Oli Broom just three days into his 14-month trek

Cricket-mad cyclist Oli Broom set off for his 14-month charity trek to the Ashes in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday – and he has already been hit for six. Having been cycling in Northern France, a bike thief has already struck.

Broom’s last tweet on social networking site Twitter said: “confronted with my pretty valuable bike, an overnight robber thieved my chuffing front and rear bike lights. what a loser.bit annoying mind.”

The bike in question is a steel framed 26" wheel, baby blue Santos Travelmaster, made and assembled in Holland. It is a similar bike to the one that round-the-world cyclist James Bowthorpe used for his recent charity ride.

Oli set off from Lord's cricket ground on Saturday morning and is currently in Loon-Plage, France.

The 15,600 mile journey across 20 countries by bicycle to Brisbane to arrive in time for the First Test at the city’s famous ground, The Gabba, takes Broom across Europe to Istanbul, then through Syria to Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. After a sea crossing to India, Broom then aims to catch some Indian Premier League action, before heading to Australia via Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The 29-year-old chartered surveyor, from Cookham, Maidenhead, hopes to raise £100,000 for the British Neurological Research Trust, as well as for the cricket-focused charity, The Lord’s Taverners, and teach the locals a thing or two about cricket on the way. He will carry a tent on his bike but will also stay with dozens of cricket players and fans along the way.

Broom’s quest has the support of England captain, Andrew Strauss. Both attended Radley College, Oxfordshire, and Strauss says, “I've known Oli since our school days and can vouch for his sanity.

His journey can be followed through Twitter at http://twitter.com/cyclingtoashes and www.cyclingtotheashes.co.uk.