On June 4, 2012 Sharon and Tim Bridgman set off from the North Cape of Norway to cycle unsupported and self-funded around the world. The husband and wife team from Devon, England were riding to raise awareness and support of ShelterBox, hoping to raise roughly $18,000 for their favorite nonprofit. They rode through Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and East Africa to Capetown in South Africa, passing through 23 countries and covering 25,650 kilometres. They then headed to Ushuaia in the Southern tip of Argentina and rode north passing between Chile and Argentina before reaching Bolivia which at this point covered just under 33,796 kilometres, climbing over 284,000 meters through 26 countries.
On April 26, 2014 in a remote area in south west Bolivia, Sharon was hit by a 4×4 and was killed instantly. Having such a love for life and everyone she met, Tim was devastated at the loss of his wife and best friend. Having the desire to continue to help a charity as important as ShelterBox became even more important with so many losing the ones closest to them in an instant from natural disaster and civil unrest.
Now, two years after Sharon’s passing, Tim is making his journey through California, before heading up to the Pacific Northwest and finally finishing in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. He is in the final few months of this amazing trek around the globe. He has cycled through 39 countries, covered nearly 53,108 kilometres, climbed 500 km (100 km higher than the International Space Station), and has been an inspiration to countless people along the way with his story of hope, loss, courage, and fortitude.
Tim describes this as a ‘personal journey’ that he feels compelled to complete. ‘I need to do it to move on. Friends and family have been so supportive since Sharon died. The accident reminds you that you can lose all that in an instant. Mentally I needed to go back and finish what we started. After Sharon’s death I went back to home and wasn’t prepared to be back there without her. I had left my bike in Bolivia because I knew that I would be back. I took several months off because it was the rainy season in Bolivia and would not have been able to cross the salt flats. In February 2015 I went back to the Andes to train and get back in shape. From there I went back to Bolivia, to the place where Sharon was killed. I brought with me a box of letters from so many people who wrote to me and to Sharon, from people who heard about her death. I buried the box of letters there and from there I started my journey again.’
Tim is 42 years old, a carpenter by trade.
When asked what was it about ShelterBox that motivated he and Sharon to dedicate years of their lives to raise awareness and donations for, Tim said,
What compelled us around ShelterBox was that it didn’t matter who you were, where you came from-the organization helps people who have lost everything in an instant. ShelterBox is amazing in how it uses the goodwill of people to fulfill the mission.
‘So many charities waste money and resources, and you never really know where the donations are going. But with ShelterBox, you see so many people around the world who have lost everything in crisis, benefitting from the work of the organization. People go through life and when disaster happens in an entire area there is no one to turn to. ShelterBox gives help and hope often when governments and armies aren’t able to. ShelterBox gives people dignity and basic supplies, providing a stepping stone to the rebuilding process.’
READ: Tim & Sharon’s Blog detailing their journey around the world.
Tim arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 25, 2016 to begin the last leg of his journey. He will ride from Vancouver through northern BC and through the Yukon, finally crossing over to Alaska on July 1, to end his trek. To support Tim and his journey around the globe for ShelterBox, visit his donation page today.
Tim at the end of his global trek for ShelterBox. Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. July 2016. James’ son biking with Tim in Whitehorse. June 2016. Tim Bridgman with ShelterBox Canada Ambassador, James, and James’ family in Whitehorse. June 2016. Tim Bridgman arriving in Kitiwanga, British Columbia in June 2016. Tim Bridgman with supporters in Lillooet, British Columbia, May 2016.