On November 6th 2006 three twenty something graduates from Upminster in Essex will be setting out to cycle the length of the South American continent for charity. They will be cycling on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Travelling through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia the route will take the team over 7,000 miles over some of the most endurance testing terrain in the world.
The Andes, vertically bisecting the country, make the landscape anything but flat. The plan is to average around 50miles a day. The goal will be to undertake around 140 days of cycling to complete the expedition - with some time of for Christmas and good behaviour.
The guys will be undertaking this feat completely unsupported, carrying all they need to live and survive with them on their bikes - which have all been heavily upgraded for the trek. Clothing, camping gear, food, water and bike maintenance essentials will all add to the load. Fully laden each bike will weigh in the region of 50kg.
Along the way the guys will be maintaining a website featuring a blog, photo gallery, route information and much more. The URL to the guy's website can be seen below.
The 'About the Route' Bit
. Starting out in Ushuaia - the Southern most city in the world, so far south it is the main starting point for people who want to go holidaying in the Antarctic (and you thought the guys were mad!) . Heading through windy Patagonia - the unique geography of this region means that it has a high level of rainfall and very very strong gusting winds. The guys will be facing gusts up to 130mph here and are not looking forward to days sleeping in ditches when they can't stand up, let alone pitch tents or ride bikes! Conversely . though the high rainfall and mountainous backdrop makes for lush and panoramic scenery which is meant to be amongst the most stunning in the world - not forgetting of course the amazing Perito Moreno Glacier. Patagonia will certainly be a mixed bag of emotions. . After much criss-crossing between Chile and Argentina as the guys make their way north the route will lead them to the Atacama Desert - the driest place on Earth. Forget the Sahara, forget Death Valley - there are places here that have never ever seen rainfall. Quite a contrast to the damp nature of Patagonia! As it is so dry the guys are planning to only cross half of this mighty desert - riding in early morning and late afternoon, sheltering in the middle of the day from the heat of the midday sun. . Climbing out of the Atacama the guys head upwards into Bolivia, and I do mean upwards! Their goal in Bolivia will be to reach La Paz - the highest capital city in the world at 3800m above sea-level - airplanes need to have an oxygen supply when they go above about 2,500m! On their way up to those dizzy heights the guys plan to ride across the famous Salt Desert - which is mercifully flat but, at night, bitterly cold. . Descending out of Bolivia the guys will enter Peru via Lake Titicaca - the most altitudinous lake in the world. . Cutting a path west they will head into Cusco - where they are planning to take a few days out to walk the famous Inca Trail and hopefully catch the sunrise over the famous ancient mountaintop city of Machu Picchu. . From here the guys plan to head broadly west - making a beeline for the enigmatic Nazca Lines, from here travelling north up the coast to the capital of Peru - Lima. . Continuing north and then entering Ecuador, heading through La Sierra region into Quito - the capital. . From here the guys are planning to keep their heads down and go hell for leather - it has been suggested by some, i.e. the British Government that northern Ecuador and Southern Colombia are not safe. This may well be true.. The guys are planning on scoping out the situation when they get there before deciding their next course of action. . Once the guys leave the ambiguity of Colombia they will head North East out into Venezuela - with the finish line in site - the countries capital Caracas.
The 'About the Guys' Bit:
Richard Brown - 24yrs old
Rich studied IT in Sheffield and now works as a web designer from home because he is too lazy to commute into London every day for a real job.
He has previously traveled around South East Asia and in 2002 cycled across Vietnam for charity, the fatal event that inspired this trip.
Ian Blenkinsop - 24yrs old
Ian finished a history degree in 2005 and has had a number of temporary jobs since. In between work and organising this trip, he\'s been trying to take over the world with his band, Happy Attack.
He spent 5 months in Ecuador in 2002, volunteering for a conservation charity, and also visited Argentina in 1998.
Jamie Phillips - 25yrs old
Jamie is the big guy of the group and as such he eats more, takes up more space and also tends to break things meant for smaller people. He has been known on occasion to generate so much torque that he literally tears chains apart!
Jamie studied law at uni in Birmingham, after that working in the Rock 'n' Roll industry for a year before going back to uni to do some more serious studenting. He is now far too over qualified to be remotely employable.
The 'Charity' Bit...
The guys are riding for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The MS Society is the UK's largest Multiple Sclerosis charity, dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS. Multiple Sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological disease affecting young adults with an estimated 85,000 sufferers in the UK. MS is caused by the body's immune system attacking the protective myelin sheath that encases nerves. The damage interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body. For some MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission of symptoms whilst for others it is a progressive condition. It is a disease that defies prediction as to its course and ultimate effect. The Society relies completely on the support of fundraisers and volunteers for financial support.
The 'How You Can Help' Bit
While the team is happy to accept donations via cheque (made payable to the MS Society) the preferred method of donation is via their Justgiving website. Justgiving is a website dedicated solely to providing fundraisers with a simple means of raising money online; it is simple, safe and guaranteed secure against fraud.
Donations can be addressed as follows:
Cheques made payable to the MS Society should be sent to: Cycling South America Donations Chez De l'Amitie Harwood Hall Lane Upminster Essex, RM14 2DR
Donations on the internet can be made at the following address: www.justgiving.com/cycle-for-ms
The 'Note from the Sponsor' Bit
The online travel portal Beat The Brochure have sponsored the teams travel arrangements, and are also hosting the guys website from their homepage www.beatthebrochure.com. The company was inspired by the cyclists' ambition to cross the south American continent for charity, and offered to promote them from their site as well as keeping their database of 90,000 up to date on the progress of the charity cyclists in a bi-monthly holiday offers e-mail .
Managing director Daniel Ox says: "Their trip is inspirational and we believe that our users would find the live updates from the cyclists a fantastic read and hopefully inspire them to travel further a field for the greater good. We wish the team the best of luck on their monumental journey and hope that as many people as possible will leave words of support and charity donations on the site."
BeatTheBrochure.Com offer online booking for discounted worldwide travel including; tailor-made holidays, flights, accommodation, car hire, travel extras and insurance.
The 'Wrapping it all up and Getting Further Information' Bit
For more information see the expedition website:
The MS Society also has a very informative website which can be accessed via:
To arrange interviews or to ask any further questions then please contact (available on phone until November 6th):
Richard Brown on 07883 026455 or email@example.com Jamie Phillips on 07704 926583 or firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Blenkinsop on 07940 705765 or email@example.com Daniel Ox on 01708 759 181 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site = http://www.beatthebrochure.com/cycling_south_america
Contact Details = Daniel Ox on 01708 759 181 111-115 North Street, Romford, Essex, RM1 1ES email@example.com