You may have noticed that the red square on my LIVE map hasn’t been moving too much recently.
The truth is, my departure from London at the end of May could have been better. Things can always be better can’t they?
Before the grand départ
Perhaps cycling around Britain and Ireland for two months, attempting to break a world record for the number of people ringing a bike bell, packing up my flat, leaving work and organising a fundraising night at the Royal Geographical Society 2 days before my departure was maybe not the best way to make sure I left in the most prepared state for this round the world bike ride…but it was a lot of fun! And at least it’s started… and that (everyone tells me) is the most difficult thing… to just start doing that BIG thing that you want/need to do.
As a self-acknowledged chronic procrastinator, I was in serious danger of never actually starting this adventure that I had dreamed about doing since leaving university, a whopping 14 years ago. So just starting it on a date I had committed to was a really important step.
I wish I had sorted out all my travel vaccinations whilst still in the UK. It would have been far cheaper and easier to get them done with my local GP rather than having to hunt around for travel clinics in Paris and Brussels – for Rabies and Hepatatis B you need a course of 3 jabs completed at various intervals over a period of 3 weeks, hence the multiple vaccinations.
There are SO MANY things I could have done to make a smoother start to this adventure, but if I had tried to do them all before leaving, I probably would have never started it!
The adventure has begun
In the two most recent cities I cycled through (Brussels and where I am now in Amsterdam) I have spent most of my time sat at a laptop going through a rather large back log of emails and trying to get on top of some other important admin like organising a second passport for when the visa games begin when I leave Europe and dealing with an order of 10,000 SuperCyclingMan rubber bracelets coming from China. (They’ll be yours to buy for just £1 real soon!). I can’t carry 10,000 bracelets with me on my bike (!), so my amazing mum and dad are going to act as my SUPER merchandise team and receive email orders and deliver them on to anyone who wants one (or several hundred!) of these. Setting all this up takes time. So THAT’s what I’ve largely been doing recently…THAT’s why I’ve not been going very far. But sometimes the best way forward is to stop…just for a short while anyway.
Luckily I had a few friends I could stay with in both Brussels and Amsterdam, so I could hole myself up in a spare room for a few days and work away on their WiFi (and coffee machines) without ringing up huge bills for internet cafes or accommodation. Charlotte, Jo and family and Phil and family, you have been absolute life-savers letting me stay with you in Brussels and Amsterdam.
I certainly haven’t got EVERYTHING done, but thanks to you, I’ve had a chance to deal with some of the most urgent stuff and I’ve had a chance to recharge my headspace (as well as my stomach and legs) so I can keep on enjoying the adventure. And that’s hugely important for me. I don’t want this adventure to be a suffer-fest. Sure, it’s going to be challenging at times, but above all, I want to enjoy this trip of a lifetime and have time to explore and meet people. By giving me a base for a few days, you’ve let me catch up with the off the bike stuff, so I can keep on enjoying the on the bike stuff. Thank you!
Back on the bike tomorrow and heading for the Shimano Road offices in Nunspeet to pick up some Shimano kit (FREE KIT….WOOOOP!), then on to Heerenveen to drop by the KOGA headquarters for some final tweaks to my bike (NEW BIKE GEAR…OH YEAAHHH!) and then I’m heading through Germany down the Rhine towards Cologne.