Round the world cyclist gets a big cheer home

Round the world cyclist gets a big cheer home

Crowds welcome Matthew home to Chacombe

A hug with parents Carol and Bob

A close encounter with a lion on his adventure

First published in Banbury Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

AFTER four years cycling more than 45,000 miles around the world, Matthew Blake had earned a celebratory pint or two.

The 25-year-old arrived home in Chacombe, near Banbury, at 5.30pm on Saturday after his epic adventure.

He was greeted by more than 100 family and friends – and didn’t get to bed until 8am on Sunday after partying the night away.

The former pupil of Chenderit School, Middleton Cheney, said: “It was great to have so many people there. It was a very special day.”

He said he had battled freezing and scorching temperatures, wind and rain, but added: “Having to cope with being on your own for the whole time is the other big challenge.”

Mr Blake worked for a year to save up £14,000 for the journey, leaving home in April 2008.

He lived on £5 a day and relied on strangers to accommodate him and his tent.

“A common theme throughout the whole trip was how kind everyone has been everywhere I went,” he said.

“I stayed with so many families in almost every continent.

“It is always the poorest people that are the ones that are most willing to share.”

Mr Blake pedalled an average of 100km a day and rode through 61 countries – including Zambia, Colombia, Egypt, Sudan and Ecuador.

So far he has raised more than £11,000 for charity SOS Children which will use the cash to help provide a new home for orphaned and abandoned children in Zambia.

He hopes to raise £20,000 in total.

He said: “It’s nice to have set off and done something. It’s a good feeling to be able to look at something like that and say you have done it. I am a lot more confident and happier now.”

Starting from his home, Mr Blake travelled through Europe and Asia to Japan, then the Americas via Alaska and on to Africa.

He met up with dad Bob, 58, in Luxembourg to cycle the final two-week stretch through Belgium and back to Banbury.

And from Reading he was joined by about 30 family and friends.

  • To sponsor Matthew, see worldwidebikeride.com

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