After this record, a cushion please

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2013
World record
DEAN KOZANIC / FAIRFAX NZ
Heath Ling in training for his very long bike ride.

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It will take more than 20,000 kilometres but that's how far one Christchurch man is willing to go to move on from the earthquakes.

Heath Ling is trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous motorcycle trip through a single country next year and raise awareness and money for CanTeen.

"It was about Christmas time last year when I decided I would do it. After the last couple of years in Christchurch, I needed to have an adventure," he says.

"I looked online and worked out a route around the US. It was 17,000km and I thought I could do that in two months.

"Then I just happened to see in a magazine that the world record was about 18,000km, and that set the wheels in motion."

The current world record is 18,301km, held by Mohsin Haq, of India, who rode through all 28 states of his native country in 2011.

Ling's route, beginning in Seattle, Washington, heads down through the southern states and looping back up to Washington, covering 21,098km.

Why the United States?

"To beat the world record, it's got to be a continuous journey without repetition and backtracking.

"The number of countries you can travel around without crossing where you have been are pretty slim. Plus, it's America!"

He expects to encounter the people and wildlife of "real America" on his journey, which will take him to places like Detroit, New Orleans, Yellowstone National Park, Area 51 in Arizona, and Devil's Tower.

He hoped to talk to people working on the Hurricane Katrina recovery in New Orleans.

Ling is planning several events to build up publicity, starting with a boxing match in July.

Boxing training, donated to him by 1 More Round Boxing Fitness Centre on St Asaph St, has been tiring, he says, but it is reassuring knowing that fitter and younger candidates are just as sore as he is.

He is taking suggestions from people on Facebook and Twitter about what other challenges he can do. "I'm sure there are some things that I'm not going to like," he laughs.

However, he says it's preparing him for the greatest challenge ahead.

"Part of the appeal [of the trip] is growing myself. Because if I break down in the middle of nowhere, I can't just ring my mate up. I have to sort it out myself.

"If I can do it, anyone can."

The trip will cost about $25,000, and Ling is currently looking for support and sponsorship, but will probably go ahead with the ride even if he doesn't get it.

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To follow Heath Ling's journey, sponsor him, or donate towards CanTeen, visit heathsodyssey.com

- The Press

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