The secret diary of a round the world cycle

The world is a small place.

On Saturday 2nd September we completed our bike ride around it - and so closed the final gap on the map we’ve been updating for the last eleven months.

We have now officially cycled round the world – it’s a great feeling.

Saturday was a day we’ll never forget.

Joined by 32 of our close friends and family, with the rest waiting for us at Buckingham Palace, we rode the final kilometers from Brighton to London.

It was an amazing feeling to have so many close friends around us as we cruised the last kilometre or so down The Mall and to the Palace gates.

The Queen of England herself unfortunately had other business to attend to on the day so she couldn’t ride with us, but she did send her congratulations.

Genuinely.

Katie’s mum Jan had written to Buckingham Palace to inform the Queen we would be finishing there, and they responded with this letter.

This isn’t a wind up…

The final stats are now in. The total distance was 22,278km, completed in exactly eleven months.

The average distance cycled per day (excluding rest days) was 114km.

The total climbing was 106,532m, 12 times the height of Mount Everest.

The longest cycled in a day was 210km, the longest riding time in a day was 11 hours 4 minutes and the fastest speed was 79kph.

The total riding time was 1,125 hours and 33 minutes.

There is a full breakdown of all our stats for each leg and the total trip available here.

Summarising a year on a bike is an impossible task to do in one blog, so this is a special edition.

Every day, Ewan has been recording the stats and events of that day in a small pocket diary.

We’ve hand picked our favourite days of the trip, and have copied our diary entries for you to read.

First watch this video – then enjoy our final blog below as we take you around the world in 38 days.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to write these blogs – thank you for following our trip, we hope you have enjoyed it almost as much as we have.

It’s goodbye from The Freewheelers … for now.

Day 1: Sunday 2nd October 2016

Distance: 75 (km) / Ride Time: 3:38 (hours:minutes) / Av. Speed: 20.6 (kph) / Max Speed: 39 (kph) / Ascending: 198 (vertical metres)

Accommodation: Rod and Helen’s [Katie’s Aunt and Uncle]

Where: Burghfield, England

Weather: Beautiful sunny day

Here we go! Farewell breakfast with Ewan’s family, then a quick photo shoot. Had to repair a hilarious puncture before we’d even left the park, then the kids joined us for a lap of honour on their bikes before we left. Met Katie’s parents and Rod and Helene near Reading who rode with us to the house. Quite an indescribable feeling to be on our bikes and heading out of London after so much planning and talking about it. LET’S GO!

Read more about this day here in: "What could change in a year?"

Day 16: Sunday 17th October 2016

Distance: 113 / Ride Time: 4:57 / Av. Speed: 22.8 / Max Speed: 29 / Ascending: 3

Accommodation: Camping next to a river

Where: Near Newport, Florida, USA

Weather: Foggy start to the day but quickly turned sunny and hot

Amazing breakfast with Stuart, Lisa, Ella and Gabe who befriended us last night and offered their yard for us to camp in. They cooked bacon, eggs, “gritz” (sort of like porridge), coffee and chocolate milk. When we left they gave us a baseball, a bible and $36. We tried to refuse the money but they insisted, so we will pass on the good deed to someone else. Span down to Perry where we ate lunch outside a gas station car park. Great riding down highway 98, camping next to a huge river.

Read more about this day here in: "Trespassers will be used for target practice, thieves will be shot on sight"

Day 31: Tuesday 1st November 2016

Distance: 137 / Ride Time: 6:00 / Av. Speed: 24.3 / Max Speed: 39 / Ascending: 628

Accommodation: Carol’s Bunkhouse [Warm Showers hosts]

Where: Carmine, Texas, USA

Weather: Pouring with rain, thunder and lightning

Tough day. Fast start – did 60km before first stop of the day. Then the heavens opened. Decided to press on as we still had a fair way to go but within 5 minutes we were soaked through. Were on a major highway, traffic bad but decent shoulder. Got to Carol’s after 135km. This place is brilliant. Staying in an awesome bunkhouse, had dinner with Carol who is amazing. She’s 87, has hosted over 700 cyclists over the years and literally built her own house – with her own two hands. A real inspiration – fantastic woman. Pleasure to have met her and stayed here.

Read more about this day here in: "The gun, the knife or the hammer?"

Day 38: Tuesday 8th November 2016

Distance: 118 / Ride Time: 5:57 / Av. Speed: 19.8 / Max Speed: 29 / Ascending: 258

Accommodation: Kevin and April’s House [Couch Surfing hosts]

Where: Del Rio, Texas, USA

Weather: Headwinds and raining all day

All round terrible day. Katie blocked the toilet where we were staying. Plunged for over an hour but no joy. Had no choice but to leave note and offer to pay for plumber. Very rough day riding. Three punctures, slow and frustrating. Both getting moody and hungry. Made it only 50km before stopping for lunch, felt a bit better afterwards and managed to hit Del Rio. Watched election at Kevin and April’s, everyone stunned by Trump win. Total disaster, everyone shocked in their house, although a lot of Trump posters and banners up in Del Rio. Katie very bad reaction to the cat and face started swelling, ended up having to move from the house and into the horse box in the garden to sleep and escape cat hair. Not our best day all in all.

Read more about this day here in: "Londonistan"

Day 45: Tuesday 15th November 2016

Distance: 96 / Ride Time: 5:00 / Av. Speed: 19.2 / Max Speed: 49 / Ascending: 75

Accommodation: Kelia’s Flat [Friend of a friend]

Where: El Paso, Texas, USA

Weather: Freezing cold morning, slowly warmed up.

Cold cold start, hands felt like they were about to fall off. Amazing camping last night under the “supermoon” next to the Mexico border. Slowly but surely got closer, plagued by punctures – 6 in total today. Eventually rolled into El Paso, cool place, surrounded by mountains and right on Mexico border. Bought new tyres as these ones are done. Feels great to have finally crossed Texas – we’re daring to think about the end of the States now.

Read more about this day here in: "Londonistan"

Day 49: Saturday 19th November 2016

Distance: 165 / Ride Time: 6:21 / Av. Speed: 26.4 / Max Speed: 48 / Ascending: 323

Accommodation: Camping wild

Where: Duncan, Arizona, USA

Weather: Beautiful sunshine, incredible tailwind

Started off on the Interstate 10 [motorway], traffic busy but not unmanageable. Just the most unbelievable tailwind today, blew us along the whole way. Felt like we didn’t have to try. Reached Lordsburg (110km) by midday, then cracked on via highway 70 to Duncan. It’s getting more and more like the Wild West. Totally deserted, huge hills on either side, massive cactus, over 4m tall. Pasta scran for tea then back on it tomorrow.

Read more about this day here in: "Wild wild west"

Day 51: Monday 21st November 2016

Distance: 139 / Ride Time: 8:06 / Av. Speed: 17.1 / Max Speed: 36 / Ascending: 779

Accommodation: Ryan and Jen’s [Warm Showers]

Where: Pheonix, Arizona, USA

Weather: Torrential rain, thunder and lightning and headwind.

I’ll never forget this day. Packed away tent and set off on highway 60. Notoriously bad road. Expecting weather to be bad but not prepared for what we got. Made it up first 20km of climbing without trouble, then stopped to fix puncture. On the way down to Superior we got absolutely pounded. Thunder, lightning, torrential rain, could hardly see it was so strong. Painful when it hit you. Cars thundering by, no shoulder and no where to pull over as surrounded on each side by sheer cliffs. Through a badly lit tunnel – very scary. Had an enormous Mexican meal in Superior to recover – both a bit shaken. Tough rest of the day to Pheonix into harsh headwind. Ryan a good lad. Great night, terrifying day!

Read more about this day here in: "Wild wild west"

Day 54: Thursday 24th November 2016

REST DAY

Accommodation: Britney and Jeff [Warm Showers]

Where: Pheonix, Arizona, USA

Kindly hosted by Britney and Jeff for Thanksgiving. Headed over to their friend “Jaws” [nickname] house, and his wife Amber. They are all policemen/women – nice people. Very “Trumpy”. We hung around drinking and eating all day, before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner which was deep fried Turkey. Jaw’s is also a cop, has some great stories – but talks a lot. When him and Amber are talking, they shout. He told us how he gave his son in laws a bullet when they proposed to his daughters. He told them “if you mess around my daughters, the next one will be coming at you much faster”. It was a delicious dinner. After eating he got out his AR15 machine gun and gave it to the kids to play with. No one batted an eyelid.

Read more about this day here in: "Wild wild west"

Day 69: Thursday 8th December 2016

Distance: 83 / Ride Time: 4:06 / Av. Speed: 20.2 / Max Speed: 52 / Ascending: 639

Accommodation: David and Izzy’s [Friends of Dad]

Where: San Diego, California, USA

Weather: Beautiful sun, no wind

We made it! End of leg 2 – we crossed the USA! Stunning day, nearly all downhill to the sea across beautiful countryside and through the city. Arrived at the beach with cycling buddy George, then went to a nearby bar for drinks to celebrate. Got some pics on the beach then picked up by David and Izzy who are legends. Back at their incredible house now. Very chilled evening chatting, now so tired – need sleep.

Read more about this day here in: "Crossing a continent" or "Land of the free"

Day 88: Wednesday 28th December 2016

Distance: 104 / Ride Time: 6:16 / Av. Speed: 16.5 / Max Speed: 75 / Ascending: 1,514

Accommodation: Simon and Barb’s – Met on the beach

Where: Whitianga, New Zealand

Weather: Beautiful day, tailwind

Beautiful days ride along highway 25 all day, 55km to Coromandel along the coast. Two massive hills on the approach to Coromandel town, smashed up them then chilled for a few hours. Huge climbing in the afternoon, beautiful scenery and incredible windy roads. Eventually made Whitianga, pulled over onto the beach to rest. Approached by Simon and Barb who were asking where we were going. Explained about our trip and they invited us back to their house. Awesome people and amazing house. Their son is an Olympic swimmer, spent a great night chatting and eating fresh caught fish from the sea.

Read more about this day here in: "Here's to 2017"

Day 103: Thursday 12th January 2017

Distance: 123 / Ride Time: 6:51 / Av. Speed: 18 / Max Speed: 56 / Ascending: 1,178

Accommodation: Camping

Where: Murchison, New Zealand

Weather: Pouring rain and beautiful sun

All round brilliant day. Climbing straight out of Nelson, rain started pouring, slow going, totally soaked. Met three German bikers in café and had laugh with them. Sun came out and turned into a beautiful day, steam came pouring of the trees. Lots of climbing, stopped at top of a mountain for lunch, then 35km descent through valley, trees and mountains. One of my favourite rides of the trip so far. Camped near a forest, watched the moon rise from behind the hills was very special.

Read more about this day here in: "If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain"

Day 116: Wednesday 25th January 2017

Distance: 151 / Ride Time: 6:48 / Av. Speed: 22.2 / Max Speed: 79 / Ascending: 966

Accommodation: Roger and Nina’s [Ewan’s friends]

Where: Dunedin, New Zealand

Weather: Sunny and incredible tailwind

Such a windy night hardly got any sleep in the tent. Woke up in the pouring rain, but stunning double rainbow. Tailwind amazing, but so strong at times almost dangerous, hard to keep control of the bike. Had to stop once as Katie almost blown off her bike. Clocked a new max speed on a descent, 79kph. Spun into Dunedin, one of the hilliest cities in the world. Got a picture in front of the Robbie Burns statue as it’s Burns Night today! Staying at old friends Roger and Nina’s. Great to be here and great to have finished the NZ leg despite very challenging conditions pretty much from the start.

Read more about this day here in: "Goodbye western world"

Day 130: Wednesday 8th February 2017

Distance: 119 / Ride Time: 6:02 / Av. Speed: 19.7 / Max Speed: 32 / Ascending: 16

Accommodation: Hotel Ngoc Thung

Where: Vinn Long, Vietnam

Weather: Hot and sunny, no wind

Back on the bikes with a bang! Absolutely mental getting out of Ho Chi Minh, motorbikes everywhere and generally crazy density of traffic. Beeping all the time. Once out the city, took a turn off the main road and had a pleasant afternoon on small roads with jungle everywhere, kids running to shout “Hello!”. Three small ferry crossings over the River Mekong before we hit Vinn Long. Used sign language to find a hotel. Great first day riding in Asia.

Read more about this day here in: "Culture shock"

Day 136: Tuesday 14th February 2017

Distance: 118 / Ride Time: 5:34 / Av. Speed: 21.3 / Max Speed: 31 / Ascending: 23

Accommodation: Sleeping in a monk’s room in a temple

Where: Damdek, Cambodia

Weather: Hot and sunny, tailwind

Up early at 0500 before morning prayers in the temple. Watched the sunrise. Absolutely beautiful place here although it’s covered in plastic and rubbish – like the rest of the country unfortunately. Bad boy noodle breakfast, then solid 60km before rice for lunch. Still with new friends Joe and Katie, fellow London cyclists. Realised it was Valentines day in the afternoon so we all stopped for a celebratory coffee. Ended up in a small town and are now sleeping in the room of a monk at another temple after asking permission from the head monk. Shower consisted of pouring a bucket of water on our heads. Almost set the room on fire, but that aside a brilliant day.

Read more about this day here in: "Bangkok has us now"

Day 147: Saturday 25th February 2017

Distance: 206 / Ride Time: 8:03 / Av. Speed: 26 / Max Speed: 37 / Ascending: 183

Accommodation: PA Place Hotel

Where: Nakhon Sawan, Thailand

Weather: Hot, tailwind

Terrible sleep last night in tent. Plagued by heat, wild dogs and mosquitoes. Up at 0630 and rode 30km to the old capital of Thailand. A solid 100km on flat and perfect roads before midday, rested in service station and hid from sun. Took the afternoon in sections as very hot. Great tailwind blew us into town at sunset, record distance for trip so far. Hit 9,000km today. Awesome dinner at Aprils’ Brasserie, then a kind man directed us to our hotel. Absolutely fried atm, need bed now. Another big day tomorrow.

Read more about this day here in: "Criminals on the run"

Day 149: Monday 27th February 2017

Distance: 85 / Ride Time: 5:22 / Av. Speed: 15.8 / Max Speed: 57 / Ascending: 1,482

Accommodation: Ban Pang Pond Hotel

Where: Mae Sot, Thailand

Weather: Very hot

Very hard day – there were tears. Climb started off easy enough but then started getting steep. Very steep and long ascents. 30km in we found a market. Didn’t want to buy too much food as extra weight to carry uphill but was a mistake. Extremely tough afternoon. Searing heat and no shade. Steep climbs, small roads and lots of trucks heading to the border. Katie overheated and needed food but we’d ran out. Had a bit of a wobble and had to sit at roadside and recover. Eventually through steepest bit and nice descent into Mae Sot after pretty extreme 477km in three days. Clean hotel and massive feed now. Spirits high again.

Read more about this day here in: "Criminals on the run"

Day 155: Sunday 5th March 2017

Distance: 116 / Ride Time: 5:24 / Av. Speed: 21.6 / Max Speed: 42 / Ascending: 345

Accommodation: Golden Bliss Hotel

Where: Kyaikto, Myanmar

Weather: Very hot

All round great day. Lovely ride through the jungle, although roads very bad and driving some of the worst yet – narrowly avoided a number of head on collisions. Great afternoon, arrived at hotel around 3pm, dumped stuff then got man on a moped to take us to Golden Rock. Eventually got there, one of the highlights of the trip so far, absolutely beautiful. Thousands of Buddhists here paying respect, magical place.

Read more about this day here in: "By the hair of Buddah"

Day 174: Friday 24th March 2017

Distance: 115 / Ride Time: 7:03 / Av. Speed: 16.1 / Max Speed: 30 / Ascending: 81

Accommodation: Buro Rest House

Where: Tangail, Bangladesh

Weather: Sunny, hot, very dusty

Unforgettable day. Totally ridiculous. Out of Mahtab’s house at 0500, rode across Dhaka to meet BD Cycles outside the parliament building. Many selfies and interview with TV camera. Set off with guys, lovely ride although mental traffic in Dhaka. Break, team photo and breakfast with very sound guys. Said goodbye then made our way to Tangiel. Very very bad traffic and bad driving. Extremely dusty and dirty. Went round the houses to find hotel, eventually found somewhere. Manager Kamal very excited we’re staying, we somehow made it onto the national news – he thinks we are celebrities.

Read more about this day here in: "Bengali stardom"

Day 177: Monday 27th March 2017

Distance: 91 / Ride Time: 4:37 / Av. Speed: 19.7 / Max Speed: 25 / Ascending: 58

Accommodation: Cyclone’s House

Where: Patgram, Bangladesh

Weather: Overcast

Great evening last night with Abdul Kubdos and family. Monumentally big breakfast as the family watched us eat. Showed them how to load the bikes and said goodbye. Took a quieter road today on recommendation of the son in law, lovely ride, less chance of death. Stopped for a break on a bridge and almost caused an accident due to people watching. Police had to move them on. Eat lunch in roadside café, crowds of 100+ people came to watch us eat, take selfies and generally stare. Spent afternoon at Cyclone’s house cleaning the bikes whilst a steady stream of local kids came to watch us. Cyclone and family brilliant people. Amazing last night in Bangladesh - incredible place.

Read more about this day here in: "Bengali stardom"

Day 183: Sunday 2nd April 2017

Distance: 160 / Ride Time: 7:13 / Av. Speed: 22 / Max Speed: 34 / Ascending: 130

Accommodation: New Star Hotel

Where: Rajbiraj, Nepal

Weather: Hot, sunny, tailwind

Another storming and classic day. Up and out of unbelievably bad hotel after being mauled by mosquitoes. Cracked on until we met the river, a few breaks to eat and refill water from hand pumps at roadside. Locals drink it so seems to be safe. On the final 20km into town we met Sutikshan who sorted us out a hotel and invited us back to his parents house. One thing led to another and we ended up in full Nepalese Hindu wedding clothing, eating food with our fingers sat on the floor. The daughter Swatii tried to gift Katie her wedding dress but we managed to politely refuse. Amazing day.

Read more about this day here in: "Going nuts"

Day 187: Thursday 6th April 2017

Distance: 79 / Ride Time: 6:10 / Av. Speed: 12 / Max Speed: 51 / Ascending: 1680

Accommodation: Tashidalek Hotel

Where: Dhulikhel, Nepal

Weather: Hot, sunny

Breathtaking day. Last night hotel very strange place so got out early. Long rolling hills through valleys following the river. Stopped for huge lunch somewhere then cracked on for big climb in afternoon. Climbed all afternoon, up and up in Himalayan foothills. Both feeling low so had plenty of stops. Scenery stunning, past rice paddies and mountains. Eventually made it to hostel with a stunning view of the Himalayas, and in striking distance from Kathmandu. Charismatic hotel owner Prem and his son Zidane (after the footballer) served us cracking scran.

Read more about this day here in: "Going nuts"

Day 194: Thursday 13th April 2017

Distance: 168 / Ride Time: 8:48 / Av. Speed: 19.1 / Max Speed: 27 / Ascending: 80

Accommodation: Hotel Singhaa

Where: Ballia, India

Weather: Extremely hot, 44.2 degrees

Another long, tough day. On the road at 0730. Took a wrong turn and took detour round a bunch of villages and townships. Back on the road and smashed 60km when we stopped to get food. Lots of staring people… On to 90km and it got very hot. Worked out how to set temp on Garmin, it clocked 44.2 degrees. Found roadside dal restaurant and ate a lot and hid from the sun. On the road again and a tough 40km. Roads appalling, very rocky, constant beeping, terrible drivers. Got puncture, stopped to repair it in front of crowd. Fed a kid a biscuit and he ran away crying. Man invited us for lunch with his family. Fed us awesome rice and dal in mud hut. An entire village came out to watch us buy Sprite. Then the final 40km to town where we found a decent hotel and are now getting clean.

Read more about this day here in: "Let's talk about death"

Day 201: Wednesday 19th April 2017

Distance: 156 / Ride Time: 8:44 / Av. Speed: 17.9 / Max Speed: 33 / Ascending: 203

Accommodation: Hotel Moti Mehal

Where: Etawah, India

Weather: Savage heat and savage headwind

Eventful, punishing and hard day. Last night awoken at 0200 by loud banging and rattling on the door – guys trying to force their way in. Eventually left, then we stayed awake shitting ourselves till we got up again at 0500 to leave at 0600. Manager couldn’t have given a fuck, left very angry. Quick start to the day, but wind picked up and soon got absolutely savage. Started to get extremely hot and windy and turned into a blast furnace. We had frequent stops for water and shade and food and ploughed on. Got cooler in evening and we hammered out the last 30km. Had a disaster trying to find a hotel. Many of them not registered to accept foreigners. Met a lad called Sagar in town who sorted us out with an awesome hotel where we are for now. Body feels exhausted

Read more about this day here in: "A rude awakening"

Day 205: Sunday 24th April 2017

Distance: 142 / Ride Time: 8:01 / Av. Speed: 17.7 / Max Speed: 33 / Ascending: 160

Accommodation: Hotel Gush International

Where: Delhi, India

Weather: Hot and headwind

What a day… India eventful to the end. Up and out of hotel by 0630. Tough headwind all day we battled into. First stop at roadside restaurant after 55km, then split the rest of the day into 30km chunks. It got hot and windy but kept plugging on. Eventually we got closer and closer to Delhi. Made it to the India gate and watched the sunset – awesome end to the leg. Also met a nice bike shop owner who flagged us down and we may meet up with tomorrow. Eventually found our hotel – exhausted. Went to check in - no passports… We’d left them 150km down the road at the last place. SHIT. Had to hire a taxi to go all the way back to Vrindivan where we collected the passports, then returned to the hotel and checked in at 2am.

Read more about this day here in: "A rude awakening"

Day 212: Sunday 30th April 2017

Distance: 128 / Ride Time: 8:22 / Av. Speed: 15.2 / Max Speed: 39 / Ascending: 704

Accommodation: Boorsok Hostel

Where: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Weather: Cold, wet and windy. Strong headwind

Long hard day in big headwind. Woke up in the tent to rain and cold wind. Packed away and ate breakfast huddled in the outer shell of the tent. Made gloves out of plastic bags. Nasty headwind and sleet and cold. Managed 15km before stopping for pasty and tea at roadside stop. Got running again, spun to the next section to the bottom of the climb. Invited in for cake by the policeman. An epic climb over the mountains into Bishkek. It’s a beautiful place surrounded by incredible mountains. Staying in awesome guest house and just had a spectacular feed of hot Kyrgyz food after a long and gruelling day. Taking a day’s rest tomorrow to plan route.

Read more about this day here in: "High altitude"

Day 215: Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Distance: 95 / Ride Time: 8:16 / Av. Speed: 11.4 / Max Speed: 47 / Ascending: 2,219

Accommodation: VIP Hotel

Where: Near to Suu Samyr, Kyrgyzstan

Weather: Cold in morning, then baking hot, now bitterly cold

A day I’ll never forget as long as I live. Woke up in Alic’s spare room, packed away then enjoyed a tremendous breakfast of Jam, egg, bread and tea. Fed the sheep, said goodbye, then started a big day of climbing. Started gently, moving up through the hills following a river. Cooked up pasta beside river. Then after lunch the punishment began. Switchback after switchback – up and up. The sun became so hot, and then the wind started up. Strong headwind on the final ascent. Through the snow. Eventually we reached the summit. 3,200m. Choppy descent down potholed road, then a long grassy stretch where we pedaled away into the wind. Met another tourer. Debated camping but luckily found a hotel as it’s well below freezing outside. Could have been a disaster to sleep out in this. One of my favourite days ever.

Read more about this day here in: "High altitude"

Day 226: Sunday 14th May 2017

Distance: 106 / Ride Time: 6:54 / Av. Speed: 15.5 / Max Speed: 56 / Ascending: 1,124

Accommodation: Camping at Vero’s House

Where: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Weather: Slight headwind, very hot

Mixed day, very eventful. Up at 6am, packed down tent and started the day by jumping in the most beautiful lake. Cooked up breakfast shared with Tim and Luke. Span onto a small town to stock up, then hit the climb. Long uphill for 20km ish. Steady all the time. Eventually got to the Anzob Tunnel. Debated cycling through but very dark. Road surface terrible. Ended up throwing the bikes in the scooper. of a digger. Absolutely terrifying and hair raising experience going through the tunnel, held on for dear life. Out the other side. Bikes seemed okay. Laptop not…Brilliant 80km decent to Dushanbe. Had a huge scran and a beer. Now at Vero’s (legendary Warmshowers host) home. Need a productive day tomorrow sorting shit out.

Read more about this day here in: "Dictators and divorce"

Day 229: Friday 19th May 2017

Distance: 167 / Ride Time: 8:54 / Av. Speed: 18.8 / Max Speed: 31 / Ascending: 200

Accommodation: Rumi Hostel

Where: Bukhara, Uzbkeistan

Weather: Sunny, headwind

An epic, long, tough day. Woke up in sitting room after sleeping in the same room as Sabina, Helena and the son (didn’t catch name), locals who had invited us to stay. Bread for breakfast then said goodbye, on the road by 0900. Road surface very rough today. Patches of great road but mostly terrible paved concrete. Rattling around everywhere. Very rough. Stopped to make pasta in empty gas station, then cracked on, morale low. Beautiful rugged scenery, rocky dusty and barren. Main difficulty was roads and relentless strong headwind. Final break at 120km, cooked noodles and pressed on to Bukhara. Stunning climb over the desert, saw the city in the horizon and after a final 30km push arrived bang on 8pm just as the sun was setting over the mosques. Amazing feeling being here.

Read more about this day here in: "Dictators and divorce"

Day 249: Saturday 27th May 2017

Distance: 210 / Ride Time: 9:36 / Av. Speed: 21.9 / Max Speed: 57 / Ascending: 808

Accommodation: Camping in tunnel

Where: 120km east of Aktau, Kazakhstan

Weather: Fine and mostly sunny, tailwind

Record breaking day! Up in the night for a piss – incredible stars, best in the world. Watched sunrise at 0530, packed tent, ate and on the road. Absolutely incredible start, not a breath of wind. 40km then quick stop, 80km then another stop. Amazing descent and scenery, steppe goes on for as far as the eye can see. Had to hide from sun in a tunnel under the road at 1230. Afternoon solid and made our target town of Shetpe by 1700. Big feed, then decided to press on. Managed another 45km with brilliant tailwind to make a record-breaking day and set up easy day tomorrow. Camped in a tunnel under the road.

Read more about this day here in: "Moving swiftly on"

Day 262: Friday 9th June 2017

Distance: 164 / Ride Time: 8:00 / Av. Speed: 20.5 / Max Speed: 65 / Ascending: 873

Accommodation: Camping

Where: 10km south of Kataisi, Georgia

Weather: Hot, sunny and cracking tailwind

Georgia - you beauty. Banging breakfast, checked out Gori Castle and Stalin’s birthplace. Tailwind so good today, got 50km done for free – quick garage stop then up the hill. Climbing brilliant, beautiful sun and wind. Through villages and past castles. Half way up met the Scotland U20 rugby team here for world cup. Amazingly lit tunnel – then one of the best descents of the trip. Met two cool Swedes on the way down, more riding through stunning scenery, past a river where people were swimming so stopped to jump in. Found a camp spot hidden but near the road. EPIC.

Read more about this day here in: "Stark contrast"

Day 271: Sunday 25th June 2017

Distance: 161 / Ride Time: 8:23 / Av. Speed: 19.2 / Max Speed: 59 / Ascending: 1,098

Accommodation: Ibrahim’s House [random cyclist we met]

Where: Usak, Turkey

Weather: Beautiful sun and banging tailwind

Scariest moment of my life last night… Found good camp spot, hidden so set up tent once coast was clear. Very windy, tent peg came out so went out to fix it around midnight. Found by farmers passing nearby herding sheep and with very bright flashlights. Went to speak to them to explain we were tourists. Suddenly surround by 5 – 6 big and very aggressive dogs, going mental. Totally terrifying, thought I was going to get mauled to death. Sheep everywhere, pitch black, lots of shouting in Turkish. Eventually dogs got bored and moved on. Decided to pack up tent and slept in nearby mosque. Up at 0430 before prayers at 0500. Span to next town for food and recovery. Ended up a stunning days ride. About to camp on outskirts of Usak when met Ibrahim who invited us in food. Currently waiting in kitchen for post Ramadan meal once sun goes down.

Read more about this day here in: "The curious incident of the dogs in the nighttime"

Day 275: Sunday 2nd July 2017

REST DAY

Accommodation: On a boat

Where: Kinthos Bay, Greece

Weather: Beautiful sun and banging tailwind

(Written by Katie):

BIG DAY. Left Athens at 0600. Calm sea and no wind. Anchored for lunch at Poseidon’s temple and chilled in the sea. Moved on after a few hours. Ewan and Robbie (Ewan’s brother) got stuck into the kitchen when moored in a bay. Lots of chilling whilst the guys cooked up a Greek themed feast. Sat down to eat for night one of “come dine with me”. The guys produced “best bruschetta ever” as described by Jan (Katie Mum). After dinner Ewan introduced each of us as their Greek God persona. We were each given funny props i.e. beard for Zeus etc. After incredible main meal Ewan closed the night. Everyone was impressed when he began reciting a poem about each of us. When he got to me he carried on into more verses about our trip, uni and lives together. At the end he got down on one knee and produced a ring … and I said yes !

Read more about this day here in: "A Greek proposal"

Day 283: Monday 10thth July 2017

Distance: 108 / Ride Time: 5:24 / Av. Speed: 20.1 / Max Speed: 42 / Ascending: 376

Accommodation: Camping

Where: 15km west of Aigio, Greece

Weather: Hot and Sunny

A fantastic day. Woke up in Nik’s orchard where we’d camped, washed, then hit the road. A nice descent, covered 20km before eating fruit and yogurt on a beach with stunning view. Pressed on along secluded coastal road with little traffic. Water unbelievably clear. Stopped for a swim at midday and made wraps for lunch. Kate worked on CV whilst I read. Span along the coast to a place with the most amazing sunset I’ve ever seen. Camped behind a church when it got dark.

Read more about this day here in: "No shoulder to cry in"

Day 299: Wednesday 26th July 2017

Distance: 98 / Ride Time: 5:12 / Av. Speed: 18.7 / Max Speed: 47 / Ascending: 866

Accommodation: Guest House Giovanni

Where: Split, Croatia

Weather: Terrible thunder and lightning, then bright and sunny

One the hardest days on a bike. Last night was one of the worst sleeps I’ve ever had. Set up tent in the woods, about an hour after dark all hell broke loose. The brightest lightning, heaviest rain and loudest thunder – without reprieve for what seemed like hours. Thought the tent was going to get ripped apart. Drifted in and out but got little to no sleep. Woke up to a clear morning, showered at the beach then went. Felt weak and full of cold from the weekend and from two nights with no sleep. Dried out all our wet kit after 30km, and booked a hostel in Split tonight as can’t cope with another night in tent feeling like this. Beautiful coastline but couldn’t appreciate it as felt so weak. Rolled into Split into grotty hostel but don’t care. Exhausted.

Read more about this day here in: "Riding the heatwave"

Day 307: Thursday 3rd August 2017

Distance: 144 / Ride Time: 8:19 / Av. Speed: 17.3 / Max Speed: 50 / Ascending: 1,684

Accommodation: Hotel Parenzo

Where: Trieste, Italy

Weather: Incredibly hot – heatwave atm.

Long day, three countries, lots of riding and lots of climbing. Terrible sleep. Had coughing fit in the night which I can’t seem to shake atm. Had to call Dad and take drugs from first aid kit. Felt a bit better. Had to get up in middle of the night to put on the outer tent as it was threatening to pour with rain. Up and off at 0700, breakfast at Plodine, trip to Decathlon to get camping gas, then hid from the sun in café. Had to take regular shade/water/salt breaks all afternoon. Sweating so much. A monster climb out of Croatia, 30km spin through Slovenia then an amazing descent into Trieste, Italy. Smashed a pizza within ten mins of being in the country. Can’t face camping again with this cough so booked into hotel.

Read more about this day here in: "Riding the heatwave"

Day 324: Saturday 19th August 2017

Distance: 183 / Ride Time: 11:04 / Av. Speed: 16.6 / Max Speed: 32 / Ascending: 487

Accommodation: Vincent’s House [Warm Showers host]

Where: Portes-Les-Valence, France

Weather: Savage relentless headwind

An insanely hard day. Relentless wind in our faces all day. Good start and on the road by 0730. Headed for Avignon and made a tough but satisfying 60km by 1130. Stopped to stuff faces at boulangerie, then pressed on. Wind non stop in face. Hard to keep the bike moving at times. Ate lunch at 100km in an abandoned shed on a farm. Morale low. Pressed on along cycle path which ran out at times into rubble. Made day harder and more frustrating. Needed energy boost with 40km to go so stopped for oranges and sweets. Ploughed on and arrived exhausted at Vincent’s at 2100. Amazing house and host. Had dinner with dog, four chickens, six kids and nine cats.

Read more about this day here in: "The scenic route"

Day 330: Friday 25th August 2017

Distance: 169 / Ride Time: 8:25 / Av. Speed: 20.1 / Max Speed: 42 / Ascending: 399

Accommodation: Alice’s House [sister of a friend]

Where: Paris, France

Weather: Thunder and lightning, torrential rain then clear

A long and epic day! On the road by 0730. A quick morning through industrial towns. Chewed up the kilometers with a fast average speed. Breaks at 40km and 80km. Before lunch the weather closed in and we got caught out in savage thunder and lightning storm – absolutely soaked. A home made lunch in Carrefour as we waited for it to pass. Sun came out and we pressed on, final 50km to Paris. Hairy roads coming into town, but eventually hit the Seine. Been here many times but forgot how beautiful a city Paris is. Got a picture at the Eiffel Tower then headed to Alice’s house, on the doorstep of Notre Dame. ALMOST HOME.

Read more about this day here in: "The scenic route"

Day 338: Saturday 2nd September 2017

Distance: 102 / Ride Time: 6:36 / Av. Speed: 16.6 / Max Speed: 51 / Ascending: 1,207

Accommodation: Alice's Flat [Katie's friend]

Where: London, England

Weather: Beautiful sunny day.

A brilliant day, with brilliant weather, brilliant cycling and brilliant people. Up early to change tyres and fix up bikes. Headed down to Brighton pier to meet everyone. Amazing turnout, way more than we anticipated 32 in total from various places around the country. A bit sticky getting out of Brighton but beautiful once we got out into the countryside. Everyone made it up “The Beacon”, cracking views from the top. Cycling was a bit hillier than I thought but got everyone into London safely, and picked up Mum on a Boris bike on the way in. Arrived at Buckingham Palace around 6pm and all rode down The Mall together to meet Katie’s parents and other friends/family who’d come to meet us. Into the pub for beers and catch up with old friends. An amazing day – and a fittingly memorable end to a year we’ll never forget.


© 2017 by Katie Halliday & Euan Paterson. 

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