When I was a teenager I wanted to cycle around the world. I was planning for a long time before deciding to go ahead and do it, but when the day finally came I had no idea what I would do.
I’d always loved to travel and was a great fan of adventure touring. I’d often thought about this trip for many years and even considered the thought of travelling around the world on a bicycle, but the thought of actually doing it had always seemed a little daunting.
When I went back and looked at the information on bicycles in the British marketplace, I found that most people didn’t seem to know much about using a bicycle for travelling. The way I was used to thinking about the journey seemed to be that you would have a great time and enjoy the destination you were going to. With a bicycle I just seemed to want to ride round the world as fast as possible, so off I started.
The initial problems with cycling around the world were that I had no map to help me keep track of where I was. There are a few cycle tours around the world that you can sign up for which will point you in the right direction, but many of them do take you to a place that has already been explored. These places were probably exactly the places I’d be happy to visit if I was to cycle around the world. I really didn’t want to go anywhere I hadn’t been before.
But as I discovered, I had the modern technology to help me get my bearings. I didn’t feel any less of a cyclist the moment I put my bicycle on my handlebars. I felt much more relaxed and confident as the miles ticked by.
I still needed to take my heart rate to check how long I was taking, and I had to find somewhere to sleep or rest for the night if I couldn’t get some place else, but once I got moving again, the only thing that mattered was getting myself across the country. I thought back to when I was young and I never really thought of anything else apart from getting to my destination.
I decided that I’d use a professional bike map, which I found on the Internet. I also used a GPS system and turn-by-turn directions so that I could follow my route. Most of all I learned to ride my bicycle like a bike rider should – look out for other people on the road, keeping a steady pace and giving priority to the needs of other road users such as pedestrians.
This exercise really helped me to expand my horizons, and I also found that the discovery of new experiences brought me joy. It gave me the opportunity to discover the different places and get to know other people. Once I was comfortable cycling, I got on the phone and booked my flight and journey across the world.