As we cycled into Konya, Central Turkey yesterday we celebrated as we reached another momentus milestone….we had reached 30,000km. Arriving a day earlier than expected we had also ridden 100 miles with full panniers and camp gear. It was certainly not intentional – there just wasn’t anywhere to stay on route. While the scenery itself was quite uneventful and there were regular overbearing smells of roadkill we still had big smiles.
So, for this blog I have decided to do a wee trip down memory lane with a few key photos and highlights from our trip so far….hope you enjoy it. There’s a few pics in this one too.
On July 7th 2012 we flew to Seattle. John, my cycle buddy, and I had only met three times before so this would be a relatively easy ride down the coast to San Francisco. The Oregon coast line was stunning, they made some great ale and we made a new friend, Tom, who would ride with us much of the way. We were pretty chuffed when we arrived at the Golden Gate bridge. John had never cycle toured before and we got on OK. Result.
With Japan as our next destination the challenges would increase as language and map reading would prove interesting. Still, we embraced the culture staying in traditional ryokans and love hotels and tried most of the available pot noodles. A fascinating trip all be it very hot, humid and hilly.
However, it was our next trip into Nepal that would be our biggest challenge of all. We were taking our touring bikes and panniers around the Annapurna trek route. No tarmac and still the end of the monsoon season. We edged along cliffs, went through rivers and waterfalls and crossed many a precarious bridge. Eventually we arrived at the mountain pass at Throng-la, 5416m. This was not for the faint hearted….or those afraid of heights…ie me.
From Nepal we cycled over the border into India riding mostly in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa. I love the colours, history and food of India – a country I had visited twice before. Soon we learnt the rules of the road ie biggest and loudest wins and we became accustomed to chai drinking with crowds of locals.
This was the end of our first five month tour…next Africa. We were joining a group trip from Cairo to Capetown. It took me a while to adjust to losing my independence though having decided this trip was just different I eventually settled in. Run by Tour D’Afrique the trip also ran as a race and I eventually won a day…on the last day of road riding! Despite having to bus through Kenya given elections and taking a few days off from exhaustion this was a phenomenal ride. Along with the wildlife highlights included sandstorms in Sudan and riding naked for a day in Namibia. What a giggle. If only the kids in Ethiopia didn’t throw rocks!
Our third trip would take us to South East Asia though first we decided to ride through France and Italy to avoid the monsoon period. Leaving Epernay we rode over the Alps to San Foca in Southern Italy. On the way we would watch the Tour despite France on Alpe d’huez…obviously we had to ride it to. We were joined by Thijs, one of our fellow riders from Africa.
Soon we were in Singapore and had a route planned through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and back to Thailand. With shorter visas than anticipated and roads lost to landslides our plans constantly changed….but that’s the beauty of cycle touring.
Our fourth tour took us to New Zealand and Australia. We caught up with many friends – old and new – and enjoyed incredible rides and views. While the drivers were not so pleased to see us we were treated warmly by many. We both missed history yet the fact that these countries are much newer to habitation (aside from much earlier Aboriginal settlement) is what keeps the landscape more unspoiled.
While Australia was not my favourite country to ride the site at Uluru was mind blowing.
We’re on our last trip now…riding home from Turkey back to the UK.
The hospitality has been so humbling and Turkey really is a joy.
I have many memories and stories from the ride so far, thousands of photos to sift and new friends too. Here’s hoping the last 6,000 or so km will be just as much fun.
Here is one last pic….what a day this was….riding naked in Namibia!
A big thank you for all your support and encouragement so far. It means so much.