A whirlwind synopsis of the road so far...!
The proposed route spans three continents - Australasia, Asia and Europe. Originally intended to take fifteen months, prolonged detours, yoga courses and family visits have now extended the schedule to close on two years! By late September, 2000, with some 25,000 km pedalled, I hope to be cycling the very last kilometre up the Royal Mall to Trafalgar Square, London.
How it all began...
A ferry to Singapore began my journey through mainland Asia. Cutting across Malaysia's Jungle Road to Thailand, I cycled north to Bangkok, via the island of Koh Pha Ngan, spending 'Songcran,' Thai New Year, in Chang Mai. Briefly crossing peaceful Laos, I emerged in Vietnam, racing northwards from Hoi An in time for a birthday party in Ha Noi! Continuing north through Bac Ha and Sapa, I began the climb to Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Turning handlebars westward, I looped around Dali, Litang, Kanding (part of the Tibetan Plateaux), Emeishan and Leshan (home to the world's tallest Buddha) to Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
Plagued by visa constraints, I was forced to fly into Lhasa, Tibet. I cycled across the 'Roof of the World' on the Friendship Highway via the Everest Base Camp, at 5,200m. Plummeting off the desert plateaux to the terraced farmland of Nepal, I crossed the country via Kathmandu to its most westerly exit at Mahendranagar and on to Delhi. Spending New Year, 2000, cycling out to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan's Thar Desert, I continued north to the banks of the Holy Ganga at Rishikesh and then on to 'Tibetan' Dharmsala. Here, I put my bicycle to one side and studied yoga for two months. From Amritsar's Golden Temple, I crossed the border into Pakistan, cycling north from Lahore to Islamabad, from where this page has been updated - April 10th, 2000.
From Islamabad, I will cycle up the Karakoram Highway to China's border; Khunjerab Pass, 4700m. Backtracking south, I will head through Central Pakistan to Quetta. The infamous Balochistan Desert will provide the final hurdle to the border with Iran. From where I will head west towards Isfahan. Crossing the border into Turkey, I'll continue westward towards Istanbul. Current plans in Europe involve a ferry from Greece, riding the length of Italy into Austria and France, before finally reaching the conclusion of 'The Long Ride Home': London, some 25,000 km and two years after leaving Sydney.
Beginning this ride alone, it was a matter of weeks before I met by first cycling companion. Since then, old friends have flown out join me, new friends have been inspired to pick up their bikes and I have encountered many other tourers cycling the same way. Incredibly, I have rarely been alone for more than a month at a time.
In the last 17,500 kilometres, I have biked with 2 Frenchmen, an American, a Welshman/American, 3 Brits, a Scot (I know he would prefer to be listed separately!), 2 Germans, a German/Chinese, a Philippino, a Philippino/ Australian, a Malaysian (national cycle record holder), 4 and a half Dutch (including a two and a half year old in his trailer) and a Japanese! As well as the many locals who have kept me company on their Chinese 'Flying Pigeons' and Indian, 'Heros' over a few kilometres here and there. Meeting so many other cyclists, in this extended family of world tourers, I feel lucky enough to have friends all over the world.