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.

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