some money for a good cause.
However, I had a chance meeting with a man called James (or Captain) Ketchell who has summited everest, rowed the atlantic and cycled the globe - a pretty impressive fella! I was speaking to him about the feasibility and logistics behind my proposed trip and he looked at me pan faced and said "if you're going to cycle from Sydney to London, you might as well do the whole thing!" - Pardon? "You might as well cycle around the world!". Somewhat in shock and awe of his suggestion, I responded "Hmmm, yeah, why not!?!?"
So in its simplest form, I am intending on cycling around the world, solo, self-assisted and 100% self funded!!!! The intention of the ride will be to raise sufficient money that I can help in setting up a much needed sports charity, in rural Cambodia, in order to help give both the children and country "A Sporting Chance" or a better future!
Tell us some more about the charity you’re supporting and ¿Por Que No?
The idea behind the charity "A Sporting Chance For All", is to complement and develop the basic half day education that the children currently receive, by working in conjunction with the school, but using sport as the hook to interest and engage them.
It will aim to help to teach the children English, sexual health and general well being, with the thought to develop this teaching into sustainable/green tourism in the future - Something which could prove to develop the tourism industry within the country, without having a detrimental impact or effect on the country or environment itself.
Having gained a degree in Sport and Exercise Science (JUST!), as well as being a keen sportsman and ex-sports coach myself, I believe sport to be an incredibly important tool in developing, teaching and engaging children, as well as being a great leveller and a fun, healthy activity for the children to participate in. At present, it is something they have limited access to, specially when referring to professional sports coaching and facilities.
The charity will always look to develop a self-sustaining model, whereby we can qualify the children as sports coaches themselves, in order that they can be utilised within the charity itself, so that in the future the charity can be run by Cambodians, for Cambodians.
On a similar note, ¿Por Qué No? (www.porqueno.org) is a social enterprise and clothing label which has developed over a similar time to the ride. Whilst mates and I stayed in a hostel in Phnom Penh, the owner Alex (who was a hero!!!) welcomed us into his hostel and his family so much so, we didn't leave for over a week! His response to EVERYTHING was "Why Naaaaaaaat!", to the point that "Why Naaaaaaaat!" became both an integral part of our language and our mindset!
Whilst in South in America this evolved into ¿Por Qué No? which was always greeted by the locals with a grin or a chuckle! At which stage an idea was developing.
I have recently launched the website www.porqueno.org with a number of garments and plan on adding more soon!
100% of ALL PROCEEDS made through the site shall go to helping set up and then sustaining the charity!
The end goal for the clothing label, is to put all manufacturing and production through fair trade factories within the country, meaning all production, profit and labour shall support the country, whilst ALL PROCEEDS shall go to supporting the charity! At least that's the dream!!!!!
Have you got your route planned? Which cities are you excited to visit? When do you hope to complete your adventure?
As for the route, I have a rough idea of which countries I'll be entering (to a degree), but to be honest the route itself is pretty open ended. I think the beauty of a trip like this is the freedom to just follow your fancy, the weather and the local advice or information you may pick up on the road!
I do know however, that the idea will be to start from my parents house in Norwich, before cycling to Felixstowe to catch a ferry across to the hook of Holland, before zig-zaging my way down through Europe.
Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, then fly up to Iceland, before heading Stateside and hopefully cycling across America and into Burning Man Festival, before heading south through Mexico.
My route from here is then pretty undecided! I would love to be in Rio for carnival and I have to enter Australia before my 32nd birthday in March next year in order to utilise my 2nd year Working Visa, other than that I'm pretty open, as is my route back from Australia, I have saved around £12,000 and I am hoping that I can budget that to last me around two years, I hope!!!!
To be honest I have been too busy leading into the trip, that I haven't really allowed myself much time to think about what excites me, from the places, countries, cities or people. It's also something I have dreamt about for so long, that until I'm sat in the saddle a thousand miles from home, I don't want to count my chickens, in the meantime I'm just happy to go with the flow and see where it takes me!
Do you plan to sleep rough on roadsides? Or will you try and find accommodation along the way?
I definitely intend on sleeping rough!!! Its half the fun of it, camping! I'm very fortunate to be supported by Vango on my trip, who have a 50 year heritage and are well trusted and respected by outdoor enthusiasts, so I intend on putting their equipment through its paces and saving myself some pennies along the way, although, from time to time I am hoping to also utilise Couchsurfing and Warmshowers (basically Couchsurfing, but for cyclists), as well as the odd good samaritan, for some home comforts, if they're willing to give refuge to a disheveled, bearded, smelly cyclist - so I'm not holding out much hope!!!!
You’re taking some Twin Litelok bike locks with you! We’re very excited that Liteloks will visit such far flung places. How do you intend to carry them on your bike?
Bike security is of paramount importance to me whilst on the trip, obviously the bicycle is going to be my life, as well as my transport, so I'm extremely thankful for the backing and support of Litelok, it really means a lot!
How I go about securing the locks to my bike is going to be a question for once I'm set ready to roll! With limited space, I feel everyday will be like a game of tetris, until I settle into a routine, but for the time being, I've simply been attaching them to the frame of the bike with the velcro straps provided, which has been working great, so I don't see why this would need to change!
What bicycle are you taking with you? And have you done much training in preparation for your travels?
Whilst on the ride I shall be riding 'The Light Blue - Darwin', which is a beautiful steel steed, designed specifically for tour cycling and as the name may suggest some global touring at that. I met the guys from 'The Light Blue' a couple of years back when it was all still just a fledgling idea, but we stayed in contact and they have been a huge help and support leading into the ride, I really couldn't thank them enough and the bike "The Black Beagle" as I have dubbed her is an absolute beast, I can't wait to set sail on her, so to speak!
As to the training, let’s just say maybe not quite as much as I would've liked to!!! But as a one man and his dog operation, it’s genuinely been hard to find the time between work, setting up the clothing, the ride and everything that goes with it. All things being well, 6 months down the road, when I've put a few thousand miles through the bike, I may be in a position I'm ready to set off!!!! Hahaha!!! I am naturally quite a fit lad, so I'm hoping my fitness will just develop whilst in the saddle!
How can people follow your journey?
For regular updates about my trip, where I am and what's been going on, people can check out my website - www.abeardabikeandabucketlist.com - which is a bit of a mouth full, but I'm hoping once heard, it'll be hard to forget - from there, there are links to all my social media, but I'll list them below as well:
Facebook - abeardabikeandabucketlist
Instagram - @abeardabikeandabucketlist
Twitter - @abeardabikeand_
Youtube - To follow soon!