London, Oct 4 (IANS) It took five months, but a 29-year-old British charity fundraiser arrived home on Sunday five months after starting a gruelling cycle ride from China.
Andrew Rogerson was cheered as he cycled towards the famous River Mersey waterfront in Liverpool at midday to complete a 17,000-km journey that took him across 17 countries, Xinhua reported.
The man departed from the Chery Jaguar Land Rover factory in Changshu in China, in May and set off for home, travelling alone.
Setting a target of 100 km a day, Rogerson headed from the Yangtze River Delta towards Beijing and then towards the Chinese border along the famous Silk Road. Most nights he slept in a small tent by the roadside.
His bosses at Jaguar Land Rover agreed to give him five months leave of absence to undertake his cycle ride to raise money for a blood cancer charity, the Anthony Nolan Trust.
He set a target of raising around $4,500, but as he arrived in the shadow of Liverpool’s famous Royal Liver Building, the amount pledged had passed more than $25,000 and is still rising.
In his blogs along the journey, Rogerson admitted he was feeling fatigued as he headed towards Europe, hoping his arrival in his home continent would give him an energy lift.
After crossing the finishing line, cheered and welcomed by hundreds of well-wishers, he was cycling again, this time to the famous Goodison Park football stadium where neighbours Everton and Liverpool were meeting in a local Premiership clash. He rode onto the pitch to be greeted by fans of both teams.
A newspaper in Liverpool has awarded Rogerson its annual “Pride of Merseyside” honour as a reward for his money-raising adventures.
His journey from China was described as “one man, his bike and a sense of humour”.
At the finishing line, Rogerson told Xinhua: “It has been an incredible journey, with highs and lows along the way, but today with so a fantastic welcome home, I will only be thinking of the high points. People all along the route have been amazing, from China, to all of the countries I have crossed along the way.”
He said he planned to join friends to watch the football match in a Liverpool public house, enjoying a few pints of British beer.
About his next adventure, Rogerson said: “I am already working on that and need to ask my employer if they will give me two months leave. I want to row across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to North America.”