THE journey of a lifetime has taken a Hockley man from America’s east coast to its west, by bicycle.
Paul Dunt, 49, rode the 4,260 miles from Virginia to Oregon with cycling buddy Terry Wooller, taking in 11 states.
The pair averaged 60 miles a day, starting in Virginia Beach on May 7, only taking a rest day when the weather meant their tired legs could go no further in energy-sapping heat, and finishing in Florence, Oregon, on July 22.
The pair weren’t just riding for fun as they were raising money for Cancer Research UK in tribute to Paul’s father-in-law, who died from cancer, and in support of his mother, who is battling the disease.
Paul said: “We’ve seen amazing landscapes, met some of the most generous people imaginable – and made friendships with fellow cyclists which will last a lifetime.”
Paul and Terry, 60, from Norwich, both worked for the BBC and had been planning the trip for more than a year.
Paul was made redundant, so took the opportunity to fulfil his dream and spend two months cycling across America.
They also wrote a blog to catalogue their adventure as they went along.
In his final post, Paul wrote: “It ended as it began – with Terry and I ankle deep in the cold waters of an ocean. Except this time it wasn’t the Atlantic, but 4,264 miles to the west in the Pacific. We turned to each other, shook hands and smiled.”
Spending most nights in campsites, Paul and Terry met numerous other cyclists along the way, riding long stretches with their new acquaintances.
Now spending some time in Canada with their wives, Paul and Terry will never forget their journey, but some days were more memorable than others.
Paul wrote on his day ten blog about being chased by wild dogs.
He wrote: “There was something about their speed and demeanour and we instantly knew this wasn’t our usual encounter. One of the dogs had hold of my bike and I yelled to Terry in blind panic.
“Terry, riding round on my outside, fired a blast from the dog dazer and instantly my bike shot forward. I’d been saved by my wingman, Iceman Wooller.”
Eloise Dunt, Paul’s daughter, was proud of her dad's achievement.
She said: “Everyone has known or lost someone personally to cancer and there are so many different types, so they chose Cancer Research UK.
“They’re both very ambitious guys, so as big a challenge as this was, I think they’ll be looking for their next adventure soon.”
For more information on Paul and Terry’s trip, visit www.best bybike.com and donate to their cause.