So… Hello there internet surfer, what brings you here? Maybe I just gave you the link, or maybe you couldn’t quite pique your curiosity after reading me bang on over facebook. Or perhaps you’re a fellow cyclist planning a trip of your own and you’re perhaps looking for some inspiration, tips and advice on how to do it. (I know I did this a lot…)
Well, my name is Nick. I am, as of writing, 24 years of age and I am, as of writing, quite frankly… BORED! So excruciatingly bored. So I decided that it was only right to do something about it.
I work a humdrum night shift job at a major food retailer and I suppose there’s nothing really in the pipeline going forward in terms of change or things to look forward to. I guess the constant routine and stagnation is bugging me a little. I needed to ‘do’ something. So I began to save up my pay.
I leave on April the 20th (2016) to begin my first epic, long, solo bicycle ride. Just as a way of a change and a personal challenge. Hopefully the first of a few (we’ll see what the finances look like…) But How? Why? Where? When? Well, we did that last one already. But as to why and where and how…
Well the first foray into this sort of idea was back in my final year of university. A backpacking hike in the south of Devon for 10 days. It’s the only experience I have of a long trip like this but nonetheless, a pretty incredible one. I was part of a barbershop quartet and we hiked and gigged for 10 days straight across Devon as part of a university module, playing for our food and/or accommodation. The catch was that we had to get to all of our venues by foot… We had 30 gigs, a morning, afternoon and an evening gig all lined up. I think we were late for 2 if memory serves me correctly and one of those was due to a bridge that our map lied about.
But at the end of that final year, me and the lead of our quartet had decided that we wanted to visit one of our international friends over the summer. With the experience of a 10 day backpack behind us, we thought we’d take it a step further and bike it to Norway instead! My compatriot however, spent all of his money on drugs and alcohol and we never went, but the idea has stuck with me ever since. Even before any internet research about the countless people who do this on a daily basis. That friend is in China now, which brings us to the next part of the story..
Due to the stagnation I mentioned earlier, I had also accepted a teaching job in China before realising that teaching 5 year old Chinese kids how to speak english wasn’t the cure to my stagnation issues and backed out, maybe for another year. The organiser of ‘The China Teaching Experience’ (Look it up and give Andrew a bell if you’re after a paid 10 month excursion to China!) had advised me to visit China and see my friend first to determine whether living in China was something I thought I could get used to or not. So I decided to combine this idea of visiting my friend with a new idea I had to cure my stagnation issues. A change of scenery and a personal challenge! And thus, a bike trip to China was born!!!
But then my bike broke… And I didn’t know how to fix it and it was a fairly standard problem with the derailleur and chain. So I got concerned. If I can’t fix my bike, and it breaks in Turkmenistan and I can’t speak the language and there isn’t anyone who can fix a bike for 200 miles, then I’m a bit stuffed to put it bluntly. Which is why I’m deciding to ride America instead.
This is my first epic bike ride. The entire thing will be an adultering experience of which I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. There won’t be a language barrier, I’ll never be too far from food or water should I get stuck without any, (there’ll be bike shops!) yet, it’ll still be epic enough to feel as if what Im doing is truly unique. So I’m riding 3,600 miles from the beaches of Miami, up to the rain soaked lands of Seattle. From there, I will look to spend some time in China. Unless other circumstances arise in the meantime.
Wish me luck…