Sidmouth man reaches South America on year long cycle ride

James Taylor has cycled to South America on his cycle round the world.

James Taylor has cycled to South America on his cycle round the world. - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth tyre fitter, who has spent nearly a year cycling around the globe, is nearing the end of his 18,000 mile journey.

James Taylor has crossed the most dangerous road in Columbia and climbed to heights of 4,900 metres along the Punta Olympica pass through two feet of snow on his bike.

The 35-year-old first spoke to the Herald in October, when he had cycled more than 10,500 miles to China.

Now 345 days into his trek, he has left Asia and crossed the Pacific to take in the sights of North and South America.

While in Lima, the capital of Peru, he saw first-hand how the city was struck by ‘terrible’ floods.

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James said: “Fortunately, I managed to pass through the northern provinces before the flooding got really bad, otherwise my route would have been impassable.

“I was stuck in the capital for three weeks in the end, as the roads to the south were also blocked due to the floods. During this time, the city’s water supply was cut off for a week as a result of the reservoirs becoming contaminated by the overflow of dirty water from the three principal rivers that had burst their banks.

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“It was hard to believe that so much flooding was happening all around when you’re living in sweltering heat in one of the driest cities on the planet.”

After leaving Lima, James was met with harsh weather conditions which he said made for one of his toughest rides.

He said: “During my trip down the desert coastline, I had been experiencing heavy headwinds which I have to say are the most demoralising weather conditions to cycle in.

“Give me a mountain to climb any day of the week, rather that than a terrible headwind where you are pushing and pushing all day, hour after painstaking hour, and after it all you have ridden a fraction of your usual daily mileage.

“You definitely go through moments where you doubt your reasons for taking on such a mammoth challenge, but 95 per cent of the time everything is wonderful and I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to fulfil one of my dreams.”

James, who works for Sidmouth Tyre and Exhaust Ltd, had originally intended to ride the length of the River Danube across Europe, but decided to pursue his dream to cycle the world.

As part of the trip, the Lyme Regis resident is raising money for Children with Cancer UK – a cause his dad has supported over the years.

The next challenge is to pedal to Rio de Janerio, then fly to Morocco before making his way back home through Europe.

James said he has missed his dad’s roast dinners on ‘more than one occasion’ during the trip.

He added: “Of course I miss my family and friends. I love my home, but I think 11 months is not quite long enough for me to be crying myself to sleep at night.”


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