Whilst it is in the air, you will know which outcome you wish to be true…
With the cycling around the world event which I agreed to take part in from February, I have faced many challenges, firstly getting out of Europe and into the freezing temperatures of Poland and Ukraine to crashing and having to return home to the UK to fix the bicycle before carrying on from India. If only things were plain sailing from here as a day from Mumbai I got involved in another road collision and the repairs that I had made were useless and the bicycle was ruined once again.
Getting out of India then became my main priority, truth be told this was incredibly difficult for me, travelling 1600 km across a country with a broken bicycle and six bags left me in an extremely vulnerable position and was not a highlight although I see it as a great achievement to of made the trip.
Arriving in Nepal I was keen to look for a solution and had a few options, I was very keen to give the cycling one more bash so had to try and find a frame so that I could repair the bicycle once more and continue the riding. I searched within the country and could not find anything suitable for my needs and was close to giving up. I then had an offer from a company, Tout Terrain, to send me a frame so that I could continue the trip. I looked into import rules for Nepal and they are quite tight and expensive due to the climbing element of the country. This was when I took the decision to fly to Thailand.
Arriving in Thailand I thought that a frame would be with me quite quickly so vowed not to get comfortable, I stayed in a hotel far from the city centre and didn’t unpack many bags as to get going as quickly as possible. On my second day in Bangkok I scoped out a bike shop and got a quote for the work that I would need doing as to be prepared for when the frame arrived.
The shipment left Germany on the 17th April and didn’t arrive to me in Bangkok for a month. This left me in a bit of a dire situation. As much as Thailand is a relatively cheap place to live compared with European standards, a month in a city with no plan of action having to keep myself occupied as to not going insane through boredom led to a burden on my finances. Also the long break from the cycling, I did not anticipate being in Thailand for this long and did not anticipate the delivery to take so long led me with a lack of motivation to get going again.
I made the decision to get going again and take things one step at a time with the decision to cycle down to Singapore as a test run to see how I felt before deciding whether to carry on with plans to go to Australia or not. I got the bike built in a shop and got everything ready to go. I woke up early in the morning and set off from Bangkok, I cycled through the suburbs and into the centre. I crossed out to the other side which was the direction I needed to go and something did not feel right.
I decided I would book into a different hotel and get some rest and then crack on early out of Bangkok as I was staying close to the road I needed to get out of Bangkok on the next day. I took the day to fuel up and try and rest but something just wasn’t feeling right. I tried to sleep at 10 PM, 4 AM came around and I had been lying in bed all night unable to fall asleep. I started to question the whole trip and my motives behind it. I questioned going back to the solitary life I had been leading and I questioned my finances and the lack of and extremely tight budget I was on, student loans only go so far. I questioned what others would think of me if I were to stop cycling here and I questioned whether it was a decision made in haste or what.
I needed more time to decide and took a few more days in Bangkok to try and come to terms with exactly what I wanted to do. This was a huge decision to make and I did not want to make the wrong one. I tried to set off cycling once again and cycled for most of a day out of Bangkok. However it just wasn’t feeling good for me. I couldn’t put my finger on what the issue was but it just wasn’t working for me. I didn’t feel 100% confident on the bicycle and perhaps the two crashes had affected me a little more than I had expected.
I think staying in one place for so long has led to a lack of motivation for the trip and a degree of comfort in having a few friends out in Bangkok living normal lives. The money factor has also played a huge issue, I never made any attempt to hide the fact I was doing this whole trip on a ridiculously small budget but was confident it could be done. Having to fly home from Ukraine and back out to India and then a month in Bangkok led to more cash being spent than I had anticipated and to carry on could have well and truly bankrupt me.
Therefore, I made the decision to return to the UK and admit to failure for my attempt to cycle around the world. This brings me great sadness to of had to of quit such an attempt but for the past four months, life has not been real, and in all honesty I just feel totally burnt out and exhausted from this trip, the mental and physical stress of it all has played heavily on my mind and body and think I need to recharge the batteries.
Despite all this, I think my excitement for cycling has increased more than ever, I want to do more challenges in the future and have had some great ideas. I think I will have recovered some funds for a trip in September perhaps.
I would like to thank everyone who has believed in me for this trip and all of my sponsors, especially Brooks and Tout Terrain for believing me in right down to the end. I must also apologise to everyone who has supported me for not being able to continue and complete this trip.
At the end of the day, this trip has been a failure as I have not achieved the goals I set out to. I think it is important to admit to your failures and the things I have learnt from this trip have been invaluable. I will be sure to be back out on the roads all summer training for the next trip. I urge everyone to keep following the World Cycle Race and cheer on those riders still doing an incredible job every day.