A bus, 2 free hire cars, and a ferry and all of a sudden I find myself in Auckland ready to fly home tomorrow morning. As you can imagine, this snuck up on me rather quickly. To be honest, it won’t hit me that the whole trip is ending until I find myself sitting my my flat in a couple of days. For anyone that’s interested, I have cycled 6684km (give or take 20 or so) since leaving home last November. That’s 4153 miles. When I set out I had no idea how far I would cycle, though to be honest even though it was me turning the pedals, the number doesn’t really mean anything to me. I just know it’s a long way. On the subject of numbers, here are some more:
I had 6 punctures (only 1 due to sharp object)
I replaced 1 tyre
I cycled the 5 main mountain road passes on NZ South Island (no wonder I found NZ hilly)
I slept in 68 different beds (at least 4 of which were also brothels, though I didn’t know when I checked in, honest!)
I had bedbugs 2 times
I slept under canvas 37 nights
I caught 8 flights, 3 boats, 3 trains, 3 ferries, 7 buses 1 car and 1 van.
I have been bitten by sandflies and mosquitoes countless times, one of which got so infected I had to get antibiotics and stay off the bike for several days. I got hit by a van, run off the road by trucks several times (always New Zealand). I struggled with heat rash, which prevented me from cycling after 1pm much of the time in Asia. These aren’t the things I’ll remember though – what will stick in my mind the longest will be fantastic people I met in every country I visited. From the man in Khoun Kham, Laos who insisted buying me a beer, even though we couldn’t even have a conversation (this was quite common), to the man who randomly stopped his car and gave me a plastic bag with some lunch in it near Nelson, NZ (I had a brief conversation earlier in the day with him), I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people. I really feel much of this wouldn’t be shown if I was to travel by more conventional means.
I really have to thank a number of people who helped throughout the trip – The Canadians of godspokeleduc.com including Lyle & Cricket who gave me lift in the only wet day of the trip. The countless people who gave food/beer to a weary Scottish cyclist. Natalie in Battambang, Cambodia for putting my up for the night, Gordon Anderson for showing me an alternative side to Bangkok. Mat & Amy, Sanji and Asela for putting me up, and more. Amy Hansen for putting me up also. Liv for serving as a mobile banking service and not running off with my card & PIN. Rob & Neish for the contacts, the useful advice, and inviting me to the event which got me thinking about doing this trip in the first place. Also, a huge thanks to those who donated to my charity. If you haven’t and would still like to, you still have until the weekend. Apologies to those I have forgotten.
So, what next for the Pedallingscot? I should really think about getting a job, most likely back on ships again. Though I have my sights on another trip – perhaps South America. I hope you have enjoyed following the blog, I have certainly enjoyed writing it – something for me to look back on when I am old and wrinkly! See most of you soon. As for the followers in Martanique, Bangladesh, Japan, Slovakia as well as several other countries – I have no idea who you all are, but thank you anyway!
Over and out.