The big day is getting closer and closer. It’s now only a little over a week until the morning of Monday 19th, when I’ll climb onto my bike, wave goodbye to my family and begin a year-long cycle that will take me through over 20 countries.
It has been pointed out, repeatedly, that in some ways I am completely unprepared for this trip.
Firstly, I’m no cyclist. I guess this is the unique selling point of my trip, but the reality is that I haven’t spent more than 30 minutes on a bike in over 2 years. I don’t actually remember going on a long bike trip in my life. I had planned to do some weekend tours and long day rides to prepare but visiting friends up and down the country, plus the excitement of a surprise visit from Susie, who is in England from Korea until I leave, has put an end to all plans before they were even made. Can’t say I’m too disappointed, it does sound like hard work.
My physical fitness was okay to start with, I’m no athlete but I’ve looked after myself alright. Since the second year of uni I have tried to stay in relatively good shape by avoiding snacks and extras like chocolate and sweets, and fatty foods like pizza. Before this I was in a relationship and things like my physical appearance and waist size management seemed to take a back seat (thanks H:). Now, however, I know exercise is something I’m going to be doing a lot of and I’m going to have to start calorie containing to make sure I do eat too much (about 6000cal a day). I’ve used this as an excuse to start eating everything, and lots of it. Seconds? Yes please. Extra bacon? You bet. Dessert? I’ll have two. It’s been fun but I can see the difference after only two months.
The second way I’m wholly unprepared is with my planning. After a visit to a friend’s house last month and a chat with his father over dinner I was made to realise that the Gobi Desert = death (or at least a long and painful self-imposed torture). So I rethought the Asian leg of the trip, deciding instead to travel from Iran to India (flying over Pakistan due to a recent shooting incident involving a cyclist, 6 died), across India to meet some friends before finding my way to Thailand (not sure how yet (told you!)) and then cycling north to China through Loas.
Potential death in the Gobi Desert, China or…. the beautiful rain forests of Megalia, Eastern India
I have recalculated this major change in my trip over the last 5 hours. The alterations have made the trip longer (from ~11 months to ~13 months) and more expensive (by about £600). But I’ll worry about that later.
Who says I’m not prepared.
I’m not going in completely unready though. One way I am prepared is in the bike and equipment department. After over 6 hours of work on Tuesday this week, the bike is ready to go! The wheels have been straightened, brake pads have been changed, extras have been added and everything has been lubricated from top to bottom. So even if my body is broken and I’m lost with the way ahead blocked, at least I know that I have pretty much everything I need, including a medi-care package from a veterinary student friend complete with sutures and a list of useful drugs. Just hope I don’t have to do a Rambo and actually use them.
Final preparations will begin soon. I’ve even organised a bit of a leaving party, my second in less than two years. I’ve also set my leaving date and start time.
10:00am – Monday 19th May
Scary. Very scary. Now all I have to do is wait. Thankfully I have Susie here, as well as my family and friends, to help me forget my nerves. I plan to spend as much time doing bits of prep where I can and spending as much time as I can with family and friends over the next week.
After that, I’m on my own. But right now I’m going to get back to Bike Maintenance for Dummies.
Thanks for reading.
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James Vs World