Gary Taylor to arrive in Ipswich this weekend after cycling around the world
PUBLISHED: 07:34 17 October 2016 | UPDATED: 07:34 17 October 2016
It's been a journey of extraordinary highs and lows.
Ipswich man Gary Taylor is just days away from returning to the UK after 20 months of cycling around the world.
The intrepid adventurer has travelled 29,000km through four continents and has raised more than £4,500 for Re~Cycle, a charity that takes unwanted bikes, fixes them, and sends them to Africa to help people better access education, work, food and water.
After completing the penultimate stage of his route through the USA and a small chunk of Canada, Mr Taylor is in Boston, Massachusetts preparing to fly to Lisbon, Portugal for the home stretch. He plans to reach Ipswich on October 22.
The 31-year-old said: “The USA was good fun. Surprisingly pleasant to ride across in terms of the scenery: Mountains to desert to prairie to corn fields, a brief detour to the largest waterfalls in the world – possibly the most impressive natural landmark I’ve seen – and finally the renowned autumn colours of New York state and Vermont.
“Roads were heavy with traffic and sometimes cycle infrastructure was poor/non-existent, especially between towns.
“But, the level of courtesy on the road was impressive and even if the driving ability was more comparable to far less developed countries I made it through unscathed.”
It’s not always been an easy ride for the former forklift driver, who set off on the expedition after splitting up with a long-term girlfriend.
Even before Mr Taylor got in the saddle he came up against barriers, breaking his tooth while eating a chip and having to arrange emergency dental treatment to avoid a delay to his trip.
While cycling through Turkey towards Istanbul in rush-hour traffic, Mr Taylor suffered three collisions with vehicles – but fortunately escaped unharmed.
And when he thought all his bad luck was out, the traveller got deported from Azerbaijan.
Despite a string of misfortunes, Mr Taylor said he had met some amazing people along the way who had helped him during his journey of a lifetime.
“The people of the United States and Canada have been incredible,” he said.
“I’ve not experienced such consistent hospitality since my time in the less developed countries of the world.
“I felt bad for my assumptions before I arrived, that such a capitalist country would be less disposed towards generosity.
“Celebrity status was also resumed, with Americans loving stories such as mine, and, in a country where riding a bicycle within a city is seen as pretty wild, tell them you’re riding across the country, or round the world, and they go pretty crazy for you. I’m ashamed to admit that I enjoyed being viewed with such regard!”
With just under two weeks to go, Mr Taylor said he “cannot wait” to get home.
To support Mr Taylor and donate to Re~Cycle, visit: www.VirginMoneyGiving.com/GearsWeNeverUse