They’ll face dehydration, fatigue, snakes and sand, but University of Waikato students Tim Chittock and his girlfriend Maddie Hansen, along with Tim’s younger brother Hugh, reckon it will be worth it to raise awareness for epilepsy.
Raising awareness for epilepsy
The trio plan to cycle from Australia’s most eastern to most western point in January, covering 5900kms and hopefully setting a world record for the distance. They will leave Byron Bay on 7 January, travel through Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, across the Nullabor Plain to Kalgoorlie, then to Perth and finish up in Denham.
“This trip will be pretty bare bones kind of stuff,” says Tim. “We just want to do it to raise awareness for epilepsy, which my brother Hugh had from the age of three.”
The trip is something of a family affair with the Chittock’s dad Richard helping out with airfares and taking on the role of support crew. Tim says the trip is mostly self-funded and “has a real DIY feel to it”.
As part of his role as support-person, Richard will be driving Tim’s 1993 Holden Vectra towing a home-built trailer in which there is a bed and bunk system and a pull-out kitchen. This will be their home as they cross the continent.
Hoping to set a world record
“We’ve been planning the crossing since February 2013,” Tim says. “And we’re hoping to set a world record, so we’ll have a GPS code and send photos to Guinness Book of World Records from each end of the trip.”
To combat summer temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius, Tim, Maddie and Hugh will be riding from 4am to about 10am, then from 4pm to 8pm to avoid the worst of the heat.
“We aim to ride 200km a day, hoping to cover the distance in 28-34 days. We’ll be drinking about 15 litres of water and burning about 8000 calories each day.”
The Chittocks are originally from Ohakune, and Maddie, studying for a Bachelor of Science, is from Levin.
In 2013 Tim, who is studying for a Bachelor of Laws and Economics, and friend Mark Perry cycled from Cape Reinga to Bluff in The Long Way Down, again raising awareness for epilepsy. They have plans, along with two others, to attempt an Atlantic crossing in a rowing boat in 2016.