November 14, 2012 - Two men from London, who haven't spent much more time on a bike than it takes to commute around town, set off on a cycling journey around the world in honor of a friend who died from a brain tumor.
Oakville residents Diane and Tim Doyle talk with Matthew Andrews and Anthony King, of London, about biking along the Katy Trail while Andrews and King pack up to bike to Lawrence, Kan. King and Andrews are cycling around the world in honor of a friend who died from a brain tumor in 2010. Photo by Kari Williams. (click for larger version)
Roughly 2,500 miles into the trip, they stopped in south county.
Matthew Andrews and Anthony King left London on bike Sept. 2, cycling through France, Spain and Portugal. They flew from Lisbon, Portugal, to the states, arriving Oct. 4, to continue their trek in honor of Tony Young, Andrews' co-worker at London's The King Alfred School.
"He passed away at the age of 41 through a brain tumor," Andrews told the Call, "and his plan was to cycle back to New Zealand to live and set up a new life, but he passed away very rapidly because of a brain tumor back in 2010."
Andrews decided to take on the ride himself, which took about a year to plan, and he said King "crazily agreed to come with."
King and Andrews found themselves in Oakville about two weeks ago with residents Tim and Diane Doyle, after Kara Lapso, Diane's niece, asked if the duo could stay with her aunt and uncle.
Anthony King and Matthew Andrews left London in September to bike around the world in honor of Tony Young, Andrews’ friend and co-worker who died from a brain tumor in 2010. King and Andrews stayed with Oakville residents Diane and Tim Doyle for a week before setting off for Lawrence, Kan. Pictured, from left, are: King, Diane Doyle, Andrews and Tim Doyle. Photo by Kari Williams. (click for larger version)
King and Andrews stayed with the Doyles for about a week, during which they biked along the Meramec and Mississippi rivers.
Tim said it was a "pleasant time" having King and Andrews stay with them.
"We're a country of adventurers. We want to live vicariously through young, inspiring people like ya'll ...," Tim told King and Andrews during an interview with the Call.
Tim also said having the duo around has been an "enlightening experience."
"I've known progressive people my whole life, and it's just very cool to see continuing generations, a couple generations behind me, still voyagers," Tim said.
Andrews and King met Lapso at the sports bar she works at when they cycled through Columbus, Ohio. Lapso said she got to know Andrews and King pretty well and they ended up staying with her roommates and her for a few days.
When Lapso heard the story behind Andrews and King's journey, she said it had a personal connection because her grandmother, who she never knew, died from a brain tumor.
"It's cool because they were doing it for somebody else, and I love that they were doing it in (Tony Young's) honor ...," Lapso said. "It doesn't seem like they're making the trip about themselves at all."
Andrews and King have also been scattering Young's ashes at various points along the way. Andrews said the response to their journey has been "really positive in America."
"Everyone's being really, really generous, overly generous," Andrews said. "Some people let us camp in their back garden, some people buy us coffee or a meal, but everyone's really, really interested in meeting us."
Similarly, King said the majority of people are supportive when they hear what the duo is doing and the reason behind it.
"It all depends on who you meet ...," King said. "People just aren't sure, why are strangers knocking on their door, and we do sometimes get turned away in that respect, but the majority of people have been really kind."
There has also been a lot more interest in the trip than they expected, according to Andrews.
"People a lot more actually really want to find out why we're doing it rather than just finding out where we're going that day," Andrews said. "People actually want to know a lot more about the story..."
Apart from a surfing trip through Europe in 2007, Andrews said he only commuted to work on bike, a distance of about three or four miles, and now King and he try to travel about 70 to 100 miles per day. King said they have about 17,000 miles to go.
Though Young's intent was to cycle to New Zealand and stay there, King and Andrews will continue to London, which they expect will take about 11 months.
"When we get back to London, you probably know as much as I do ...," Andrews said. "There's really no massive plan. Complete the journey first. It seems a long way off."
Before leaving London, Andrews and King raised roughly $10,000 for Brain Tumor UK, an England-based charity that funds brain-tumor research, through a fundraising party, family and friends making donations and children at The King Alfred School hosting bake sales. The duo also has "very small sponsors back in the UK," according to Andrews.
On www.justgiving.com/travellingyoung, Andrews put 15,000 pounds, or roughly $24,000, as a fundraising goal, but he said they just want to raise as much money as possible. To follow their journey or make a donation, visit www.travellingyoung.co.uk or www.twitter.com/TravellingYoung.