“You Must Be Crazy!” – Cycling Around the World

384About 8 months ago someone put the idea in my head that I should motorcycle around Australia. I couldn’t (and can’t) ride a motorcycle so instead I decided to cycle around Europe for a few months. This idea was fizzling in the back if my head for a few weeks before I decided to look into it.

When I did look into it I found that 1) it’s possible and 2) I quite wanted to do it. After a few weeks I had a plan, a basic route and an idea of what I’d need. Then one website threw a spinner into the works. That website was www.tombrucecycling.com, on which Tom describes his 9 1/2 month solo cycling trip around the world. I read Tom’s ebook and his journey sounded great. I emailed him and discovered that his Round the World budget was the same as my Europe budget. Oh dear.

I continued researching the Europe idea, the idea of cycling around the world seemed impossible. But now the trip didn’t seem complete. I changed my plan, made my Europe plan into the first leg of a solo, unsupported cycle around the planet.

Then was the fun bit. Planning a trip is great and I spent the next six months choosing where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see. I was surprised to find that there wasn’t much I wanted to see. No major landmarks or tourist attractions. I just wanted to travel, to see things and meet people. This realisation took a lot time as I spent weeks trying to work out why I wanted to do this if there wasn’t really anything I wanted to see.

Eventually I made my route.

The Route

Starting from my house in London I’ll travel south through Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece) to Turkey. I’ll be stopping off in the alps for a while to catch Aberystwyth University Canoe Club on their annual trip. This is the first leg of my trip and should take about 65 days.

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Next I’ll travel across Turkey to Iran, then across Iran and the ‘Stans (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan) and into China. This second leg should take 83 days.

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China is the third leg. I’m hoping to cycle some parts of the Silk Road. I plan to get to Shanghai or Beijing after about 57 days. At the end of this leg I’ll hopefully be able to meet up with Susie, who is going to try and take a holiday and fly over from Korea to meet me.

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From China I’ll fly to America. Starting in San Francisco, California, I’ll continue through Arizona, New Mexico (where I hope to meet up with a few old friends I met in India), Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and finally Florida, where I’ll finish in Orlando or head to Daytona Beach. This final major leg will take around 80 days.

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From Orlando I’ll fly either to Portugal and cycle through Spain and France to get back to England. Or (if I’m sick of the bike) I’ll fly back to London and cycle home.

So that’s the route. I’m looking for people to join me for a day, a week or a month of cycling anywhere along the route. Friends or strangers welcome. If you’d like more detailed route information then please message me or comment below.

The Bike

I got home from Korea a few weeks ago. When I got home I had a choice. Abandon my plan, get comfy at home and get on with my life or commit to the plans I had made. It was close for a day or two before I decided to carry on with my plans. That meant getting a bike and all the other equipment I’d need to circumnavigate the globe unsupported.

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Most bikes that are capable of doing what I want to do are pretty expensive, usually around £1200+, which is a little out of my budget. Most bike makers don’t make touring bikes made for more than the daily commute or weekend away. Thankfully, a friend from Aber sent me a link to an ideal bike. I messaged the seller immediately and we arranged to meet the next week. I could barely wait, but in the meantime I appealed for information on the bike via Facebook. A few people with some great knowledge and advice got back to me and gave the bike and it’s parts the green light.

A week later I meet the seller, heard some of the bikes story and took it for a ride. It was smooth and everything seemed to work well. Fifteen minutes later it was mine.

She hasn’t got a name yet but if you have any suggestions then please post them in the comments box below.

2014-03-25 17.16.13Since then I’ve also ordered a beautiful MSR stove, ideal as it can burn almost any fuel. Ortlieb waterproof panniers to carry all my stuff on the bike and I’ll soon order a new tent and some cycling clothes. Money is my most important practical consideration right now and I’m appealing for any cycling, camping or movie recording equipment. If you have anything sitting around the house or shed that you wouldn’t mind sending around the world with me then please contact me below.

So that’s that. Planning done, tooling up in progress. All I need to do now is wait.

A Quick FAQ

Q. Will it be dangerous touring alone?
A. What I’m doing carries similar risks to backpacking with only the added risk of cycling. I think I’ll be safe providing I’m sensible and trust my instincts.

Q. Do you love cycling?
A. No, I only recently got a bike and I’ve never spent more than a few hours cycling. I’m trusting that a love of cycling will develop as I go. If not I’m screwed.

Q. What will you do if someone steals your bike?
A. Cry. Cry a lot.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas or you want to join me for part of my journey then leave a message in the box below. Details on my fundraising plans will be in the next post.


James Vs World

12 thoughts on ““You Must Be Crazy!” – Cycling Around the World

  1. Hey James, long time no speak!

    This is such an awesome idea and yes I’m gonna say the cliche but I am pretty jealous of you!! I’ll be in my boring office job!

    Good luck and I can’t wait to see how this goes!


  2. Pingback: 10,000,000 Wheel Rotations to Help Children Worldwide | James Vs World

      • May the road rise up to meet you.
        May the wind be always at your back.
        May the sun shine warm upon your face;
        the rains fall soft upon your fields
        and until we meet again,
        may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
        (traditional gaelic blessing)

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