British Travel Writer To Cycle 4,000 miles Across US
Published: Monday, 25 April 2016
British adventurer and travel writer Simon Parker, 29, from Oxford, England has embarked on a 133-day, 15,000-mile sail and cycle challenge from China to London via the US.
Having first started sailing just six months ago and never having cycled more than 1,000 miles prior to this, Parker arrived in the US less than a week ago after completing the tough Pacific Ocean Leg of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, from Qingdao, China.
“Sailing across the Pacific was probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” says Parker. “The power of the sea and the magnitude of the storms we encountered were truly frightening and beyond what I imagined.”
On the next stage of his challenge, a 4,000 mile solo bike ride from Seattle to New York, he adds: “Whilst I may not face the same storms on the bike, I know that this next stage of the journey is going to be absolutely grueling, both psychologically and mentally. It is going to be an unforgettable experience in so many ways.”
The cycle ride, which he will complete unaided, will take Parker across 12 different states and take approximately six weeks to complete. In an added layer to the challenge, Parker will be racing his team Clipper Race crew who will be aiming to beat him to New York, the final port in the US Coast to Coast leg of the Clipper 2015-16 Race.
Once in New York, Parker will re-join his Clipper Race team and sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland. In his final challenges, he will cycle race the yachts from Northern Ireland to Holland, then sail to London in a 36-hour sprint to the Clipper Race Finish at Tower Bridge on July 30.
“People may think I’m crazy for attempting this, and maybe I am a little, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw it as an amazing opportunity for a unique travel challenge,” says Parker. “I’ve got to spend the next two months doing something – so why not this?”
“I’m also using it as a social experiment and am hoping that by Facebook, Twitter and media power, people might offer to show me some good American hospitality along the way. People are the greatest part of any journey and meeting as many locals along the way as possible will be what makes the experience for me. Support so far has been great and I’ve already been offered accommodation for 15 different nights.”
Parker will pass through Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, established by legendary British sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo non-stop around the planet in 1968-69, is the only event of its kind which trains amateurs like Parker to race across the world’s oceans. 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew, who come from all walks of life, have never sailed before they sign up and start their extensive training.
The Clipper Race alone sees competitors encounter extreme conditions from hurricanes, tornadoes and icebergs to waves the size of houses and extreme heat in the tropics during the 40,000 nautical mile, 11-month long odyssey.
Only 3,300 people have completed the Clipper Race over nine editions since its inception in 1995.
“I came up with the concept of the Clipper Race to allow ordinary people to explore their adventurous side and push their limits to achieve something extraordinary,” says Knox-Johnston. “I look forward to hearing what Simon finds out about himself and others during the challenge.”
Parker will be blogging about his experience throughout the journey across the USA and live tweeting at @SimonWIParker.
He will also be raising awareness of the Clipper Race’s Official Charity Unicef by meeting local projects and more information can be found at his website: www.simonwparker.co.uk.