THEY’RE in the final stages of an epic 18,000-mile cycle around the world for charity.
And today The Tandem Men, George Agate and John Whybrow, were joined by the Portsmouth North End Cycling Club to complete one of the last stretches of their route.
The nine-month expedition has seen The Tandem Men, who had never really cycled before, travel across four continents and 28 countries.
And when they finish in Canterbury, they will set a Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the world on a tandem.
John, 25, originally from Norfolk, said: ‘We’re eager to complete the trip, but at the same time we don’t want it to end.
‘It’s been a dream to do. We came up with the idea three years ago and have spent almost 10 months on the road, so it’s a bit of a surreal feeling to know in less than 48 hours it’ll be over. ‘
He added: ‘Once we’d decided we wanted to cycle, we looked for something that hadn’t been done before and it all snowballed from there.
‘It was a steep learning curve to actually get on our bikes and do it.
‘We had a bit of a heatwave in Turkey, then a week of monsoon weather in India, but the positives have far outweighed the negatives on this trip.’
The housemates set off last summer from the place where they studied together – Canterbury in Kent. They travelled eastwards across the flats of Europe, through the Orient, traversed the Australian outback and cruised the Pan American Highway. They were greeted with kindness by different people, some who put them up and fed them.
Yesterday, they came over on a ferry from St Malo in France, to meet friends, family and members of the PNECC and cycle together to Fishbourne.
George, 23, from West Sussex, said: ‘There are two days left of the trip. From Fishbourne we’re off to London, then Canterbury.
‘We haven’t had any major problems but there were some tough times in Central America. One day we had no water or food, which was hard.’
The pair chose to support Porchlight, WaterAid and Great Ormond Street Hospital and have raised almost £10,000 so far. They received some sponsorship for the trip and hope to draw in more donations upon completion.
Tom Morris, 29, from PNECC, said: ‘What John and George have done so far is inspiring, raising money for their chosen charities.
‘As a cyclist I imagine what they’ve done has been extremely tough – carrying their kit all around the world.’
Judy Agate, George’s mum, was nervous when the pair first set off, but was proud of what they’ve achieved.
The 51-year-old said: ‘As a mother my heart sank when they first told me about the trip, but there was no stopping them, and it’s been an amazing thing to do.
‘They spent hours planning it and we were able to follow their route with a tracker.
‘The charities have kept them going and they hope to write a book about the trip. We’re very proud of them.’
To donate or find out more, visit thetandemmen.com.