Tandem Men going for world first

3 May 2016

Tandem Men photo by Danny Germain (www.dannygermain.co.uk)

We’re proud to partner with The Tandem Men: two adventurers aiming to be the world’s first people to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem bicycle.

On June 8th, George Agate (22) and John Whybrow (24) and will set off from Canterbury Cathedral to raise money for Porchlight and other charities who will be named in the coming weeks.

George and John will cycle their tandem for 18,000 miles across Europe, through the Orient, traverse the Australian outback and along the Pan-American Highway. They are aiming to cover roughly 120 miles each day (five days each week for the first two months, and six days a week for the rest).

When The Tandem Men cross the finish line back at Canterbury Cathedral, they will enter the Guinness Book of Records as the first duo to ever achieve such a feat. They anticipate the journey will take eight to ten months.

“Neither of us were big riders before taking this challenge on,” said John. “It started with the idea to cycle to Paris to visit a friend and snowballed from there. When we realised nobody had gone around the world on a tandem before we just had to do it. I’m more excited than nervous and am looking to going through India because I’ve never been outside of Europe before, although George has.”

Explaining how they became involved with Porchlight, which supports people who are homeless and vulnerable, John added: “We were looking for a local charity to support and had heard a lot about Porchlight. Homelessness is something we see every day walking through Canterbury, and something we want to help with.”

Their ride is fully funded, meaning all money raised from this point will go to charity. George and John are hoping to raise £100,000 and are planning to hold fundraising events before they leave. People will also be able to donate money online in the run-up to, and throughout, their journey.

The money raised for Porchlight will allow it to continue supporting homeless and vulnerable people with their housing and mental health needs, and also help get them back into education or employment.

Much of the past year has been spent planning the journey, but yesterday (April 26th) George and John visited one of Porchlight’s supported accommodation hostels to meet the young people it works with and what goes on there.

They were shown around by residents Jess and Lauren, and youth support worker Ben Cook. The young person’s supported accommodation houses 16 to 24-year-olds who have nowhere else to go. Reasons can range from relationship breakdowns with partners or family, problems to do with mental health or even losing work due to zero-hour contracts.

The Tandem visit one of our supported accommodation hostels

John said: “We wanted to find out more about the services Porchlight provides for people facing homelessness, so getting to come and see the work being done is great. Our view of homeless accommodation has certainly been changed by the visit and we were thoroughly impressed by the general standard of the accommodation. I was particularly impressed by the size of the residents’ rooms and communal areas.”

George was impressed by the range of activities provided for residents such as days out and volunteering opportunities. “I didn’t think there would be as much going on as there is,” he said. “This visit has been a real eye-opener.”

People will be able to track The Tandem Men’s journey as it occurs (wifi permitting) via their website. Porchlight will also be keeping people up-to-date with their pictures, posts and blog entries.