How old are you? 31, 32 in April   Where are you from? I was born and raised in the small fishing village of Tarbert, located on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland…. Usually when non-Scottish folk approach and ask me of my hometown, they break into a cringe-worthy chorus of the Paul McCartney hit! Maybe I should stick to Glasgow from now on – it will save us both the embarrassment in future 🙂 My family relocated to Helensburgh where I spent the rest of my teen years before doing a runner from the UK in 2004 to chase a life in overseas, haven’t lived there since but am now planning a return.   What is your cycling background? Cycling became a big part of my life whilst living in Ireland around 5 years ago… I was becoming sick and tired of the old and congested public bus transport system linking Dublin (my home at the time). I invested in a second hand La Pierre Hybrid bike and started riding to and from work every day. Quickly it turned into a hobby – I found myself tackling longer distances at the evenings and weekends. A few years later I spent some time living in Melbourne where I owned a single fixie, then Sydney (Road bike) and now Auckland where I ride a CX… On a side note I remember my first ever bike… A yellow and blue Raleigh BMX with stabilisers!   What was your first bikepacking trip? I haven’t been on many to be honest, but my first real bikepacking adventure dates fairly recently to December 2013. I was traveling through Asia and decided to throw a cycling challenge into the works, so I bought a second hand Trek 3700 in Thailand for 300USD. I cable-tied my backpack onto the flatbed pannier and rode 1500km over 20 days from Chiang Mai, into Laos then south down to Bangkok. I arrived in the capital to hundreds of thousands of supporters lined up on the streets celebrating the Kings Birthday. Also raised some cash for charity in the process.20131122_140728_1   What does an average day of Nick Tracey consist of? Nothing overly exciting at the moment I’m afraid. (This will all change in the next 6 weeks once I set off though!) I currently work full time in the travel industry in Auckland. On a typical working day: Wake up, catch up with with family and friends online (most of them live in the -13 hour UK time zone. Morning in NZ is an ideal time to get hold of people). Cycle into work. Make oats with peanut butter, cinnamon and banana for breakfast (great post ride food). Morning work shift then a 45min – 1 hour training ride around Auckland. Afternoon shift then ride home! Most evenings I ride from Auckland city to St Heliers and back (20km). I do spend quite a bit of time planning the trip, routes, mapping, homestays, checking out cycling touring forums. I also like to unwind with a good travel documentary at the end of the day.   You’re riding from New Zealand to Scotland, why did you pick this route? I chose this route based on where I am living now, and where I plan to end up in 6 months down the line (Scotland). I knew I wanted to cycle it so I only had two options of either riding east out of Australia (via the US) or west (through Asia). Having cycled parts of Asia in 2013 I decided to take the eastern route. It’s more simple, less visa hassle, English speaking, better climate. I could have flown straight from New Zealand to the US but decided to throw Oz into the mix and add a few extra KM (4200!)Nick Tracey   What are your start and end locations? NZ: Cape Reinga to Bluff Australia: Perth to Sydney USA – CANADA: Alaska to New York Ireland: Clockwise starting and finishing in Dublin UK: Land End – John O’Groats   What portion of the route are you most excited about? There is a big list to choose from but I am going to have to say… Alaska and the Icefields parkway… Least looking forward to the Australian Nullabour, overpriced food and brutal headwinds!Nick Tracey   Is this more of a cultural trip, drinking beers and chatting, or are you racing yourself? It’s a race against the clock – My main focus is reaching each destination before my connecting flight leaves – saying that I will have plenty of free time to meet people and see places of interest as I pass through! Once I reach Ireland I can slow the pace down if need be as I am much closer to home and have no further flights booked from there to the UK. I much prefer to ride at a faster pace and cover more km’s than an early start and late finish doing half the speed. I have 26 days to complete New Zealand, 40 days from Perth to Sydney and 83 days from Alaska to New York. Completely doable but can’t hang around in any one place for too long which is a shame.   What trips have you done in the past that have given you motivation for more? Last year I backpacked (without a bike) across South America with a close friend of mine. We hammered the continent out in less than three and a half months, cramming in all the big attractions and sites we planned to see… We also spent many hours stuck on long distance coaches just to see these sights, so we had plenty of thinking time! I remember two cycling tourers passed us in the Atacama desert, and that was the defining moment I came up with the idea of cycling 18000km home from New Zealand to Scotland. We learned our lesson from that trip… if we could go back in time and do it over again we would definitely travel at a slower pace.Nick Tracey   What does your bike setup look like? I ride a 54 Cannondale 2014 alloy Synapse on 105 components and a Brooks B17 for comfort. It’s a CX with 700X23 Gatorskins so not ideal for offroad riding in it’s current set up, they can be easily upgraded to larger wheels. Overview Apidura Front Roll Bar Bag and Saddle bag, 2 x top framepost toolbags Bike Bag Dude Custom Built Frame bag Brooks B17 saddle Profile Design Aerobars Hornit 150 Lumens front light In the bags: ORTLIEB Outdoor Equipment 4 litre water sack Marmot Nanowave 55 sleeping bag (680g) Klymit Static V sleeping mat (514g) Exped USA Drybag (orange) and ultralight air pillow (60g) Cooking pots, gas and mini stove Eureka Camping Tents Solitaire bivy tent (1.2kg) Goal Zero Nomad 7 solarpower charger Water filter Go Pro 3 Black Minimal clotheing, space for food, toiletriesNick Tracey   You are raising money for the Mental Health Charity – tell us more about this. SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) are Scotland’s leading mental health charity who offer support to thousands of Scots on a daily basis. SAMH run programs and campaigns encouraging people to become motivated and involved in physical sport and activity. 1 in 4 scots are affected by mental health at some point in their lifetime, whether it be directly linked or through a friend or family member. In addition, two scots on average take their life on a daily basis. Mental health is a huge problem in the UK. SAMH are reducing these figures by promoting positive well-being and positive mental health through activities such as cycling. The funds I raise allow the charity to continue providing their vital services to the public. Cycling is strongly linked to positive mental health, so much so that Sir Chris Hoy has been the key ambassador for SAMH since 2009. I feel proud to be working alongside such a charity that are dedicated to making a positive impact on the Scottish community.   Any supporting crew on this self supported journey that you would like to thank? You asked… so here goes! Firstly I would like to say a massive thank you to each and everyone who has made, or has pledged to making a donation through my justgiving page ( – keep them rolling in, spread the word too! Also would like to thank: Gillian and Seonaid at SAMH for their continued support My sponsors and contributors: Shaun and Amanda and the staff at Jam Jar Kitchens, Tori at Apidura, Kedan and Kath at Bike Bag Dude, Camelbak NZ, Liz at Interislander Ferries, Evolution Cycles in Hamilton for supplying the Cannondale at a great price, and the handful of hotels who have offered a complimentary room and breakfast! Members of the Warmshowers and couchsurfing communities who have kindly offered a place to stay for an evening. I am excited more than anything to know that I am going to meet real, genuine people on this trip who are willing to open their doors to people like me. I hope to make it up to you all one day:) A small handful of well known long distance cyclists out there who have given me inspiration to go the distance… (Most of the following names have no idea who I am, so it might come as a shock if and when they read this article) So big respect to: Alan Bate (the first long distance cyclist I ever met), Breifne Earley, Lee Fancourt, Mark Beaumont, The Trans Am 2014 riders: Billy Rice, Mike Hall, Ed Pickup, Juliana Buhring and Angie Tan! And lastly but most importantly… to all my family and friends, old and new who have supported and believed in me over the years through the good times and the bad – It’s going to be a very long road home… I’ll be needing all the support I can get from you all!    Hope to see you all soon on the road or back home 🙂 @cycleNZtoUK

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