When we all committed to this adventure, we had no idea that it would be received with so much enthusiasm. We have been humbled by the donations and offers of help that have come our way and can’t wait to connect with as many of you as possible as we ride.
It seems a little surreal that this blog is being written from home. The ‘home’ that is the end point of a ride that will take us across mountains and borders, down coastlines, past lakes, and through many, many, towns that are called ‘home’ to people we are yet to meet.
For anyone that is not a kiwi, my 30+ hours of travel would be described already as a ‘long way home’. I must admit, as I sat in my cozy, cramped airplane seat and watched the illustrated plane crawl its way across the world map towards New Zealand, it dawned on me how far we had to pedal. Looking down at the desolate landmasses between Europe and Asia, I had to take a few deep breaths. This is going to be HUGE.
As I left Lausanne, the fabulous people and many friendships that I will always cherish, the sadness was softened by the knowledge that I was going to be back in just 6 weeks. Leaving these faces is certainly going to be the hardest part of our departure on the 30th April.
While I have been sunning myself in the many beautiful landscapes of our final destination, Bec and SVB have been hard at work. Some big milestones have been ticked off. They have picked up our Surly Trucker bikes and already started to mould the leather seats riding through the vineyards of Vaud, they have been ticking off the administrative tasks including applying for Chinese visas. I am not sure who has it toughest?
‘TLWH’ team WhatsApp group has been going off like a frog in a sock! I have reverted to airplane mode so that I can get some sleep while the girls chat their way through the day. I no longer wake in the morning to read the world news. I open my 50+ WhatsApp notifications to filter the ‘banter’ from the ‘requires critical attention’. The chat varies from, “How many pairs of underwear are you taking?” to, “have you had your rabies shots yet?” or “have we ordered those spare spokes and tires?”, and the most asked question without doubt, is SVB asking if every piece of equipment comes in pink. So far, only her ‘spork’ has done.
The excel spreadsheet of ‘to dos’ is steadily turning into a list of ‘done’. We now only have to pick up the tents that will be the ‘roof’ over our heads for the foreseeable future and to decide what clothes we will be pedalling in. When you consider that this will only be a couple of t-shirts, some shorts, underwear and rain jacket, our issue tracker seems to be showing only green lights.
All that is left now is a couple of ‘Day in the life exercises’ and some all important test events. I will leave those up to the northern hemisphere crew. While I continue to work on the tan, I have tasked Bec, who is undoubtedly the most mature and practical member of the peloton, to do some YouTube research on lighting camp stoves. My trip to the outdoors shop to collect our camping equipment didn’t fill me with a whole lot of confidence that we would all be returning with our eyebrows. Avoiding singed body hair is now resting on my trust that Bec’s web browser history contains the words “how to light an MSR bunsen burner safely”.
Signing out for now, but remember - this is an open invite to anyone that would like to commit themselves to a stint riding with us, our smelly armpits, singed eyebrows and pink sporks.