I’ve always been fascinated by the intrepid. Explorers of the past and present day. I love reading the tales of those who have travelled around the planet, no matter on what, and told their stories – usually of experiences with other people and mostly how open minded individuals generally are and are welcoming and curious, no matter what their tribe. It’s a human instinct to be curious, as is the ability to dream, and neither should ever be extinguished in an individual by someone else.
I think personally it’s a romantic dream to one day travel for months on end around the world, never stopping, never looking back, always experiencing something new every day as you never stay still in one place. I’ve also found it an incredible place to be, sat quietly on a bike, with the luxury of time to examine your own thoughts as you become attuned to your surroundings, rhythm of your movement and the energy that flows through your entire body as a result.
It isn’t for everyone as there are times when it is debilitating, when you’re fatigued and the road never seems to end or when something busts or a vehicle comes dangerously close. When you are lost and exhausted and have to turn back on yourself or when you first get up for the day, those waking moments knowing you will go through the same pain and aching and at the end of day you will need to unpack and set up camp. But then counterbalancing this are the small but immense pleasures of the feeling of riding down the other side of a hill that you’ve just climbed, a sensation of pure exhilaration that is heightened because it’s a hard earned feeling.
Choosing a distance to ride – overall and daily
This was an interesting point. When we did our first trip, we really had no frame of reference as to how well we would do each day and there are a variety of factors that impact any part of the trip at any point in the day. Road conditions, flat v climb, wind (head or tail), getting lost, general fatigue and the desire to sightsee.
I’ve done a variety of trips where you just focus on getting the miles in and miss so much and then also done a shorter more relaxed trip that felt as though it wasn’t hard enough. I average 22kmh on a flat road with no wind, which after three or four days on a trip like this will get up to about 25kmh. This time we had large and steep climbs so are aiming for 70km per day assuming roughly 20km of climbing a day and averaging 8/10kmh on a climb. We found out that across any given day, with the additional weight of equipment, we were averaging about 15kmh.
For anyone wondering what to plan each day, I would suggest you probably add at least one hour to your planned travel time per day as we had several times thought we would finish lunchtime or mid afternoon but that never quite panned out. We were early starters and really put the miles in during the morning but it never quite worked as we had though (EVER). If you have the wind against you add 10% to your travel time.