Explorers Connect

Powering an Adventure Revolution

The Big Five-O

EC CommunityJames Hipkiss

In July I'm heading off alone to cycle 12,000 miles through the 50 states of the USA. Ill be on the road for 7 months, cycling 75 miles each day.

Starting in Alaska and ending with Hawaii, I'm loading up a touring bike with everything but the kitchen sink, and taking a very wiggly route across one of the most diverse countries on the globe. This is my first endurance adventure, and I've come to it with a very clear purpose. The aim is to get under the skin of a culture similar to my own, to understand the role that sport plays in the lives of the individual and their community, and alongside this, raise awareness for a chosen charity - Right To Play. So Who am I?A sport loving, ex-international rower - I'm mad-keen on all forms of endurance exercise. I've spent the past 5 years darting around Europe on the hunt for new and exciting endurance events. Ironman, Ultramarathons, Alpine sportives - I've crammed in as much as I can around working life and loved each and every one. Yet I just couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to go that little bit further. So, in the spirit of going big or going home I'm going big (then going home 7 months later). Why this and why now? Being born into a family of sport fanatics and the daughter of two Olympic rowers, I was lucky enough to be inspired at an early age to embrace sport.

Its consistently opened doors and presented so many opportunities, and this is what makes the cause so personal.Outside sporting adventures, I've always loved to travel, and I'm also a keen writer. After 28 years on this wonderful planet, I simply woke up and questioned why I hadn't set out to spend as much of my life as possible doing all the things I love. So here I am, rolling all my hobbies into one big passion-pie, turning aspiration into action. And it feels epic. Why the USA? I'm fascinated by a country that seems hold the rest of the world so neatly in its palm. I've visited countless times, but never really got to see beyond life as a tourist. This time I'd like to get up real close. Weave my way into and through the small towns, immerse myself in areas of natural beauty and truly understand where residents get their national pride. Plus, as a solo female traveller, I thought Id start with somewhere reasonably familiar if only to prevent my mum from having a minor coronary through all the worry (sorry mum). I'm still trying to explain to her that shes not allowed to drive the entire route behind me. Oh Mum. What am I trying to do?Aside from my own personal adventure, I'm keen to gain insight into the passion and lengths that community figures have gone to promote and support cycling within their towns and cities.

This is why I've earmarked cycle friendly communities to visit en route. Governments are doing their thing, pushing initiatives at a national level - I'm gunning to make an impact on a personal level, to take something away from each overnight stop, and leave a little behind in return. Every individual that I manage to excite, inspire or intrigue on the 12,000 miles between here and Hawaii will get me that little bit closer to a mission accomplished.

Check out my site at www.thebigfive-o.com.Follow me on Twitter @thebigfive_oFind me on FB. - www.facebook.com/bigfiveo.

Any questions, thoughts, suggestions - I'd love to hear from you.