26 April 2018

World Cycle Challenge for Royal Holloway alumnus

By Development and Alumni Relations Team

On 22 July a Royal Holloway alumnus will be taking on Europe, the Middle East, India, Australia and the United States, before heading home after 289 days of cycling.

2018-03-27-PHOTO-00000211Alex Clark (BA Politics and International Relations) graduated in 2016 before going to work in London, however it was here that he found his inspiration to do what he loves instead of chasing convention. He quit his job, went to live at his family home to save up money and started training and planning – it is now just 3 months until the departs on a 10 month, 21,500 mile trip to raise money for two children’s charities. He said: “There are many reasons why I have been motivated to take on this challenge, it can mainly be put down to a love of cycling, the need for a challenge and ambition to support two charities. The Jack O’Donnell Foundation and Sponsor a Gambian Child are both fantastic charities and the success of this expedition could see hundreds of children’s lives changed for good.”

Alex has faced many struggles whilst planning and promoting his trip, however he says the most potent challenge was trying to convince his Mum that it was a good idea. He aims to raise £10,000 on the expedition for the Jack O’Donnell Foundation, which helps fulfil the sporting potential of children, and Sponsor a Gambian Child. Jack was a fellow pupil at Lord Williams’s School. Sponsor a Gambian Child is a charity run by a teacher from the school and Alex visited The Gambia in 2010 to see first hand how much of a difference even £500 would make.

Alex will carry around 8kg of kit, setting up camp along the way, and set off through France, heading across Europe to Trieste. Stage 2 will see him pedal 6,240km from Trieste to Mumbai, then through Bangladesh and Burma, which he believes will be some of the most challenging navigation on the whole trip. Next will include Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and several islands in Indonesia. Alex said: “On this leg, I hope to achieve a new level of physical strength that will protect me from fatigue for the rest of the trip.” Flying to Perth from Bali, Alex will then begin what he considers the most dangerous part of the journey. Following the south coast of Australia from Perth to Sydney will mean 5,000km with the deserted areas making up roughly half of that.

The success of this expedition could see hundreds of children’s lives changed for good

Temperatures will reach 45 degrees Celsius and there will be hundreds of miles where human contact is not possible. A tour of New Zealand will be followed by a flight to San Diego and the start of a route up the west coast of the United States heading to Vancouver in Canada, with Alex averaging 160km per day at this point. He’ll then travel 5,500km across the northern states to reach New York, with a flight to Lisbon in Portugal and a route through Spain and France to home. Alex will ensure he cycles through Madrid as that is the antipodal point to an area just above Wellington on the Northern Island of New Zealand that he will also pass through. These antipodal points are necessary for the trip to be classed as an official circumnavigation of the globe. Alex added: “My physical experience of long term endurance lies in the work I do towards triathlon events. The build-up to these races requires many months of daily training, whether that is active physical training or whether it is merely eating the right things and stretching.”

Currently, Alex has received sponsorship from Energy Generators who are based in Buckinghamshire – he is looking for opportunities to team up with other companies that may be interested in his expedition and raising awareness for the two charities. To become a sponsor drop Alex an email.

You can keep up with Alex on the Prestige WorldRide website and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and MyDonate