Ok, admit it: there’s nothing you’d love more than to drop your resignation letter on your boss’s desk and go ride around the world. In the Alps or the Pyrenees; in the Americas or Asia; wherever the wind takes you. It’s a dream come true for any passionate cyclist but unfortunately not a realistic scenario. At least, not for most people — two years ago, the Australian Jack ‘Cycles Far’ Thompson decided to do exactly that.
Jack Thompson was once chained to the 9-to-5 mentality, stuck behind a computer screen. As a teenager, he also suffered from mental health issues. Where many would have considered this a disability, Jack managed to convert this negative energy into positive energy. Ultimately, he found a new passion in life: ultra-distance and adventure cycling all over the world.
All of his undertakings are adventurous, and he rides around the world — from well-beaten paths to the most remote places on this earth. And the numbers do not lie: his rides generally vary between being 100- and 400-kilometres long. Last year (2017), Jack traveled a total of 52,000 kilometres on his bike. These are higher annual numbers than most professional cyclists.
Cycling to survive
The question of finances alone would be a deal-breaker for most, precluding such a daring step as to quit your job and pick up a bike. But the Australian came up with a solution. Jack works (read: cycles) for his money. Several brands have joined him, and they sponsor him during his long journeys. Additionally, he organises a number of tours for cycling fans. Together, with a friend and local guides, he offers all-inclusive cycling trips. Previously they’ve taken place in Asia and Australia, but Jack wants to focus more on Europe in the near future. (Good news for The Prologue team here in the Low Countries!)
7-day trip trough the Pyrenees
At the time of writing, Jack and a group of 18 people are riding through the Pyrenees to raise money for Action4Diabetes. The route runs from Barcelona to Toulouse with stages of 100-to-160 kilometres per day (sometimes including 2000-to-2500 meters of climbing). They’re raising money for diabetes medication for children in third world countries. Typically, Jack is on the bike with the group, but has had to join the first few days from the support car — an asthma attack kept him off the bike. Meanwhile, he shared via his Insta that his legs are spinning again.
Anyone who would love to live for a day as Mr “Cycles Far” can register on his website for one of his adventure tours. And, believe it or not, you do not have to cycle 52,000 kilometres a year; tours are accessible to everyone. Does Jack’s life sound like music to your ears? Perhaps it’d be an idea to get a taster first, before diving into the deep end.