Global adventure to raise funds for charity
“Slow again, falling behind with Europe keeping us well and truly occupied. Just crossed into Italy yesterday, with less than two months until it’s all over…. Picture perfect white buildings contrasted with the brightest of blues, five coastal campsites, cheap red wine, pina coladas and some of the best riding of the trip.”
So reports a recent posting on the blog of Arthur and Freddie Gillies who with two friends, Sean Wakely and Timmy Chen, are cycling from Bali to London to raise funds at a rate of $1 for every kilometre travelled for the Leukemia and Blood Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.
They have Tararua connections, the grandsons of Harry and Edna Walker formerly of Mangahao where their mum Jacqui Walker and uncle Simon Walker were raised.
Their dad Christopher Gillies, Jacqui and the boys lived in Auckland where they attended Auckland University. Their interest in travel may have been kindled by Christopher and Jacqui’s cycle tour of India in 1987.
From suffering the pains of giardia for two weeks to experiencing the glory of the Himalayas in person, these four Kiwi men have seen it all.
The men, all in their 20s, have been cycling for more than a year, after setting off in Bali, Indonesia on April 1 last year, but their epic journey is no joke — already they have raised more than $15,000 and still have more than a month to go.
Starting in Bali, the boys cycled east through southeast Asia and eastern Europe, arriving in Rome this week after leaving Croatia. They reported reaching the $15,000 mark was a big achievement and a great sense of accomplishment to see the Himalayas.
Challenges have included the cold and snow, sickness and busted bikes — and one stolen cycle.
But they have met with very friendly locals.
“Meeting people was great. We are being hosted by an Italian woman now and have seen the kindness of the locals everywhere,” Chen said.
The trip will end on July 28. By then they will have travelled 22,000km, passed through nearly 30 countries and hopefully raised $25,000.
ARTHUR and Freddie Gillies with their grandmother Edna Walker at the Taupo Ironman 2014.