Posted by: Huw Thomas | April 24, 2011

Thank you, Australia

At one time we thought the Australian leg of our journey wouldn’t happen. First came the Queensland floods (which flowed on to Victoria), followed by Cyclone Yasi up in the north east and raging wild fires out in the west.

We thought the Australians would have far too much on their own plates to have time for a pair of visiting Poms going on about disaster relief in other parts of the world. But not so. In the end Australia didn’t just show how resilient the country is when it comes to dealing with Mother Nature, it also proved to be the busiest and most productive part of our ride so far.

We got a great response from so many people along the way – hopefully converting quite a few into ShelterBox supporters. Over the space of 49 days (44 on the road’) we gave talks to members of at least 30 Rotary Clubs, visited seven schools, joined five public displays about ShelterBox and gave 20 media interviews. Best of all, though, we helped raise around $14,500 – enough for 14.5 extra ShelterBoxes.

Memories from the ride - Tenterfield, 'Captain Thunderbolt' and Darling Harbour

We were extremely well looked after along the way. Mostly by Rotarians but also by some members of the Warmshowers cycling network. And there were other acts of generosity that helped warm our hearts and ease our way – from bike shops that donated their time to help with repairs and maintenance and free coffees from cafe owners who’d heard about what we were doing.

There are too many people to name them all individually but we’d like to say a huge thank you to all concerned. Special mention should also go to Mary Brew and all at British Airways who not only flew us on the London-Sydney section of our journey but also dealt with getting our tandem, trailer and gear safely around the world. The flight was our prize from the British Airways Great Britons programme – but we really appreciated being upgraded to club class for the journey home!

We’re now back in England having a short rest before starting the final, European leg of our journey. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about packing our bike into any more cardboard boxes: getting a two-metre long box to and from airports has proved to be one of the biggest hassles of the whole ride. (Manoeuvring the box through terminals, check-in desks and customs was fairly tricky too!) 

After we leave London on 2nd May we’ll have a few ferries to catch but the rest of the route – via France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, the UK and Ireland – will be pure pedal power. Let’s hope we can keep up the same fundraising momentum.



  1. Congratulations on completing the journey thusfar! Where are you in the totals for funds raised, miles covered, interviews given, Rotary clubs addressed for the whole trip?

    • Hi Shawn – nice to know you’re still keeping tabs on us from Salmon Arm, BC. We’ve now done a grand total of 7680 miles (12,288km) and spoken to 90 Rotary Clubs, 23 schools/Scout groups, 27 ‘other’ organisations/events and done 67 media interviews – for a result of about 62 ShelterBoxes… so far. Lost count of the number of leaflets handed out! Oh… and worn out five tyres.

      • Very impressive numbers! I will report this trivia at Rotary- perhaps I’ll use it as a Sheriff item- tables will have to guess the numbers… 😉 Yes, I’ve been following along since you left us all those months ago. It’s been great to feel part of your journey!

  2. Your journey so far is just amazing. I’m Akela for Kirkbymoorside Cubs and we’re really looking forward to having you talk to us in Malton in June. Good luck with the European leg.

  3. HI Carolyn and Huw, So pleased to know the Aussie part of the journey finished off so well. We loved having you to stay with us and then keeping tabs on your trip. We are back on our bikes again as the weather cools down in Brisbane (even doonas on the bed!) – and I am inspired to think about tandem riding, though John is a bit of a drama queen and it may create the same tensions we had when I used to crew for him in a Mirror dinghy.

    Every blessing for the final stage of your journey. You must be feeling quite thrilled with your achievements sofar. Cheers Janet Lawrence

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