A young lawyer from Rickmansworth is preparing to fly to the South American country of Venezuela where he will embark upon an amazing 7,000-mile bike challenge.

James Pratt, of Highfield Way, will fly to the top of South America armed only with a tent, a few clothes and a push bike.

He will then attempt to cycle from the Caribbean coast of Venezuela, through Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile to the southern most tip of Argentina.

James will fly to South America tomorrow and says his 7,000 mile challenge to pedal the entire length of the continent will take him a full 12 months to complete.

Speaking before taking on the solo challenge, James, 27, said: “Reality is dawning now and it is pretty scary but I'm sure it will be exciting at the same time.

“I don't know where the idea came from. It started off as a walk but I just thought walking so far would be boring.”

James has worked out he will have to cover about 20 miles every day for 365 days. However, he says he will have a few days rest to visit some of the sights of South America.

He said: “I have been to South America a couple of times before and there are parts of the continent I said I wanted to go to.

“I thought linking them by bike would allow me to do all the things I wanted to do and build a pretty good trip around it.”

James is a former member of the Batchworth Sea Scouts who has worked as a lawyer in the city for the past four years.

Indeed, it was while living in Putney, south London, that he caught the cycling bug.

“I'm a keen cyclist but I wouldn't say that necessarily equates to competent – this is the first time I have tried to do something like this.

“I caught the cycling bug when I started commuting to the city and unfortunately that has led to this rather ambitious trip.

“But my experience is almost completely limited to commuting.”

James is aiming to raise money for the Opportunity International charity, which helps promote employment opportunities in South America.

And in the meantime, he is preparing to get used to life on two wheels.

He has customised his bike with hard-wearing tyres, new suspension and bars to carry his camping gear, drinking water and personal belongings for the whole year.

He added: “The reaction from people has generally been incredibly supportive. People seem to be excited by the trip and I have a lot of support from a lot of people, not least from work and my family.

“It really has been quite a positive experience already and the trip is only just picking up momentum.”

To sponsor James or follow his progress over the coming 12 months visit his website at www.caribbeantocape.com.