Honorary Doctorate of Education (The University of Western Australia)
Scout Ambassador (Australia)
Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (UK)
Member of the Explorers Club (New York)
Bachelor of Physical Education, Graduate Diploma of Education (UWA)
As an explorer/adventurer, I have cycled the equivalent distance of twice around the world at the Equator. My three main achievements include;
Breaking the Cycle Expedition – a ten month, 22,040km journey across Africa from Point des Almadies, Senegal to Cape Hafun, Puntland, Somalia in a continuous line. Completed on August 16th 2010, we believe this is a world first achievement. The main purpose of the project was to explore the causes and effects of extreme poverty emphasising the positives; how to offer a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘hand out’.
Previous expeditions include the 25,000km Great Australian Cycle Expedition (GRACE) and the 13,400km Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition.
The purpose of the GRACE expedition was to highlight and contribute towards the importance of education for sustainable development. The nine month journey included 7000km offroad on remote desert tracks. The most arduous was the first bicycle crossing of the Canning Stock Route (CSR) by a woman. The CSR is 1800km long with approximately 1000 sand dunes.
The aim of the five month 1993 Trans-Siberian Cycle expedition from St Petersburg to Vladivostok was to aid the 800,000 children of Chernobyl. This is also believed to be the first unsupported bicycle crossing on the ‘new’ Russia by a woman.
The Australian and African expeditions were ‘Official Activities’ for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
In 2007 I published my first book, Out There and Back, the story of the 25,000km Great Australian Cycle Expedition.
In September/October 2014 I released a book and, in partnership with Lateral Vision Productions, a feature documentary, both titled Njinga. The film won Best Documentary, Best Cinematography and was runner-up for Best Director at the Action on Film International Film Festival in LA. We are now cutting a TV series (10×24 minutes). I also give speeches about my experiences to corporates, schools and interested groups.
My latest venture, Breaking the Cycle South Pole will be a supported attempt to be the first person to cycle across the Antarctic continent via the South Pole.
To complement the expedition, I am in the process of creating the Breaking the Cycle Foundation to perpetuate the values of my expeditions, not just for her African and Antarctic ventures, but also for future projects.
Breaking the Cycle Foundation
VISION: Tomorrow’s leaders understand the world from every perspective
MISSION: Inspiring people to explore the real world to learn how it fits together and how we fit within it
IMPACT: Informed decisions from our future leaders to create a better world
To begin with, the Foundation will bring together my primary motives for Breaking the Cycle South Pole; to raise funds for community development initiatives and awareness of the poverty-related issues I learned so much about during my previous Breaking the Cycle in Africa expedition and to contribute toward developing the next generation of leaders.
The Breaking the Cycle Foundation is in development, but it is intended that it be up and running towards the end of 2016, before the start of the Breaking the Cycle South Pole expedition.
I am now focused on raising the sponsorship support to make BTC South Pole a reality. Dimension Data, World Expeditions, Australian Geographic, Aldersley Capital, Christini Technologies, Mont Australia, Ibis Cycles, VEE Tire Company, Revelate Designs, Hilleberg Tents, Wilderness Wear, Ride Mechanic and HiQCell and several private sponsors are my major sponsors to date. The World Expeditions partnership included a national speaking tour in June 2015 and I will be leading a high altitude cycle journey in the Indian Himalaya in June 2016.
In between expeditions I work as a real tennis professional (currently at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club). I have won 5 Australian Open singles titles and 6 doubles titles, and have achieved a highest ranking of World No.2 woman player.1. Australian Open 2012; 2&3. British Open 2007; 4. World Championships 2007.
All UK photos by J Gilmore; Australian photo by D Grant