We are two travellers who a couple of years ago discovered the joy of travelling by bike. I’ve written that because we often try and explain to people that we’re not really “cyclists” but just travellers who want to go slowly and so the bicycle as a means of transport is perfect. We’d already done a lot of travelling before we discovered the joy of bikes including 2 years spent roaming around South America and a trip along the Silk Road that lasted an incredible 3 and a half years…… (time really does fly fast when you’re enjoying yourself). It was on this last trip along the Silk Road, when we met quite a number of cycle-tourists who were full of enthusiasm about this means of transport. So this is how the idea began…….
We’d already been on the road for 3 years with our backpacks but there was a little money still in the old bank account and so one day in January 2010 we became the proud owners of two Trek mountain bikes and were no longer backpackers but cycle-tourists, having never before cycled further than the 5 miles to get to work. We set off from Bangkok in the general direction of China. It was the first time we'd ever cycled with loaded bikes and so we did a few practice laps around Lumpini Park in central Bangkok before we headed north.
We cycled in northern Thailand, Laos, into Yunnan in southern China and up to Chengdu. After a long journey by train to Urumchi we cycled to Korla on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, hopped on a bus to Kashgar and then cycled along the Karakoram Highway to Pakistan. Finally, after a journey that had lasted 3 and a half years we flew from Islamabad to Frankfurt and then cycled home to Manchester. (See our previous blog: slothsonthemove.blogspot.com )
So, back in the UK after a long absence......most things felt a bit strange at first. But after a while we were working again and back in the swing of things. We already had plans for another trip which would be with the bikes....we just had to decide where to? After much thought, discussion, research, we realised that there were plenty of countries in Europe that we'd like to see before heading off to places more exotic and so Norway would be our first destination and then we'd try and link up a host of other countries we've never been to before. Heading south to Tunisia for winter sounded like a good plan but what about a final destination...???? Is it important or is it the journey itself that matters more than anything....? As we have both always wanted to visit Japan we decided that when people asked (as they always do) "where are you going?" we would answer Japan.....whether we get there or whether it really is the final destination who knows....we don't. But it gets some smiles - one man in Zurich, on hearing where we were headed, told us to turn left at the end of the road.......