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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
China ride pair escape dog chase
Richard Mason meets a flock of sheep on road in Turkey
Their journey will take them through 24 countries in about 19 months
A couple from Berkshire cycling to China and back for charity have crossed their first continent and narrowly escaped being attacked by dogs.

Richard Mason, 35, and Kat Wilkinson, 28, have covered nearly 3,000 miles (4,800km) of their 20,000-mile (32,200km) journey to reach Istanbul.

The Caversham couple set off in June after being made redundant from work.

Mr Mason said the worst part of riding through Turkey was being chased by a pack of "massive, man-eating" dogs.

He said: "The major hazard though was not exhaustion or traffic, but the dogs.

"We are talking massive man-eating things. One pack chased us for a good couple of hundred metres.

"It was a good job we were on an unusually flat stretch of road, otherwise we are pretty sure they would have eaten us."

Richard Mason struggling on road (track) in Turkey
Many Turkish roads were often badly surfaced, Mr Mason said

He said reaching Istanbul "felt fantastic".

"For Kat the prospect of seeing her Dad [who had flown there to meet them] was the most joyous part, but we were also very pleased with the fact that we had now crossed an entire continent on the bikes."

Mr Mason and Ms Wilkinson are hoping to raise more than 5,000 in aid of Cancer Research UK, after Ms Wilkinson lost her mother to lymphoma in 2004.

Their journey will take them through 24 countries in about 19 months and, if all goes well, they will return by Christmas 2007.

They were due to pedal through Iran, but because of visa problems, they have decided to fly to Mumbai in India, from where they will begin the next leg of the journey.

Couple off on China charity ride
05 Jun 06 |  Berkshire
Couple's charity cycle to China
03 May 06 |  Berkshire

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