It was time to leave the Gadget Show, I’d been on it for 12 years. It was really good to me and taught me a lot, but the audience was shifting to YouTube and I wanted a little piece of that myself. It also came at a time when we were thinking of moving out of London but weren’t sure where we wanted to go, so my wife suggested getting a camper van and going around the world. I just laughed. But we sold our house and bought this six-berth camper van with a big bike rack on the back. The kids are being home schooled for a year – bonkers!
My 12-year-old daughter Marnie’s only relatively recently recovered from [juvenile idiopathic] arthritis, and making her as strong as possible, putting her on a wholesome diet, has changed our entire family’s ethos. If you’ve got the choice, you want to explore more healthier climes, and that’s what this [world tour] is all about.
My journey intro tri started by doing a swim with Cancer Research UK, they wanted a team of celebrities to swim across the Irish Sea. I’d never swum more than 100m, I couldn’t do front crawl. I worked with Swim4Tri for about five months and fell in love with open water. Through training, I was around triathletes and I started to see their awesome bikes!
I then got my big brother Simon, who wasn’t looking too healthy at the time, to do one with me. So I challenged him, and said I’d swim for his charity if he’d do the Olympic-distance at the London Triathlon. We started with a sprint distance at Blenheim and then we did the big one… and then just fell in love with the sport.
I love the swim, I love the feeling of swimming and trying to perfect my stroke, get my elbows high, I also just love the coldness of the open water. I used to do a lot of street dancing and I’d liken swimming to body popping, it’s this repetitive movement that you’ve got to make perfect to get the right effect.
We’re going to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean during our tour, where Marnie will be doing her first-ever triathlon there in November. Running 2k is quite a big deal for Marnie, so I’m really proud that she’s even attempting to do it. My 10-year-old son Jackson will bite it off and spit it out!
Bike choice was key before we set off. I’ve got a hand-built titanium Laverack cyclocross bike. It’s the answer to an exam question – what’s the perfect bike to have on the back of a motor home for a year? That can handle the cobbles in Amsterdam but is also light enough to get me up Europe’s famous climbs? It isn’t overly blingy either, but I’ve still spent over €250 on high-tensile steel locks.
Jason, 48, is a TV presenter, children’s author and tri enthusiast. He’s best known for presenting The Gadget Show for 12 years. He’s now on a round-the-world tour with his wife Claire and their three children, Marnie, 12 (above), Jackson, 10, and Harrison, 7.
You can follow Jason, and his family's adventures, on Twitter