On the 1st of January 2015, the 'Upping the Andes' boys will swap their cosy English family Christmasses for the wilderness of Patagonia...and they will have come a long way. An idea that started as a particularly acute bout of procrastination back in April is finally on the horizon. One Times World Atlas and a lot of raised eyebrows later, our team will be embarking on an unsupported 8000 mile expedition covering the entire length South America using pedal-power alone.
To give you some context, the traditional distance of Land's End to John o'Groats by road is 874 miles. So, for anyone short of a calculator, we are facing the equivalent of cycling from one end of the British Isles to the other - and back - almost 5 times. That's roughly 4000 trips to your local one-stop, or 128,000 lengths of a football pitch, or 1/3 of the way around the equator - however you want to look at it, it's quite a long way!
Our journey will take us from the southern-most city in the world to a solitary desert lighthouse that marks the most northerly point of mainland South America. That means covering 42º of latitude, primarily over the world's longest mountain range, the Andes. The team will have to adapt to fluctuating conditions from cool of the far-south and the high-Andes, through the driest place on earth (the Atacama desert), to the equatorial heat of Colombia. In addition, we will be carrying up to 50 kilograms of kit each, and aiming to average 50 miles per day.
We would particularly like to emphasise the 'unsupported' nature of this challenge. An expedition such as this inevitably presents varied challenges in terms of preparation, training, marketing, and route-planning etc..., all of which the team have taken responsibility for. Similarly, on-the-road challenges ranging from mechanical problems, poor road quality, large trucks with unscrupulous drivers, dehydration, altitude sickness, prevailing winds, to rabid dogs and jaguars, will all have to be addressed as they arise by the team themselves with no support network. Perhaps more significant than the trial of physical endurance, will be the test of will and the psychological challenge presented by long, hard days on the bike spent on empty roads (many of which will be sloping upwards) and sleeping rough much of the time.
While this journey represents a formidable personal challenge for us, what will really be getting us on our bicycles and pushing us up those winding mountain roads is the knowledge that we will be furthering the aims of
our amazing causes - Cancer Reaserch UK, DMRC Headley Court, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, and the Mark Donegan Fellowship. Our aim is to raise £80,000, and it should of course be made clear that 100% of all funds donated by you will go towards these causes and not towards the funding of the expedition. We understand that an adventure of this magnitude is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us, however we sincerely hope that through our - and your - efforts we can improve the lives of many more through the work of our wonderful charities.
Thanks again for taking the time to visit our site and we will keep you updated!
Archie, Guthrie, Thomas, and Toby.
So, we very much hope that you will help us take on the New World by giving generously. We want to get you all involved as much as possible with our adventure so please, please do follow us on our blog, twitter, facebook, and instagram all of which you can access from the top and bottom of this website. So tell your friends and get #uppingtheandes out us as much as humanly possible. Also, keep an eye out for our film following our return.