In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Last Blog Before the Start.

This will be the last blog I make before I start the’ World Cycle Race’. My start time is set for 9am on Tuesday morning. And to be honest , although the thought of leaving still scares me, the thought of more days of contemplating this and that and worrying about what needs to be done before I go, I can do without. I’m at the stage where I just want to get on my bike and ride for better or worse.

Bolivia is currently in flood from unusually heavy seasonal rain so it’s good that I put my start back a week. This was partly the reason for the delay and also because I couldn’t get my Visas and vaccinations in time. My Chinese and Kazakhstan Visas have been granted and my NZ passport is on its way back from the Kazakhstan embassy in Singapore apparently. If it doesn’t get here by Tuesday it will have to be sent onto me in Christchurch.

Our cat Bob who had an accident two weeks ago when I was in Wellington is slowly recovering but not before costing us $3000 dollars at the vet. He’s our child and has a very loving personality especially to Adi so I feel very sorry for him.  He hasn’t had an easy recovery. But it was such bad timing. At least I am still here to Vespa him to the vet each day for bandage changes etc. When I go Adi will have to cope with work and nursing. I’ll also teach her how to access the WCR site so she can comment on my state of mind and position when I can’t easily get internet access. The link for the race website is on my blog under the heading ‘am I winning yet & where the f am I’

From what I gather so far the other contenders have all started. However after day one Kyle Hewitt Scotland’s entrant has pulled out due to I believe family pressures, stress and financial concerns. I think this is really sad because he would have spent a lot of time and effort getting ready for this challenge and it’s unlikely that he will get the opportunity again. But I can certainly understand the pressures that a young person with a new baby, home and wife would be under. It’s certainly madness to try to do everything all at once in life. Kyle’s young and with ambition so I’m sure he’ll make the opportunity to do this again in the future if it’s still important to him.

From what I can gather Jason is having trouble with his bike and after getting a couple of days into France has packed up his machine in what seems, reading between the lines is a case of ‘My bike is just crap, get me off it’. He’s now back in London working on what he is calling plan B. At this stage no one except Jason knows what plan B is but I hope it’s ‘get a decent bike’ and get going again. I’m not sure he’ll be able to tell us his bike was crap because it may have been sponsored to him. Let this be a warning to Mercian Cycles. If my bike breaks the followers will know about it by way of a range of words I will not be afraid to publish. Actually the guys at Mercian should know by now, if they follow my blog, that I love my bike and I wouldn’t be using it for something like this if I hadn’t already tested it across continents.

Some of the other riders in the race are sounding a bit down about various things. But that’s only natural for an event this hard physically, and mentally too big to comprehend. You just can’t imagine the end so have to get through it day by day and then look forward to finishing each leg.

Then there’s others currently flying. I say currently because I’m sure they’d agree, nothing can be totally counted on in this sort of thing. And some of the contestants have what seems like absolute minimum kit and are flying close to the wire. It all makes for an exciting event to follow.
Loaded and Ready to Go.

The vet wanted to see me about Bob when I went to pick him up from his bandage change today. It felt like waiting to see the headmaster at school. I thought it could only be one of three things;

1.       Maybe I was going to be told off for dropping Bob off on the back of the Vespa each day. Or

2.       He was not improving or had got worse and the bill was about to double, get ready to mortgage the house.

3.       The bills so high we want immediate payment!

But it was none of the above. He said that he thought stem cell therapy would improve the healing and outcome. And once he had reassured me that it wouldn’t cost any more than conventional treatment, due to the fact that it was new and they wanted to practise it, I agreed.

I got home with Bob on the back of the Vespa to find a Bride and a gaggle of Bridesmaids getting their pictures taken in the paddock next door. It had momentarily slipped my mind that Jamie and Blair (our neighbours) were getting married today. Bob was too drugged to notice but it was a pretty sight in the field and I will have to get a copy of a photo for the Potters-End history.

I think that’s enough for now. My next report will be from the road. But I’d like to leave you pondering my current dilemma.; I have three unwrapped Easter eggs on the coffee table and a fly has just walked on one of them. Do I eat that one first knowing that I won’t now enjoy it but definitely enjoying the other two knowing that I got the contaminated one out of the way early? Or do I mix them up without looking in an effort to enjoy them all since I won’t then know which one was stomped on? (Easter always comes early in my life and lasts until the big chocolate egg sales are all over at the end).


  1. Good luck Niel, hang in there and remember 'the jouney of a thousand miles starts with the first step' or in this case the first pedal turn. I'll be following your adventure with interest and, I think, some envy.


  2. Nice one Niel!

    Looks like you will possibly heading through Kunming, China. Give us a buzz if you do, a fellow kiwi can take you to a New Zealand cafe for some real tucker :-)

    Also, I cycled 8000km through SE Asia which will be your next destination after China. I can give you some tips on the best roads!

    1. Thanks Brentles and Iain, I am currently having a quiet rum and energy drink before i go to bed. Should help me sleep? Ten and a half hrs before i go. ...Shit.

      I'll then pat the cat and walk out the door... Got to stop thinking about it.

      I forgot to clear the gutters!