Tony Ives cycled an epic 3,700 miles coast to coast across the USA to raise money for carers in York. He speaks to health reporter Kate Liptrot.

IT was a journey of a lifetime which saw him cycle across mountain ranges and deserts.

Tony Ives, of Acaster Malbis, set off cycling from Yorktown in Virginia in the summer and arrived in San Francisco in California in the autumn in an incredible journey which saw him brave the furnace-like heat of Kansas and the near-freezing climes of Colorado.

The purpose of his nine-week mission was to raise money for York Carers Centre, to support carers struggling to look after those with substance misuse or alcohol problems.

“It was tremendous,” Tony said about his adventure. “I’m 60 next birthday and I’m not an athlete so to be able to do that was a great experience.”

A highlight was coming face-to-face with a bear in Virginia. “I went around the corner of a country lane and there was a little black bear. I just couldn’t believe it was a real bear,” Tony said, adding that when he was in Utah he witnessed the breathtaking sight of a herd of running wild horses.

He was also blown away by the desertscape in Utah and the nature of the many people he met en route.

Tony said: “The people were quite remarkable; generous, gracious, approachable. That was quite humbling.

“Towards the end the states weren’t populated and with that in mind it became really about getting through the distance.”

Averaging distances of more than 70 miles a day, Tony slept in a tent, churches and motels along the way. He lost a stone and a half by the time he arrived in San Francisco.

Dad-of-two Tony decided to spend more time cycling after he was made redundant from a role in the construction industry and although he quickly found more work as a trouble-shooting consultant he had a “road to Damascus” moment when he questioned the extent of work he was doing.

Since then he has been on rides across Europe, the most ambitious to date being his most recent challenge.

His efforts have raised £2,500, well exceeding his £1000 target to raise money to help York Carers Centre and the money will go towards taking some of the carers of people who are dealing with substance misuse away for a residential break.

Tony said: “I am a York resident, so what happens here is important to me. And I sympathise for the many people giving a lot of their time and their lives caring for others, particularly since there are two people affected and a lot of the time the carer can be unappreciated, even by the person they care for.

“I always value my freedom and can empathise with folk who don’t have that opportunity because of their caring responsibilities.”

You can still donate to the cause at