Thursday, August 13, 2015

A successful summer for many reasons

“Bicycles have no walls.” ~ Paul Cornish
Back in Tashkent now, making our final preparations for the start of another school year.

We haven't had much time to look back at our summer, as we only arrived back on Sunday and have since moved into a new house.

Let's start with the most important point- little Max Good. Riding for a reason helped push us on. It also helped engage conversation, raising awareness of PWS and supporting the hard work of
Thank you so much to those of you who have expressed and interest in our ride and the reason behind it, especially to those of you who have donated     (it is not too late if you have not yet done so!!)

Max is certainly going to face a lot of challenges in his life. Challenges that make our summer ride look daft, but I am sure that with his loving parents, and their parents and just about half of Norwich there to love and support him, Max will be wonderful Millwall fan.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” — Maya Angelou

It's tricky to find something original to say in this final post. Something that is not obvious, such as; It was a real challenge, there were times when we struggled, but also times when the elements were with us. 
“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” ~ Greg LeMond
Considering the distance we covered though, having had to repair only 2 punctures is pretty remarkable. I dare say now, but not during the ride, that we were quite lucky.
We certainly had some mechanical issues, hence the replacement back wheel-set, but really the whole trip went smoothly. Skipping to the front of queues at the borders, navigating our way through the heartland of south eastern Europe. Sticking to a rough schedule, conquering climbs which took all morning. Staying hydrated in the 40c plus heat. And in the end- Niamh still likes me!

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” ~ John Howard

It is so exciting to hear that Niamh enjoyed it so much that she would do another ride. I and have no doubt that wherever and whenever that takes place she will more than cope with the challenge.

Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

I've added a few images below. The first, our ride this summer. The second, the rides I have now completed around Europe. I was trying to do some calculations today, and I've come up with the figure 24%.  
Yup- 24% of the world land masses covered, in order to really feel that I have made it around the world by my pedaling. This takes into account rides in Nepal, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. (See blog post on completed rides- and future rides planned).

I guess that is it until next summer. Thank you again. 2000 hits to this blog, now lets hit 2000GBP on the donation page!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Friday, August 7, 2015

Looking West towards Europe

Well well well, it's all over now...feels a bit strange not looking for the next days route, but I suppose this journey had to have an end, if only temporarily.

Back to work next week for another busy and rewarding year at Tashkent International School. I'm quite looking forward to getting started again, catching up with friends and teaching.

What's next? Turkey I think. From East to West next summer.  It has been nice to ride for a cause as it opened up many conversations when people asked, " but why would you ride all that way on a bicycle?". There is no doubt that cycling to raise awareness of PWSA provided us both with a little bit more motivation, so I plan to do it again.

One rainy day in 38 cycling days, quite incredible. In fact clouds were a rarity, and somehow we managed to avoid serious sun stroke and heat exhaustion.  Those early morning starts in Kosovo and Macedonia were worth it as they enabled us to do our daily distance before the mercury rose to 45c at road level, as it did on couple of occasions in the afternoons.

I think that we struck a pretty good balance, resting once or twice a week, allowing us to recuperate and to see some sites:
An opera in Verona,  boats around Venice, humongous caves in Slovenia,  pretty seaside towns in northern Croatia, national parks, city nightlife, beautiful islands, Dubrovnik’s charms, Albania's lakes and of course shopping in Greece.

The final 800km's in 7 days was a push, but I had prepared well for it and enjoyed the physical challenge. It has been great to spend time with my family, and I now feel well rested. I even feel now that I have been on holiday.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

MYP reflection 2- Things we could do differently next time

1. Reduce the number of clothes we carry by at least a third

2. Buy a sturdier bike and one with more gears

3. Buy a terrain map or app to avoid surprises

4. Reduce the average daily km target to increase the amount of exploration time.

5. Don't lug a tent nor all camping gear unless we will use it atleast half the time.

6. Give all stray or wild dogs an even wider berth.

7. Not care so much about headwinds

8. Don't be so suspicious of the generosity and kindness of strangers


Europe = Done

Today I am rejoicing in the fact that I have well and truly covered this continent by bicycle. 

From the Arctic circle, to the east of Istanbul.  The countries I've crossed, roughly from north to south are:

Norway, Sweden,  Denmark,  Scotland,  England,  Wales, Holland,  Belgium,  Luxembourg,  France,  Germany,  Switzerland, Lichtenstein,Austria,  Italy , Slovenia,  Croatia,  Montenegro,  Albania,  Kosovo,  Macedonia,  Greece and in to Turkey.

Feeling prerty good about that.