TWO amateur adventurers are to set off on a gruelling 2500-mile cycle across Japan this summer and they’ve enlisted the help of a famed round-the- world cyclist.
Scots adventurer Mark Beaumont is, at present, preparing for his second attempt at crossing the Atlantic in under 30 days but this hasn’t stopped him finding the time to offer some advice and tips to students Keith Marin, 22, and Robbie Atkinson, 21.
The pair, who live in the Old Town, will be cycling the length of the south-east Asian country to raise money for orphanages near the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
A 12-mile exclusion zone remains in place around the plant but the pair plan to get as near as possible to the now-nuclear ghost town.
Keith, who works part-time at the family business Thomas Marin & James Scott funeral directors, said: “I expect it to be very poignant especially considering we will be there raising money for orphanages affected by the disaster.
“Radiation levels are quite low now but we still won’t be hanging around there long.”
Mark Beaumont isn’t the only famous Scot they’ve roped in to aid their cause either, Chris Hoy has sent them a signed photograph while Liverpool FC donated a jersey signed by Charlie Adam.
Both prizes will be auctioned at an upcoming club night the pair plan to hold in April.
Former George Heriot’s pupil Keith, who now studies English Literature at the University of Glasgow, explained: “I contacted Mark Beaumont through Facebook and was amazed to get a long reply offering loads of great tips and technical advice.
“He’s busy preparing for his Atlantic rowing challenge at the moment but said that he’ll get in touch when he gets back.”
The pair depart Edinburgh for Tokyo on June 23, their journey will then take them to the northern island of Hokkaido, before they turn southwards and cycle the length of Japan to the southern port city of Kagoshima. They will return to Tokyo by train for their flight home on August 2.
Keith said: “We began planning a trip to Japan back in June 2010 but following the earthquake and tsunami last year we decided to raise some money as well.”
Every penny raised by the big-hearted pair will be donated to the Tohoku Kids Project, a joint endeavour between two Japanese charities: Smile Kids Japan and Living Dreams.
Keith added: “We’ve been assured that all the money we raise will go straight to these projects immediately.
“At present we’ve raised almost £2000 but we have a events such as a club night planned to raise the full amount.”
Their journey takes place during the hottest, most humid time of year in Japan so they have been following a strenuous fitness regime to ensure that they can cycle for ten hours a day.
Keith said: “It’s going to be a gruelling experience but also really worthwhile.”
Anyone wishing to donate or become involved can contact Keith at email@example.com or visit www.cyclejapan.moonfruit.com