Couple celebrate beating cancer with seven-year round-the-world bike ride from Manchester to Africa


A globe-trotting couple has said ‘on ‘yer bike’ to cancer by embarking on a 62,000-mile round-the-world cycle ride to 67 countries.  

Gabriella Gratrix and Chris O’Hare began their journey in Manchester in July 2018 and have already pedalled 12,500 miles through Europe and Western Asia to end up in far-flung Vietnam to celebrate Gabriella recovering from breast cancer. 

The pair plan to continue into Australasia then the Americas and, eventually, they will brave the ultra-hostile conditions of Antarctica to finish up in Africa in around 2025.

Gabriella Gratrix and Chris O’Hare in Tajikistan, a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

Gabriella Gratrix and Chris O’Hare in Tajikistan, a country in Central Asia surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

Gabriella is pictured in Croatia. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, just weeks before she and Chris were due to embark on a world cycle tour that had been years in the planning

Gabriella is pictured in Croatia. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, just weeks before she and Chris were due to embark on a world cycle tour that had been years in the planning

Pictured are Gabriella and Chris in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey, a popular location for hot air ballooning

Pictured are Gabriella and Chris in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey, a popular location for hot air ballooning

This shot shows Gabriella and Chris in China. Prior to arriving here, the couple had tackled Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

This shot shows Gabriella and Chris in China. Prior to arriving here, the couple had tackled Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

So far Gabriella and Chris have spent just over 18 months cycling from the UK to Vietnam. Their route is mapped out above

So far Gabriella and Chris have spent just over 18 months cycling from the UK to Vietnam. Their route is mapped out above

By the end of their adventure, the couple will have been on the road for a massive seven years.

Gabriella was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, just weeks before she and Chris were due to embark on a world cycle tour that had been years in the planning. 

Her intensive course of treatment meant their arrangements were put on the back burner so doctors could perform a double mastectomy and put her on to chemo.

Barely 12 months after the diagnosis Gabriella was in recovery and she set off on a world tour with Chris from The Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, where she was treated.   

Pictured is Gabriella in hospital. Doctors had to perform a double mastectomy and she had to go through chemotherapy

Twelve months after the first diagnosis Gabriella was in recovery and embarking on a world tour with Chris

Pictured is Gabriella in hospital. Doctors had to perform a double mastectomy and she had to go through chemotherapy. Twelve months after the first diagnosis Gabriella was in recovery

Chris and Gabriella pose for a photo as they take a break from their bike ride in Italy. Talking about their decision to take the tour, Gabriella said: 'At the end of my treatment we knew we needed to do something big'

Chris and Gabriella pose for a photo as they take a break from their bike ride in Italy. Talking about their decision to take the tour, Gabriella said: ‘At the end of my treatment we knew we needed to do something big’

Gabriella said: ‘At the end of my treatment we knew we needed to do something big.

‘We both love travelling and cycling so decided to set off on this amazing journey around the world.’

She added: ‘It’s definitely tough but we’re having the most incredible time.’ 

The couple, who are from Thistleton, near Preston, Lancashire, is raising money for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity, which supported them throughout the ordeal.

Gabriella, who is a seamstress, said: ‘The people there became like members of our own family, they were absolutely amazing.

‘I want to give back what I can and I think raising money through this cycle ride is a great way of doing that.’ 

Chris and Gabriella's bikes in Turkey. From here the couple entered Asia, where they experienced some of the most hostile weather conditions to date

Chris and Gabriella’s bikes in Turkey. From here the couple entered Asia, where they experienced some of the most hostile weather conditions to date

Chris and Gabriella pose for a selfie as they enter Turkey. The couple is raising money for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity

Chris and Gabriella pose for a selfie as they enter Turkey. The couple is raising money for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity

Her and Chris, 44, a former businessman, were no strangers to travel before setting off and had previously completed 3,000-mile tours through Europe and Southeast Asia.

After leaving Manchester and cycling to the south coast, the pair got a ferry to France and pedalled across Western Europe before ending up in the Balkans.

The couple then entered Asia through Turkey, which is where they experienced some of the most hostile weather conditions to date – enduring temperatures of well below zero.

They then went through a number of countries far off the beaten track including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

It was during this period they traversed the Pamir Highway, which is a spectacular road going through mountainous terrain in Central Asia.

Chris takes a selfie on his bike while cycling through Croatia. The couple travelled here from Italy and moved on to Greece

Chris takes a selfie on his bike while cycling through Croatia. The couple travelled here from Italy and moved on to Greece

The couple's camp in North Yorkshire at the very start of their trip. They set off from The Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, where Gabriella was treated for breast cancer

The couple’s camp in North Yorkshire at the very start of their trip. They set off from The Nightingale Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, where Gabriella was treated for breast cancer

Chris is pictured in Vietnam. The couple is currently taking a rest here before heading on to Southeast Asia and the likes of Nepal, India and Pakistan before getting a ferry to Japan

Chris is pictured in Vietnam. The couple is currently taking a rest here before heading on to Southeast Asia and the likes of Nepal, India and Pakistan before getting a ferry to Japan

Chris said: ‘So far that has been the most spectacular place we have been, the views were unbelievable.’

While travelling through this part of the world, which is not considered a tourist destination, the couple ran into a spot of trouble from local law enforcement.

Chris said: ‘At one point we were in our tent and woke up to find about 30 soldiers with guns surrounding us.

‘It was quite alarming but luckily we gave them a nice smile and things went smoothly in the end.’ 

The couple then travelled through China into Taiwan and then Vietnam, which is where they’re currently resting up.

Remarkably, they spend almost every night in a tent which they carry on their backs.

Chris takes a selfie with a camel in Kazakhstan. This leg of the trip also saw the couple traverse the Pamir Highway, which is a spectacular road going through mountainous terrain in Central Asia

Chris takes a selfie with a camel in Kazakhstan. This leg of the trip also saw the couple traverse the Pamir Highway, which is a spectacular road going through mountainous terrain in Central Asia

The couple's tent is shown here in Uzbekistan. Chris said: “We just pitch up wherever we want, which is much easier than trying to find a hostel or something like that”

The couple’s tent is shown here in Uzbekistan. Chris said: ‘We just pitch up wherever we want, which is much easier than trying to find a hostel or something like that’

Gabriella and Chris pictured in Melton Mowbray, UK, at the start of their trip. Talking about the trip to date Gabriella said: “It’s definitely tough but we’re having the most incredible time”

Gabriella and Chris pictured in Melton Mowbray, UK, at the start of their trip. Talking about the trip to date Gabriella said: ‘It’s definitely tough but we’re having the most incredible time’ 

Chris said: ‘We just pitch up wherever we want, which is much easier than trying to find a hostel or something like that.’

The pair’s journey will continue through Southeast Asia into countries to the west including Nepal, India and Pakistan before getting a ferry to Japan.

After travelling through Australia, New Zealand and the Americas they will take on the toughest challenge of the lot, by traversing the hostile terrain of Antarctica.

Chris said: ‘That is going to be an incredible journey and the biggest challenge of all.

‘Because of the terrain we won’t be able to cycle the whole way but we’ll definitely get on our bikes for the bits we can.’

The penultimate leg of their journey will be in South Africa before they cross the finish line on the island of Madagascar off the coast of East Africa.

To donate to their cause and read more about their story you can visit their website



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