Australian adventurers begin journey to Baja Divide in San Diego

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Kate Leeming spoke to students at Chula Vista Hills Elementary school to explain her latest expedition.

Leeming is one of the top explorers in the world, quite possibly the first person to cycle across Africa in a continuous line, and she has pedaled enough miles to go around the world twice.

Leeming said it was her great-great-uncle William Snell who first inspired her when she started cycling.

"In 1897, he became the second person to cycle across Australia when he cycled from the west across to Melbourne in the east to propose to his childhood sweetheart. And fortunately, she said yes," Leeming laughed. "I guess it's pioneers and stories like that that really inspire me that I was interested in as a kid, so it's grown into this."

Leeming traveled to San Diego to cycle down the Baja Divide, covering nearly 2,000 miles in less than a month. Her partner for this expedition is Chris Pennington, an adventure filmmaker who will record their journey.

"Definitely learning a lot and yeah, I just can't wait to get out on the bike and actually see how everything falls in place when an expedition starts like this," Pennington said.

After the Baja Divide, Leeming has expeditions in Iceland, Africa, Australia, South America and Asia. They are all preparing her to become the first person to cycle across Antarctica via the South Pole.

"I really love to travel by bike because you're really connected with the people and the land," Leeming said. "And I love the idea of bringing a line on the map to life."

Leeming's expeditions led her to create Breaking the Cycle, a global education program. Breaking the Cycle focuses on ending extreme poverty, providing education and promoting gender equality.

"I guess I have a real passion for the importance of education," Leeming said. "We want kids to get out there, experiment, find what their own passions are, and then be able to relate them to the world, and to understand how they fit into that world a little bit better and hopefully to make better decisions about the future and where we're heading."

Pennington is also preparing to ride a single-speed bicycle across the width of Australia to raise money for childhood blindness in developing countries.

For more information, visit www.onegear.com.au.

Leeming and Pennington will arrive back in San Diego in March, but you can follow their journey down the Baja Divide at breakingthecycle.education.

Anyone interested in donating to Leeming's cause can do so at kateleeming.com.

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