Man cycling from UK to Australia just like his dad 40 years ago – using the same bike

man cycling from uk to australia just like his dad 40 years ago – using the same bike

A young man is embarking on a 12,000-mile cycle from the UK to Australia

A young man is embarking on a 12,000-mile cycle from the UK to Australia, replicating his father's journey from four decades ago - and he's even using the same model bike.

Jamie Hargreaves, 22, has grown up hearing tales of his father's epic adventure, and on 13 May, he set off from Manchester to create his own global story, aiming for Australia.

The recent university graduate from Stockport is sharing his journey across social media and plans to pen a book upon completion, comparing his dad's experiences in 1984 with his own modern-day encounters. An experienced climber, Jamie said: "I have always been so intrigued by my Dad's story - and I absolutely love him for his adventures around the world that throughout my life have inspired me."

He continued: "He used to go into my primary school and give talks about his travels, and tell me so many stories about all the precious situations has been in - from being shot at and nearly dying! - to normal people it sounds a bit to scary but to me it was something I wanted to experience myself."

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"So it is something I have wanted to do since I was a little kid," he added. "Now I just love living life day-to-day."

Just days after completing his degree in design at Sheffield Hallam University, Jamie embarked on his adventure. He's following his father's route as closely as possible and has already cycled through the UK, Belgium, France, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia.

Jamie, who has been running his own sculptor business since he was eleven, is funding his journey with savings from a year of work and earnings from his business. Despite initial reluctance, he's also accepted donations from supporters along the way, which he says have made a significant difference.

Drawing on his climbing experience, Jamie has adopted a 'dirtbag style' approach to his travels. He explained: "I have been roughing it and trying to save money wherever possible - eating bread out of the bins in the Alps (stale bread is designated for the cows)."

He continued: "I used to do lots of road trips with ice climbing and alpine climbing too and we did it dirtbag style as climbers do."

So far, he's only stayed in three hostels (only one by choice) and has spent the rest of his time wild camping - finding shelter in train stations, bus shelters, church entrances, bird hives and Aldi car parks. He said: "I prefer to sleep where I can and not put my tent [up] - it saves a faff in the morning! It's been an interesting month that's for sure."

His adventure hasn't been without its challenges, though. One of his worst experiences occurred just 20km outside of Brussels, where he was hoping to reach the town where his father had previously stayed. He exclaimed: "I travelled 140 km in one day -and got to the town at 10pm - which was a surprise because it used to be a little village that was now a big town and there was no where to place a tent!"

He added: "In Belgium they have no natural areas, so [I] slept in a little shelter next to a railway - but trains ran through the night, a metre past my head every 20 mins. So I bailed and just cycled [the] next day to Brussels and had to get a hostel, I was exhausted."

Jamie has been clocking up an impressive average of 100 km (60 miles) daily on his bike, with his longest stretch being a whopping 160 km in a single day. When necessary, he hops on a plane to reach his next destination.

The adventurous lad is pedalling on a bike that's not only the same model but also from the same year as his father's beloved 1984 cycle. However, Jamie wasn't permitted to take his dad's actual bike for the journey, as he explained: "Not only is it very unsafe now but it is also Dad's prized possession that he didn't want to lose - which is fair enough. But I prefer mine to his as it's more my colours."

His bike, loaded with all his essentials for the journey, tips the scales at 60 kg. His gear includes a tent, sleeping bag, roll mats, light weight equipment, his CANON D4000 camera, and one item for personal enjoyment: a ukulele.

He shared: "I've got a lot of stuff - most bike packing adventures for two weeks see people carrying maybe 30 kg, but I don't know how or even where the weight comes from."

"I really shouldn't have brought as many clothes as I've basically just worn the exact same clothes since I've left and have been washing and drying them every night," he continued. "I keep my ukulele in the strap of the back of my bike - it takes up 40 per cent of the space but it's 100 per cent worth it."

"I love playing and when I'm sat on my own on a beach it's really nice to sit down and have a sing along as something fun to do," he concluded.

Jamie's father, Phill Hargreaves, 62, revealed that his son was 'desperate' to embark on the journey - and has called home more times than he did during his entire three years away. Phill, whose journey from the UK to Australia - and back again - spanned roughly 25,000 miles, said: "It's quite amazing, Jamie always said 'oh I'm going to cycle around the world like you did', and I thought, 'yeh, probably not'. But he's done it. I enjoyed it so much."

Phill added: "I was away for nearly three years and rang my parents about three times in total - back then it was pre-internet and you had to book a time slot, book how long you, wanted to speak for and it was quite expensive - but Jamie just picks the phone up and we've chatted a lot."

"It's been so interesting hearing his experiences, and I've even been sending him old photos from my trip, and he has been recreating some of them for his book."

Phill's epic journey from Darby, UK to Australia, kicked off on April Fools Day in 1984, and after decades of globetrotting, he's become a staunch advocate for cycling as the ultimate travel method.

Traversing through destinations like New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Berlin, Phill shared: "Out of all the ways of travelling, cycling is a fantastic way - because you can still cover decent distance but it's not too difficult to stop and experience your surroundings."

He added: "You meet a lot of people - like you can stop to chat to someone walking along the road, and people see you differently than tourists in vehicles - they are so welcoming and it will be interesting to see if Jamie finds the same."

Jamie, unbound by time constraints on his own adventure, estimates it could take anything from six months to two years, prioritising the full experience over mere mileage. He remarked: "It will take me roughly a year - so far I've been blasting out the miles a lot quicker than Dad has, not to put the old man down."

Emphasising his laid-back approach, Jamie said: "I'm not in any kind of rush and don't care about doing a million miles a day, that does not appeal to me at all, I want to see the places and experience them rather than just passing through."

Rejecting the conventional work life, he concluded: "I don't ever see myself working in a 9-5 life; that does not suit me and I have no time schedule."

Unlike his father who originally journeyed with two friends, this young adventurer embarked on his global trek solo. Only his father, Phill Hargreaves, reached Australia. Jamie revealed a few details about the original voyage: "He had two mates with him, one left when they got to Turkey as they were cycling up this hill - and they never heard from him again."

The second friend failed to make it past Nepal due to consistently falling ill. Although he was alone, Jamie confessed he relishes the freedom that comes with venturing independently. With control over his own schedule and movement, Jamie said: "I really love having my own freedom."

He further explained his perspective on solitary travel: "I'm independent and dependent on myself - people ask me 'what if I get lonely', but I like being on my own because I get to know myself and spend a lot of time with myself."

In tune with the authenticity of the experience, Jamie mentioned: "In a car you drive through some amazing places but you don't properly experience them - but on a bike it's so freeing."

"The other day I cycled down from top of the Alpes, along a massive long valley that was 80 km downhill - and it looked like something out of Avatar: there were clouds clinging to the rock face, mountains touring above, turquoise, clear blue water crashing down the valley - and I just thought 'oh my god'."

"I'm lucky to have travelled a lot for my age, but that was one of the most amazing places I've ever been," he added.

Jamie has been inundated with positive feedback from his supporters and is working on building a community of followers. He stated: "My purpose in life is to encourage people to push their own physical limits and go for their goals and achieve big things - it's what we are here on earth to do and I want to reach as many people as possible with that message."

"It's been going well so far. Someone messaged saying 'mate, I'm going to quit my 9-5 and go on a cycle tour because of me," he commented.

Jamie dreams that one day his future son will also embark on this adventure, creating a 'proper legacy for the family'. He adds that this is not the end of his adventures - and travelling to Australia from the UK is 'just a stepping stone amidst big future plans'.

Jamie's adventure can be followed via his Instagram account, @j.a.hargreaves.

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