Wheels in motion for English couple
An English couple are travelling the world on their tandem bike, visiting places they have always wanted to go and catching up with family they haven’t seen in years.
Kay and Sean O’Toole left Malvern in the United Kingdom about four and a half months ago to tour the world on their tandem bike.
Before the trip, the only place outside of England they had been to was France, and the longest cycling tour they had done was four days in 2013.
But on a nine-month trip throughout the world they had already been to Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, Mongolia, China and now New Zealand.
On Sunday, they were making their way through Southland, including Invercargill, Bluff and the Catlins, before heading north up the West Coast.
They travel between 120 to 140 kilometres a day, and some days were 10 hours long. In total they had done more than 100,000 km, Sean said.
‘‘It’s a fantastic way to see a country. You hear the birds, feel the weather and see the scenery.’’
The pair, in their mid-50s, are doing it with only 60kg of travel kit, including camping gear.
They have ridden through tough terrain, camped in the snow, struggled with communi- cation in foreign countries, and on a budget of NZ$140 a day, including flights and train tickets. The trip would cost about $37,800 in total. The couple saw an opportunity to do their dream trip after Kay’s parents, who she was looking after, passed away, and before their children, aged 26 and 28, had their grandchildren.
Originally they were going to travel while fruit picking but Sean, who is a keen cyclist, said the plan changed and they bought a new tandem bike.
Kay said the bike was a ‘‘novelty’’ and people often waved or stopped them for selfies.
New Zealand was full of greenery and everyone was friendly and generous, she said.
Arriving in Auckland on November 16, they had three offers from people to stay with them or for meals on day one.
It was the ‘‘real experience’’, Kay said. ‘‘It’s less likely we’ll ever come back so we want to see everything while we can.’’
They left Invercargill on Tuesday and will fly from Auckland to Vancouver on March 2.
Their route home could change due to weather, but they will fly back from Toronto mid to late April.
Kay and Sean O’Toole left Malvern in the United Kingdom to ride around the world on their tandem bike.