On the 13th June 2010, Nigel Denison and Gordon Tait began cycling the 3000 mile journey from the most southerly point in Australia (Wilson's Promentory) to the most northerly point (Cape York).
Nigel and Gordon went to school together in York. After school their paths separated as Nigel spent 22 years in the Army and Gordon emigrated to Australia. Nigel is now a General Manager for Reliance Secure Task Management, a business providing support to the Criminal Justice Sector and Gordon is a Doctor of Philosophy at Queensland University.
In 2008 Nigel and Gordon cycled from John O'Groats to Land's End. "The weather was dreadful with wind, rain and snow, but we both enjoyed the challenge. Afterwards we thought that a bigger challenge was needed - especially as we would both turn 50 in 2010. We also wanted to combine our challenge with the opportunity to raise money for a charity and we both support Cancer charities. Since our supporters are in both UK and Australia, we chose AICR because of its International nature. We are really looking forward to the challenge, but not underestimating the distance we will need to cover in the time and the conditions we will be meeting."
"The journey began at Wilson’s Promontory, a National Park 3 hours drive south of Melbourne. It is currently winter in Australia and the days were short and chilly with a thick frost on some mornings. The early part of the journey took them along some very mountainous highways which slowed their progress and tested their resolve, but it was a very special feeling to ride up to the steps of the Sydney Opera House to see the sunset. “It felt as if we were half way there, although we were barely a third of the way” said Nigel. Many Australians said they would not attempt the journey in a car.
Gordon’s 50th birthday was celebrated as they passed through his home city of Brisbane and they worked their way up along the coast through the cattle farms, sugar cane fields and mango plantations of Queensland before turning inland to ride up the 500 miles of rough dirt road to the ‘Tip’. It was great to be cycling in warm weather, although they had to be careful to drink loads of water because it was so humid on some days.
The journey through Cape York was expected to be tough and it proved to be just that. The roads were mainly gravel, with long patches of sand and they were very rough in parts. They had to cycle through large dust clouds thrown up by passing vehicles, and there was often some pushing involved. “Some days it was like spending 8 hours on a jack hammer the corrugations were so bad” said Nigel
Disaster struck for Gordon about 450 miles from the Tip when he fell off his bike on a rough stretch of road and broke his wrist – it was clear that he could not continue the ride. The disappointment of having cycled 2743 miles to be thwarted so close to the end was enormous.
Nigel continued his progress along the dirt roads through the dust enjoying the support of the drivers on the road, many of whom had heard what he was doing. It was a fantastic feeling to finally see the ocean, and after carrying the bike across rocks to the Tip for the last few hundred yards of a 3156 mile journey, the wheels were dipped into the sea. Job done!"
- Nigel and Gordon have raised over £5000 for AICR. Their fundraising remains ongoing.
- There were no punctures on the trip!
- The journey took them slightly longer than planned – 42 days
- The average daily distance pedalled was 75 miles.
- There were no rest days.
- The longest and hardest day through the mountains of Victoria and New South Wales was 116 miles and took 14 hours of pedalling.
- A blog was written every day and a satellite tracker was carried to keep people at home involved and informed. People logged on first thing in the morning to see where they were.
We would like to thank Gordon and Nigel for their fantastic fundraising effort!