Dorking teacher returns from 10,000-mile charity cycle
A TEACHER who cycled 10,000 miles across Asia for charity has returned home after more than a year in the saddle.
Olivia Blockey left Dorking in 2010 to live and work in Australia before deciding to take on the challenge of cycling from Bali in Indonesia, to Beijing, China, on her journey home.
The 28-year-old was joined on the trip by her boyfriend Robin Dent and the marathon pedal raised £1,000 for SolarAid, a charity which encourages the use of sustainable energy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking to the Advertiser after arriving back at her Knoll Road home on Thursday, Ms Blockey said: "It was absolutely fantastic to come back to see Dorking blanketed in snow.
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"It looked so picturesque and made me realise what I had left behind. But it was so satisfying taking on such a big challenge, especially for a worthwhile cause."
The former Ashcombe School pupil added: "The best bit was seeing a portion of the world so different to what we know. Whether it was going from the tropics to the mountains, it was fun to explore."
The pair visited eight different countries on their challenge, which lasted 15 months, cycling around the volcanoes of Indonesia, through the jungles of Malaysia and skirting the mountains of Laos and Tibet.
Opting to travel only by "sustainable means", they resorted to alternative transport only as a last resort, and spent up to eight hours each day cycling.
Mr Dent, from Staffordshire, said: "What really struck us about the whole trip was how hospitable the people were. In Malaysia we were trying to find somewhere to camp and this man in a restaurant offered to take us back to his home. We met his family, spent the week with him and even went to his friend's wedding."
Ms Blockey said: "It wasn't all fun, though. Waking up early every morning to cycle was tough. There were different things to contend with in each country, as they are all so different. Good food was impossible to find in Indonesia, while in Thailand you could not go 20 minutes without being chased by a pack of dogs. It was quite frightening at times."
To find out more about the trip, or to donate to the pair's appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/Bali2Beijing