The winner of a new bike-packing grant will cycle away with thousands of pounds worth of kit, advice and support.
The grant, which launches this week and will be open for applications later this month, will be available to UK residents between the ages of 18-25 who intend to spend a minimum of six months travelling abroad.
Allen said: “The purpose of the Janapar Grant is to help young people begin a ‘rite-of-passage’-style journey, at a time in their lives when it will benefit them most, and with the fewest possible strings attached.”
Allen is familiar with the benefits of making such a journey, having put his career on hold to cycle through 32 countries on 3 continents in his early twenties.
“The journey changed my life immeasurably and in ways I could never have imagined,” continued Allen. “On returning, I found many others who’d made similar trips. They’d all benefitted from a new perspective on the world, a maturing of character as a result of the challenges overcome, and a heightened appreciation of what’s possible in life.
“With this grant, we hope to evangelise these benefits to the next generation of young people in the UK.”
Mentorship will come from a range of experienced bicycle travellers, including Alastair Humphreys, Emily Chappell, Laura and Tim Moss, and Leon McCarron. All veterans of trans-continental cycling adventures, they will be volunteering their guidance and experience to the successful applicant.
“I'm really excited that this grant will encourage young people to explore the world by bicycle, and to have some of the same experiences that have given me so much,” said Chappell.
Humphreys agreed: “There are few better educations than setting out on a bicycle, with simple equipment and loose plans, to go and explore the world for weeks, months or years.”
‘Janapar’ is the Armenian word for ‘journey’, ‘way’ or ‘road’. This choice of name was inspired by Allen’s experiences while travelling by bicycle in Armenia. ‘Janapar’ is also the title of Allen’s first book and film, released in 2013 and telling the story of his journey.