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 in Africa 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 off-road 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 of 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.
Breaking the Cycle OUTREACH
Breaking the Cycle will serve to build on my commitment to contribute towards ending extreme poverty and education. These outreach initiatives support Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 4 (Quality Education) and 5 (Gender Equality) which in turn can positively affect all other SDGs.
The Breaking the Cycle education programme aims to help prepare our future leaders to make informed decisions to create a better world. Students and Scouts across the globe will be able to follow my preparatory activities and Antarctic expedition and partake in virtual learning presentations with the end goals of creating their own activities with the option of raising funds for YGAP.
YGAP – Breaking the Cycle
I have partnered with YGAP (Y Generation Against Poverty). YGAP is on a mission to significantly improve the lives of one million people living in poverty by 2018. It finds, accelerates, supports and grows early stage entrepreneurial ventures run by local leaders with solutions to poverty in their communities through it’s Spark accelerator programme. Money raised by the Breaking the Cycle project will go towards ventures in Kenya and South Africa that support and improve access to education.
I am now focused on raising the sponsorship support to make BTC South Pole a reality. Hellgeth, Dimension Data, Chris and Sara Reston, Noel O’Brien, Simone Yeo, World Expeditions, Australian Geographic, Aldersley Capital, Christini Technologies, Mont Australia, Velocio, Ibis Cycles, VEE Tire Company, Revelate Designs, Hilleberg Tents, Wilderness Wear, Overland Journal, Swisse Wellness, Julbo, The Heat Company, Ride Mechanic, Winning Spirit, HiQCell and several private contributors are my major sponsors to date. The World Expeditions partnership included a national speaking tour in June 2015.
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