Having recently retired, I am currently cycling solo around the world (at March 2019): 18,000 miles, 29 countries, 5 continents. So far, I have covered 11,000 miles and 26 countries. England, Morocco, Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Macau and Hong Kong. I have a further 7,000 miles to cover in Australia, Japan and the USA.
I started this epic journey in April 2018 and I am aiming to finish October 2019. I’ve experienced floods, countless storms, hurricane Zorba in Greece, cyclone Gaja in Kerala, India and an earthquake in Greece, but also much fine weather.
It has been absolutely brilliant but also very challenging at times. The bike has broken down twice, delaying me for three weeks whilst replacement parts were sourced which was extremely frustrating. I have had the odd stomach upset and chest infection but fortunately no major illness or injury so far.
Everything I need has to be carried in panniers on the back of the bike so lightweight Rohan performance clothing which dries overnight is just what’s needed. Though they’re not available in the current range, I couldn’t do without my Rohan Outrider shorts. I wear them for both cycling and sightseeing. I love the little outside pocket on the left, ideal for the iPhone.
In Lisbon I was picked up by the Portuguese police, not for doing anything illegal, but they believed that instead of riding on one of the major roads out of the city during the rush hour it would be safer for all concerned if I used another route. They then gave me and the bike a lift to a less busy road where I was able to carry on cycling.
Visits to countless churches, cathedrals (Ulm, Germany and Phat Diem, Vietnam were impressive), temples (the Hindu mega temples of Tamil Nadu, India, Buddhist temples in Bangkok, Thailand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia were especially notable), museums (the 10,000 year old Lion Man carved from mammoth tusk in Ulm, the Breughel paintings in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Mycenae and Troy), beautiful mountain routes (Pyrenees, Jura, Pindus, Dangrek) and river routes, Loire, Rhein, Danube and Mekong.
For me, India and China have been the highlights. The forts and palaces in Rajasthan, the desert state in India are stunning. China has been totally different from any of the other countries providing additional challenges of navigation and communication, both internal and external. The tomb and mummy of king Zhao Mo, buried in a jade suit over 2,000 years ago, in Guangzhou was stunning. There has also been Diwali, Christmas and Chinese New Year plus fireworks displays and a carnival. I’ve also taken a short pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
The next stage of my journey is Australia where communication should not be an issue, but dealing with and surviving the bush and outback will be.
To read more about Robert’s inspiring adventure, take a look at Robertsride18000.com – Cycling around the world the life changing way. He is well on his way to reaching his fundraising target, with donations going to two very worthwhile charities, Traidcraft Exchange and Cancer Research. Donate here.