Globe-Trekking Cyclist Here
Globe-Trekking Cyclist Here To Test Kiwis' Generosity
A British school teacher who has cycled through some of the toughest parts of the world raising funds to fight breast cancer, will begin to ride the length of New Zealand this week.
Since leaving San Francisco in January 2000, 28-year-old Martin Burder, has biked 26,000 kilometres around the world. Along the way, he has raised funds for breast cancer charities in each of the countries he has visited.
In New Zealand, Martin is riding for The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, and will leave for Cape Reinga on Wednesday. The New Zealand stage of the journey, expected to take up to three months, will complete the odyssey from San Francisco to Stewart Island, which has often been travelled with only his penguin mascot for company. At other times friends have joined him for part of the way.
"Breast cancer has been close to my heart in recent years, and during my travels I have seen the impact it has on others," says Martin. "One evening in Scotland, a rather menacing-looking skinhead came marching towards me. The tattooed man looked like he wanted to beat me up, but instead he handed me a five-pound note and softly whispered 'thank you'.
"I have been so touched by the reactions of others. If I can raise funds whilst fulfilling my dream, then everyone can benefit."
He refuses to set a target on fundraising. Instead he places no expectations on the population of the country he's visiting. He will accept donations from people who stop him during his travels.
"In this way every dollar the charity receives will be a wonderful gift."
Foundation Manager, Helen Mawn, says Martin Burder has done much for breast cancer awareness world wide.
"That one person should make such a commitment to raising money and awareness for a cause, is fantastic," she says. "I sincerely hope that New Zealanders will open their hearts to Martin as he travels around the country. He has some amazing stories to tell of his travels."
After crossing the United States and Europe, Martin biked through South East Turkey (Kurdistan), Iran, Pakistan (with a detour North to cycle along the famed Karakoram Highway), India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, and then into Singapore.
Martin Burder says: "Crossing Australia was the toughest part of the trip. With over 600km between towns, water becomes critical, and in the 45 degree heat dehydration can kill some people. It was so hot I had to ride at night."
Carrying more than 10 litres on certain sections, he often had to rely on the generosity of drivers to provide further water supplies.
Martin has given his bike a rest along the way. In Nepal he did some volunteer teaching in a village school, and in Calcutta he spent time at Mother Teresa's hospice.
"Of course it was distressing, but I didn't have the worst job. Some people are assigned to seek out dying people on the streets, ask them if they'd agree to be taken to the Hospice, and then physically carry them to a bed. Most do but some say 'thank you but I'd rather die here'".
In Northern India he stayed a while in Dharamsala, meditating and studying to become a Reiki Master (Reiki is the ancient Japanese art of healing through touch). There he also met the Dalai Lama, who invited him to his birthday party.
Martin Burder is hoping to address community groups and schools throughout New Zealand. Those interested in hearing him speak should contact him on the below address.
Messages of support can be sent to email@example.com and his route and progress can be tracked on the Foundation's website www.nzbcf.org.nz