Couple cycle 12,500 miles through 25 countries to celebrate recovery from cancer

Gabriella and Chris set off on their adventure after Gabriella completed treatment for cancer (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)

When Gabriella Gratrix, 47, survived a double mastectomy and chemotherapy following a cancer diagnosis, she knew how she wanted to celebrate.

Gabrielle and her partner Chris O’Hare decided to set off on a seven-year bike ride riding across every content, travelling 12,500 miles through 25 countries.

The pair have already pedalled through Europe and Western Asia, ending up in Vietnam, and plan to tackle Australasia and America next.

Eventually they plan to brave the hostile conditions of Antarctica before finishing up in Africa in 2025.

The adventure began in July 2018 after Gabrielle completed chemotherapy.

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.

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

Gabriella Gratrix ringing the all-clear bell in 2017 (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)

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 give her chemotherapy.

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.

The couple are raising money for the Prevent Breast Cancer charity,  which supported them throughout the ordeal.

Gabriella in Croatia (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)
In Melton Mowbray (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)

Gabriella, 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.”

Gabriella and Chris, 44, a former businessman, 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.

Cycling through Turkey (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)
In Tajikstan (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)
Chris in Croatia (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)

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

The couple journeyed along the Pamir Highway, a road going through mountainous terrain in Central Asia.

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

‘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.

The couple in Italy (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)
They spend every night in a tent (Picture: Chris O’Hare / SWNS)

While on their journeys they spend each night in a tent, which they carry on their backs while they cycle.

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 South Africa, before they cross the finish line in the island of Madagascar off the coast of East Africa.

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