My name is Peter Smallwood, and I am going to set off in July 2012 to cycle from England to India.
Ever since I was a small boy, playing in the woodland labyrinths along the canal near my home with my friends, or occasionally venturing as far away as a neighbouring village, I dreamed of going on the ultimate adventure. Walking ten miles seemed comparable in my young mind to the exploits of Scott of the Antarctic, and a bike ride to the nearby beach not too dissimilar in scale from Edmund Hilary’s conquest of Everest. As I got older, I became a little bolder, and my adventures took me hiking and climbing in the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. In 2009 a friend and I rode our bicycles all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats, raising well over a thousand pounds for a local charity.
After backpacking across North America for a few months in 2010, I settled down for a while, and got a ‘proper’ 9-5 job in a comfortable air conditioned office in Leeds. But my adventurous streak has been bubbling away in my stomach like an undercooked leg of lamb, and it’s finally time for another adventure. This one needed to blow everything I’d done before completely and utterly out of the water.
My plan, then, is to leave my job, my home, my girlfriend, family and friends, climb onto my heavily laden bicycle in the quiet backstreets of the sleepy Yorkshire village I grew up in, and ride half way around the world, all the way to India, alone and unsupported.
I have estimated a total distance of about 7,500 miles, and it may take me as long as six months. I plan to set off in mid July to traverse Europe, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, before eventually finding my way to the Bay of Bengal, on India’s east coast, probably arriving some time early next year. Click here to see a map of my roughly planned route!
Adventurousness aside, it would not be in the proper spirit of such a quest if I were not able to justify my blood, sweat and tears, with some kind of charitable undertaking. There are so many well deserving charities out there that it was extremely difficult to select just one for which to raise money and awareness. So I didn’t. I picked two instead.
Cancer is a terrible and shockingly widespread disease, and it is difficult to find someone that has not been touched by it in some way. In 2008 it claimed the life of my cousin, Claire Jones.
The World Cancer Research Fund is dedicated to helping people make choices that can dramatically reduce the chances of developing cancer, predominantly through diet and physical activity, something that I feel very strongly about. I have therefore decided to raise money and awareness for the WCRF, so that they can continue their crucial work to help people avoid the life threatening consequences of the disease.
You only need to read about people like Lance Armstrong, though, to learn that in some cases no matter how good your diet, and no matter how much physical exercise you take, cancer is unavoidable. I cannot even imagine how terrible it must be for someone to be told they have cancer, but it must be particularly earth shattering for young people. I have therefore decided to also support the work of the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity devoted to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer. Learn more about the charities I will be supporting here.
I will be recording my exploits, as often as I can, here on my blog, where you also access the JustGiving pages for donations to the charities I have chosen to support. It would be greatly appreciated if you could make a small donation, so that when I’m lost in the desert, with buckled wheels, worn out brakes, just a mouthful of water left in my water bottle, and being pursued by bloodthirsty bandits and ferocious wild dogs, I can keep a smile on my face, knowing that it’s all utterly worthwhile.