Australia's Cycling Adventurer: Kate Leeming

Looking for water near where Lasseter passed away on Irving Creek | Kate Leeming
Looking for water near where Lasseter passed away on Irving Creek | Kate Leeming

Australia's Cycling Adventurer: Kate Leeming

Before you read about Kate Leeming we need a disclaimer: adventures mean different things to different people. For some, discovering Capertee Valley by bike, home to the world's second-largest canyon (bigger than the Grand Canyon!), is a fun adventure. For others, cycling from Mount Kosciuszko, at the top of Australia, down to the glittering coastline at Tathra, is a rewarding adventure.
For Kate Leeming, one of her incredible adventures was to cycle a 25,000km loop around Australia in order to promote the importance of education for sustainable development. 
Kate cycles the Buchanan Highway on the way to Victoria River Downs Station |  <i>Kate Leeming</i>
Pretty incredible! And her adventures don't come with comfortable accommodation, an optional e-bike, and all the logistics handled by the Australian Cycle Tours team.
>> We have a couple of copies of Kate's book, Out There and Back, about her Australian cycling expedition, to give away to 2 lucky members of the Australian Cycle Tours community. Subscribe now (it's free!) and be in it to win it. The prize was drawn in June 2022.* Congratulations to Mark and Val who won the book giveaway.

About Kate Leeming

As an explorer/adventurer, Kate has cycled a distance greater than twice around the world at the Equator. On August 16th 2010 she became the first person to cycle an unbroken line from Africa’s most westerly to its most easterly points; from Pointe des Almadies, Senegal to Cape Hafun, Puntland, Somalia.

Kate Leeming

Cycling 22,040 km over ten months, Kate’s Breaking the Cycle in Africa Expedition was not only a physical quest but an odyssey to highlight the development needs and activities of war-torn and poverty-stricken nations.

Cycling through twenty countries, Kate aimed to find out what is being done to give a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘hand out’ – to shine a positive light on the issues, cultures and geography of Africa.

In June 2019, Kate completed another original expedition when she became the first person to cycle the entire Namibian coastline, a 1621km sand cycling expedition from the mouth of the Kunene River on the Angolan border to the Orange River mouth on the South African border.

Kate has two earlier world firsts under her belt – the Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition (1993) when she became the first woman to cycle across the new Russia unsupported (aiding the children of Chernobyl), and the 25,000km Great Australian Cycle Expedition (2004/05) which included the first bicycle crossing of the Canning Stock Route by a woman.
Kate pushes a 50kg load through the sands of the Gunbarrel Highway |  <i>Kate Leeming</i> Crossing the saline Savory Creek, the main source of water for Lake Disappointment, the Canning Stock Route |  <i>Kate Leeming</i> Battling endless corrugations on the Tanami Track |  <i>Kate Leeming</i>

Kate’s latest challenge, Breaking the Cycle South Pole, will result in the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent via the South Pole (2022).

The Breaking the Cycle education programme aims to help prepare our future leaders to make informed decisions to create a better world. Students across the globe can follow her preparatory activities and Antarctic expedition and partake in the Breaking the Cycle Education learning modules and lessons with the end goals of creating their own projects.

In March 2016, The University of Western Australia awarded Kate an Honorary Doctor of Education degree for services to education and community. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (UK), a member of The Explorers Club (New York), an Honorary Advisor for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and a Scout Ambassador. Kate’s Australian and African expeditions were Official Activities for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNESCO).

In 2014, Kate’s documentary Njinga won two awards at the Action on Film International Film Festival in Los Angeles – best cinematography and best documentary (sport). Njinga, Kate’s second book, complements the documentary; her first, Out There and Back, chronicles the Australian expedition. Kate’s latest production, a 4-part TV series about the Namibian expedition, Diamonds in the Sand, has been broadcast around the world (National Geographic Asia, Outside TV).
Njinga: Breaking the Cycle in Africa Out There and Back, The Story of the 25000-km Great Australian Cycle Expedition

In between expeditions, Kate works as a 'real' tennis professional. She has won 5 Australian Open singles titles and been ranked as high as world number 2 woman.

Kate grew up with her two sisters and two brothers on a wheat and sheep farm near Northam in Western Australia, about 130km east northeast of Perth. After attending Northam Primary School, she boarded at Perth College during her secondary schooling and went on to study for a Bachelor of Physical Education and Graduate Diploma of Education at The University of Western Australia before beginning her travels.  After spending 11 years living in the UK and France, Kate returned to Australia, this time to Melbourne where she now lives, working part time as a senior professional at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club.
This biography was taken from Kate Leeming's Breaking the Cycle website.

> Kate's current adventure is in South America, where she's taking on the Andes, the Altiplano & the Atacama. This journey sees her cycle from Cusco, Peru, across the Altiplano in Bolivia and Chile and the Argentinian Puna de Atacama to Ojos del Salado, the world's highest volcano. She'll cover a distance of 5,000km in just 56 days. Learn more about this journey and follow her trip.

*Want to win a copy of Out There and Back? We have a couple of copies of Kate's book to give away to 2 lucky members of the Australian Cycle Tours community. Subscribe now (it's free!) and be in it to win it. The prize was drawn in June 2022. Congratulations to Mark and Val who won the book giveaway.

Read excerpts from Out There and Back.

> Cycling the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia

> Cycling the Tanami Track in the Northern Territory

> Read an interview with Kate Leeming from World Expeditions

Great Australian Cycle Expedition trailer

Watch this footage from Kate's journey to get a feel for the harsh terrain and conditions she was dealing with while crossing Australia.
Read about Kate's adventures:
> Out There and Back. The story of the 25 000-km Great Australian Cycle Expedition. Get your copy as a physical book or digital book, from only $10.
> Njinga. The story of Kate's astonishing 22,000-kilometre trek by bicycle across Africa.  This is more than a story of mental grit and physical endurance – it’s a story of hope. Get your copy of the book.
Donate to support Kate's adventures and educational endeavours:
Follow Kate's adventures on social media:

Were you inspired by Kate's adventures? Let us know what you thought in the comment section below.


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