I once read that preparing to go on an indefinite cycle tour was easy, and that it could be split up into three easy steps –
1. Buy a bike
2. Quit your job
3. Start riding
The rest just sorts itself out…
Now chances are that if you’re reading this then you already know me (if you don’t, nice to meet you, fancy coming on a bike ride?) and you probably know I’ve spent the last 6-8 years planning, plotting and scheming this ride up, and in all honesty, that bit’s harder than the actual ride.
The truth is, getting yourself to a situation where you can whittle your possessions down into a bunch of pannier racks is hard work, liberating, but still hard work. Then there’s the paperwork and fluff that ties you to your current normal life, things like; bills, contracts, rent, work commitments, and if you’re anything like me needless wine club, Xbox and Netflix subscriptions.
So when that’s done you can clamber aboard the push-rod and roll off into the sunset? Hold up petal. What about your passport? Best check it’s not going to expire and leave you up shit creek with a turd for a paddle in Turkmenistan next February. While we’re at it, you’ll need your European Health Card for when you inevitably bin-it into a tree or pick a fight with an angry lorry. Oh, travel insurance, you’ll need that, has to be a bit special though because you’re riding a bike and that’s apparently a bit dangerous.
All this while you should’ve gone to you’re GP for the run-of-the-mill travel vaccinations and popped into your local travel clinic and emptied your wallet, because you’re going to see a lot of ticks, mosquitos and other weird shit that could land you on some Channel 5 shockumentary.
It’s not all dreary paperwork though – you get to buy all manner of kit. Camping gear, bike tools, clothes that keep you warm, clothes that keep you cool, cameras, electronics, for me it turned out expensive, but I’m a gear-nut, just make sure it all squishes into your bags.
After that, spend a week getting drunk with your family and friends, you’ll soon realise you love them more than you ever imagined…
Then it’s time to start spinning pedals.