Two years ago, former Castleford teacher Chris Gruar left Leeds town centre on a mammoth cycle ride destined for his hometown of Sydney.
After more than 27 months in the saddle, the Castleford Academy supply teacher has reached home ground and has raised nearly $30,000 for Worldwide Cancer Research.
Chris’ 43,000km journey took him through more than 40 different countries and involved stealth camping and experiencing culture from across the globe.
Chris, 28, first followed the trenches of World War One before detouring to the Arctic Circle and zig-zagging across Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
He then travelled through Turkey and Iran, across central Asia and into China, Southeast Asia and Bali before flying to Australia where he battled through the desert to make it to Sydney.
Chris said: “The highlights for me include camping next to reindeer in the Arctic Circle, exploring the Silk Road and battle sites from the perspective of a bicycle, stealth camping out in the vast deserts of Asia and enjoying impromptu homestays in yurts, temples, and mosques across the world.
“I raised money for the Worldwide Cancer Research charity as cancer is a global problem and I feel it requires a worldwide response. I lost my mum to cancer at the age of two so cancer has always had an effect on my life.
“As a history teacher, I also felt that it was important to explore the diverse cultures of the world and collect tales for the classroom.
“Before leaving I was teaching in Yorkshire, and the communities really got behind the fundraising; staff and pupils were incredibly supportive.
“I was also overwhelmed with the hospitality I received throughout my trip, especially from strangers who I encountered on the street as I travelled through non-English speaking countries.
“Most of the time I spent in the countryside, stealth camping and cooking my own meals well off the tourist path but when I did interact with locals it was extremely authentic, with the people supporting me out of curiosity or sense of obligation through their culture.
“Through my website, www.cycling4cancer.com, I gained followers throughout the world who encouraged me through the hardship and challenging setbacks along the way.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to know that it was my own legs that took me across the world, especially as it was self-funded and unsupported.
“After so long on the bike it becomes a way of life, so it’s going to take many months of transitioning back to life in suburban Sydney.”
To donate to Chris’ cause, visit www.justgiving.com/chriscycling4cancer.