Getting into the Groove

Starting a world cycling trip for the first time is a daunting thing. To leave family, friends, work and general social life and hit the road is a leap of faith. Faith you have in yourself, possibly your partner, the world you are going to encounter, equipment and all the other bigger and small things that keep your frame of mind sound for such an adventure.

The day we left was a bag of mixed emotions. High and lows where felt by the two of us and all the people that came to say farewell. Tears of joy and sadness complemented each other and made it an extraordinary moment that made a deep root in my being. A crazy moment in a life lived in the ease and comfort of the modern world. But isn’t that the point: getting out of the comfort zone and find a bit more meaning to life?


Gears set, feet placed firmly on our pedals… and we where off. Strange but real these first few meters and even kilometers that turned into days. It felt just like a normal bike ride which would soon end and the daily grind would start all over again. Ever so slowly it turned into “wow, we are doing it”, hold back a bit by some deadlines set to meet family and friends along the way. This set the tone as the visiting days where planned and toke over the feeling of freedom somewhat. In exchange we got a warm welcome, a bed to sleep and precious time to spend with relatives and friends we don’t see all that often.

Being out on the road for a while now fills us with a great sense of freedom. To stop at every opportunity is so different from traveling by car, bus or train which need to have a dedicated stop. No motors humming directly beneath you, so many possibilities for exploring natural areas, sidetracks or zigzagging our way to a destination. Just the two of us and the world we ride on.


Cycling 60 km a day for 5 days a week making for 300km/week average progress. Two days of for organising our stuff like washing, bike maintenance, etc. and hopefully some relaxing. That was the plan for an easy start. What sounded great on paper is a little different out on the road. We didn’t exactly planned a straight line to the first main goal a meditation course in Italy. Our route went all over the place making for a lot of extra kilometers that we didn’t count in our original planning to the centre in Florence. But that’s cycle touring I guess, you never quite know what's around the corner… exciting stuff! Edit: We decided to let this course go because it would have meant two weeks more of constant pedalling from Zurich. Through the Alps, not exactly our home turf, it would be a paradox to exhaust ourself mentally and physically to be on time for a meditation retreat.

Touring with two makes it a little difficult to find a fitting baseline day schedule. Maudi tends to sleep late and I wake early and am ready for action. She wants to snooze a little while I like to hustle and get things going. Also ideas about rest stops, when to find a suitable camping spot, eating and relaxing differ. Tempers flare here and there and we get over the inevitable arguments soon enough. The key here is to find that sweet spot where each of us can be as free as can be while still getting the milage done for our general route plan. We are working on that one…


We also had big dreams for what we could accomplish on a daily basis. I can tell you now cycle touring is a lot of work. Waking up, packing up our belongings, making breakfast, loading the bike, start the cycling day, shopping for groceries, cycling, taking photo’s, filling up our water  bottles, cycle some more… you get the picture… and the end of the day is a reverse of the morning with a night sleep as cherry on the pie. Hard and honest work, we love it more and more every day. Though our hopes were that we would have a little bit more free time to delve deeper into other hobbies like reading, wood carving, music and relaxing. Perhaps we are still to green and get more efficient with our routines in the future. Or maybe we mellow out our planning to do more other stuff.

Whatever will cross our path does so and we will try and make the best of these moments to come. Nothing is perfect, especially cycle touring. Could it be that’s why it is so addictive?





Why cycle East?

There are lots of options, we could start almost anywhere on the planet. For example: take a plane to the America’s and cycle across the last continents to be inhabited by mankind. Patagonia, The Andes, The Grand Canyon, Alaska and all the other majestic and down to earth places inbetween. Tempting as it is, just setting out from our own doorstep to go around the globe was such a simple and naive romantic idea that it became ingraved in our minds.

One very adventurous way to go would be down to Africa. Man wouldn’t that be an amazing journey? In all fairness a part of me achess to go but it would be a very demanding adventure for the starting biketourer. The land and culture’s change very rapidly and potentially difficulties could arrise quick for the not so seasoned. One of my first inspirators ‘The Big Africa Cycle’ did the tour that planted the seed for the very tour where about to undertake. For Peter Gostelow riding down through Africa was his second major cycling tour, after riding from Japan to Engeland. It would proof to have some large potholes down the road. In Sengal he met up with a machete and got his left hand tendons cut. After surgery and a month recouperation he got on the bike and started peddeling again. When I met him in Portugal before he struck me as a very strong headed individual with enough experience and a silent determination. Something that one needs when tackeling a continent like Africa. Making you all the more cycle and people savvy. Perhaps we are not quite ready for that yet…

The ones who watered the seed where Ewan, Charly and Crew from the ‘Long way Round’ and ‘Long way Down’ BBC series. Driving their motercycles to far flung places like Siberia and Namibia. They also went East the first time before going the ‘Long Way Down’. There is something about going east that just feels gentler, somehow familiar and more easing into the proces of living a nomadic cycling existence for a while. First a large part of Europe where touringbike-skills can be honed and than on to Turkey, a country a lot of cyclist plan on visiting when dreaming about there eastbound journeys. Turkey is a place of gentle transition into the middle east with tons of history as it was a crucial passage linking the East and West via the historical Silk Route. On too the the Middle east thoughts appear to be a mirage. Arabian Night’s, and the Persian Empire are just a couple of those images everybody has coming to mind. Sand and horses, beautiful veiled women and men waving crooked swords. A place where the most major grain staples and herd animals where domesticated to be transported first to China, Europe, Northern Africa and later on to the rest of the world… a place of legend! It is no coincedence that ‘The Fertile Cresent’ was the stage where the first World Empires came to rise and fall and the largest World Religions, Christianity and Islam, arose to also be exported along the trading routes.

Behind the mountainsranges of the Karakoram and Pamirs in the “Stan” region lies the land of the rising Sun. The Orient of childhood memory. A strange place that always felt like the other side of the planet. Just far off and exotic… actually is a place of great and live changing inventions. The Silk Road, the dominating axis on which culture and goods would be exchanged to shape the history of the world for good. Paper, gunpowder, forging, the wheelbarrow etc. and the all important fabric silk came from China. Without the revolutions it unleashed we could possibly still be living in a middle age environment instead of the hyper technical age that we call the present.

All the time travelling left aside these parts of the world are changing rapidly. China and India have become powerhouse economies in the modern world. Rivaling and soon possibly superceding Europe and perhaps even America. The pendulum of history is swinging back to the East and it would be amazing to see, taste, hear, smell and feel what they can achieve next with that momentum.

So in going East one can maybe trace back a couple of tracks and see the neverending changes of the globalisation puzzle we are all in in and see where our piece might fit. For me it’s all about what drove Marco Polo to the East: Curiostity for the Worlds far away shaping my own.