I’m in the corner counting to ten.
Ten days until I depart!
The other contestants are all in London as I write this and will be about to jump on their bikes and start the event that none of us will ever forget. I’ve tried to keep in touch with their preparations leading up to the official start in London and know that I’m going through the same things, just ten days behind. I’m at the stage where I have all my gear lined up on the spare bed thinking, ‘Am I going to get all that on the bike?’ And also wondering how heavy the whole thing will be when I head off.
|Have I Forgotten Anything?|
I had a chat to the travel Doctor and managed to convince myself that I could get away with fewer vaccinations than strictly advised in the interest of saving money. I also found out that I was too late to get the full set of rabies shots so will have to get the last one while I’m away. I must make a mental note not to pat any rabid animals until I’ve had that last shot. So got my yellow fever, typhoid, and first rabies shot last week and will get my second rabies shot next week.
I also had to put an explanatory note together for the Republic of Kazakhstan people as they couldn’t understand why anyone would want to ride a bicycle through the Southeast of their country. So hopefully I have sufficiently explained myself and will get my passport back this week with the stamp in it. In fact two stamps because I’m rapt that my Chinese Visa has been approved. That passport has got to be back in my greasy little hand this week because I will need it in the following week. My suggestion of starting the trip on my NZ passport until I got my other one sent on to me didn’t go down well with Diane my travel agent.
I’ve put a lot of thought into my tool kit as you can see from the photo. In addition to what you see there I have added a complete front axle with cones, bearings, and quick release lever. So much thought has gone into it that the tool kit weighs 2kgs and that’s not including the 3 spare tubes and spare tyre. I think I’ve got the mechanicals covered. I should be able to remove every piece of my bike on the side of the road and put it back together again. Once I’ve pitched the tent or hung the mosquito net and got a rice risotto on the boil I should be able to rebuild both wheels while listening to the local radio station or sweet talking the natives. (Well that’s how it all pans out in my dreams). Any tool that you don’t see in that photo I have decided I can make or borrow from the local farmers. Rest assured I won’t be having cycle mechanics or bike parts flown in like some of the adventurers you read about these days. I won’t have the luxury of a support vehicle to call upon when things get grippy. My parents refused to drive along behind me when I got to 12yrs old. They said ‘Niel its time you grew up. If you get on your bike and go for a long ride you get yourself home. Here’s your ice cream money and make sure you’re home for dinner’. Well I certainly will not be home for dinner this time!
My mother doesn’t remember who I am now so she won’t worry if my dinner gets cold. My father showed me how to fix things, how if I pedal for long enough in the same direction I’ll return to where I started, and how once you’re married with kids your dreams remain just that. So I think he’d be happy for me to miss the odd meal. (Adi’s going to pack me a cut lunch before I go I’m sure. I’ll really miss her.)
If you see anything on the bed that you don’t think I’ll need please let me know. I’m always happy to save weight. I think I know what you’re going to say though. ‘We don’t think you need the Digitech Mini Weather Station Niel’
But when I’m lying in the tent aka ‘The two Gay Girls’ and the rain is drumming down but my Digitech Mini Weather Station says fine weather, I can still have hope of sunny blue skies and tail winds. And besides it doesn’t weigh much nor does it need an internet connection.