A BIG-HEARTED cycling fanatic exchanged the tranquil summer of a Green Belt village to conquer the snakes, ‘roos, crocs and deserts of winter in Australia.
Jon Shorter, 33, a mature student from Cinder Lane, Guilden Sutton, teamed up with pal Chris Jones, a lawyer down under, for his third and most challenging charity cycle ride yet, the equivalent of cycling from Chester to London 17 times.
Hot on the wheels of rides from London to Monaco and from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Jon took 38 days to cover more than 2,800 miles from the southern shores of Australia to the country’s northern tip.
His marathon effort is intended to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity in Britain and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Jon set himself the challenge of pledging his summer university holidays to raise awareness and fundraise for different charities over three years.
“I wanted to make the best possible use of my time as a student,” said Jon.
“Setting myself ever more ambitious challenges and fundraising targets seemed a better idea than the typical student holiday of lazing around, costly festivals or backpacking!”
A typical day on the trip has seen Jon and Chris ride more than 100 miles, each pulling a trailer weighing 65 pounds after camping at the side of the road.
The winter route has taken them over the snowy peaks of the Baw Baw National Park, across the desert sands of North Queensland and through crocodile-infested creeks and rivers in Cape York, carrying all their equipment with no back-up vehicles or support.
Jon is hoping to raise £15,000 from the ride.
Mark Bishop, director of fundraising for The Prostate Cancer Charity, said:”It’s fantastic that Jon was ready to gear up to cycle across Australia to support us.
“We were enormously grateful and quite frankly amazed by his plans to cycle around 2,800 miles for us!”
Jon added: “After 38 days when we arrived at the Tip there were the obvious signs of relief, excitement and pride.
“It was then a case of jumping back on the bikes to return the 35km to the nearest town, hopefully the last kilometres we’ll ever have to do on them.”
Jon and Chris are due back in Melbourne on Saturday before Jon returns to Guilden Sutton.
To find out more about Jon’s trip and to sponsor him, visit www.UpUnder2011.com.