Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ready for stage 2- Armenia and Western Georgia

A very satisfying journey so far. From sea level across stark arid desert, through thick forests to high alpine passes.

For a visual summary of journey so far, check our website-

All of these blogposts will also appear there.  So follow pedalgogy if you like.

Monday, June 20, 2016


As I pedal, I've been thinking a lot about how fortunate I am. Right down to the exquisite home made wine I am drinking right now in the beautiful mountain top village of Shighnaghi, Georgia. But I needed more than fortune to make it up that squiqqly line.

I've contemplated how fortunate I am to have a full belly after a good day riding. How fortunate I am to be fit enough to outpace four separate packs of hungry dogs who gave chase today. How fortunate I am to have the time and the money to do something like ride for 3000km across three countries over a summer. How fortunate I am to have Niamh in my life. To have her support and motivation, to love her and to have her love. For her to have a similar mindset to mine for this form of adventure. How fortunate I am to be 37 and to be doing the things I really ever only dreamed of whilst I was stuck in a world of conformity during my 20's.

Some say that fortune favours the brave, but what really is brave these days? Is fortune actually about wealth? Only 30% of humanity is in a position to worry about savings. Only half of this 30% has a bank account, yet 'we' might live our lives by a dictating monthly statement.

Does brave mean being willing and able to uproute and cut loose by taking a chance on working in strange lands? Maybe. If so, I have to say it's a pretty good gig. Life is comfortable. I'm saving well in Tashkent, we have a nice house and the school really is a good one. I'm not sure that makes me brave though. 

Having a second chance of adult life and seizing the opportunity- I think that was quite brave. There were other avenues which could have been easier to take. But it's paid off; I've never been more content. I feel more fortunate for the benefit of perspective and I am reveling in the opportunities that this lifestyle offers.

Fortune has no synergy with planning, yet I am a very organised person.  Does that limit fortune or prove that being assertive brings happiness? 

A big test of this will be our 'Round The World Ride', coming soon, but I don't want to reveal too much about it yet. Suffice to say; we are going to need more than just fortune to realise the plan. I think determination and belief create one's own fortune.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Azerbaijan to Georgia-Part 1 of 2

Already halfway across this interesting country, only now do I have the energy and focus to write.
 Getting back into any semblance of fitness is not easy. The other way around is though. Less than two months ago I was in the operating theatre having my gall bladder removed. I think I rested for just enough time since then. Apart from some turbo trainer work and three short rides, I was thoroughly unprepared for this tour. 

Thankfully Niamh was happy enough to support me, particularly this week as she has been driving ahead with my bags to find places to eat and places today.  This process has enabled me to build up my confidence and strength, during this seriously up hill and windy section of the world tour. A new bike- the expedition setup- it is a lot heavier though tougher than anything I have toured on before. Getting used to the way it feels and ready for the extra 25kilos I'm about to add.

Azerbaijan has been full of surprises. Green and pleasant though very different feeling to anywhere else I've been. It's halfway between Tashkent and Istanbul and it feels exactly like half of each.  
There is a lot of investment here and domestic and gas wealth, evident everywhere. It's appreciated the currency called the Manat so that we are finding it pretty expensive based on our Uzbekistan and dollar mindset.  

We now find ourselves in Oguz, 40km east of Seki which it supposed to be a bit special. A half day for me today after- 90km, 80km, 100km days so far. Then one more day of cycling before Niamh leaves for a few days.  That means a fully loaded bike to contend with. That is going to be a true test.