I would like to thank everyone I have met on the journey for your support and friendship. I have met some fab people along the way and I really hope that we will stay in contact over the years. Most people have been very kind and I have really appreciated places to stay along the way and also people to talk to and to learn about other countries.
Thanks also to my friends and family for being there for me and helping with organisation etc of stuff in the UK while I have been away. Special thanks go to my Sister, with whom I have allegedly been living for the last year (according to paper work etc). Thanks Sis for sorting out all of the boring paper work stuff. I have thoroughly enjoyed living with you ;-) Thanks also to my Dad for flying out to Beijing and biking round with me to the Great Wall. It was a great week!
I have had a more awesome time in the last year than I even knew was possible. As the trip has come to an end I have written this a summary of my feelings a this point about the trip as a whole. For each country I have then given my thoughts and some pointers for fellow cyclists. These are on the following blog pages :
I am just working on finishing the other summary pages.
In the year since I have left the UK I have spent about 3-4 months traveling without cycle touring: 1 month (ish) in Africa with my uncle, 3 weeks traveling with my friend Kim in Australia, 1 month (ish) waiting for bike parts in India and 1 month in Nepal trekking and spending time with friends. I think that I should maybe rename this trip to biking and hiking round the world as about 20% percent of the days I have been off hiking or running instead to see things rather than just biking. As I am a sad git I have recorded the distances each day, the weather conditions, the type of accommodation and the activities I was doing and then broken these down by country. These stats can be seen at http://bikenz2uk.blogspot.com/p/stats-on-rides.html
When I have had a solid biking day I was generally doing over 110km in a day when on tarmac but this came down to 78km per day in Mongolia where the roads were dirt road tracks and it was hilly. My average is not to bad considering I kept on choosing to go to mountainous areas (as I love the mountains) and most of the time my bike and equipment (including food and water) added up to about 45-50kg. I am working a page listing all of the equipment I carried for my trip.
Even though I have spent a lot of time on my bike over the last year, I am not a bike nut. For me it is a form of transport that means that I can really feel a country and be outside exploring. Before I left the UK, I decided not to force myself to do crazy distances and race round the world and not to have a rule that I had to do every km on the bike. I have in fact had far more variety on this trip than I thought I would. I have enjoyed making new friends and experiencing the different cultures as I have travelled rather than just time pedaling.
I am in no way bored of biking. In fact there are still many more countries out there to explore. For me traveling in a car, bus or train is like seeing the world from within a metal cage. When on a bike you feel the weather, the dirt and the undulations and really experience the people. People are much happier to approach you on a bicycle as you are totally unthreatening and also different to the norm.
Going to such huge countries, full of such variety of landscapes, I am not sure that I will be able to fit back into the UK ever again. Everything is on such a small scale there. No decent mountains or extremes of climate or vast areas to really stretch your legs. I am enjoying exploring so much that I don't know whether I will be able to stop. I am looking forward to spending a few months in one place for a while but having moved on every few days for the last year I wonder if I will get bored if I am in one place for a while.
I needed to do this journey on my own rather than seeking out someone to travel with for the whole time because I needed to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. I wanted it to be my journey. I had wanted to do a similar trip when I was 18 but a relationship that I was in at the time meant that I compromised and did a much shorter and different trip in the States and Canada instead. This time it needed to be my trip and my route. I needed to see how much I could push myself, how far I could do in a day and what would break me. I wanted to explore different cultures and environments. I really feel like I have done that now. I feel that I have got the "it has to be MY trip" out of my system now and proven to myself that I can do it. If I can travel on my own through rural India, pick myself up after an accident on my bike in China and get back on the road again and deal with policemen having to escort me out of a region and still be happy within myself then I know that I can do it! I did very much enjoy doing the great walks in NZ with Christoph, staying with Johnnie in his jungle paradise, biking in North India with Alan and biking in China with my Dad. On all of these occasions the company really added to the experience and did not take from "doing it on my own".
Traveling as a solo female can certainly have its advantages. Some cyclists that I have met along my trip have said to me that when you are a girl on your own people really want to help you and will approach you far more than if you are part of a couple. If you are in a couple you are assumed to be "OK" and self-sufficient where as if you are a girl on your own then people think you would like company. This has worked really well for me and I have met some fab people along the way, many of which I hope to remain friends with forever (you know who you are :-)). When my bike has broken down I have never had a problem getting a lift or some help.
I am now in India spending a few months editing the video footage of the trip and enjoying not going anywhere for a while and relaxing. It is absolutely beautiful here but I will have to go back to the real world and get a job someday…..
If you would like a copy of my edited video please let me know.
Thanks again for all of your support!!