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Bicycle adventures, the real thing


So, where to start with your bicycle adventures? I am no longer a rookie in long distance cycling. It seems a long time ago since I started with cycling. And in fact it is a long time since I started. When I was a kid I cycled already a lot.

It all starts with a proper idea! That sounds obvious but it isn't that obvious as I regularly realize when I get emails of people asking me where to start! So where DO you start? Well, you don't start with the money part. The first thing you need to think about is what do you want!

When I started cycling for holidays I first bought a Rih bicycle as I didn't know if I would want to do some fast cycling or off road. In fact, I had no idea at all what I had to expect.

After some shorter bike rides in France and Belgium I realized cycling was good fun, I would see a lot more and I would experience a lot more and intensive than I had ever seen and experience than in any other way.

My bicycle somewhere down the road

My bicycle somewhere down the road

My Rih bike was a great bike but very soon I realized it was too light for carrying heavy luggage and thus it was not suitable for longer bicycle adventures.

It was only when I was backpacking in Asia that I start thinking again about cycling.

It all happened with a crazy English guy I met in Pakistan. He cycled on a daily dose of marihuana. If he could cycle with a lot of dope in his head, I could easily cycle without it.

A few months later I met a Chinese in Dali who had cycled 10.000 km with having only one arm and one leg. This was an amazing achievement considering this man! (The full story can be read here.)

Dakrong bridge at the Ho Chi Minh Trail Vietnam

Dakrong bridge at the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Khe San Vietnam

After these 2 meetings my next journey became more and more clear. I couldn't use the Rih bicycle, so I had to get a better bike. In the next months my plans became more and more substantial.

Back in the Netherlands I bought a Koga Myata Worldtraveler. I was told this was the best bicycle possible for what I wanted.

Japanese cyclist I met just outside Thakhek

Meeting other cyclists is always great.

I didn't know much about bicycles, technically spoken. So I had to count on the experts. I went back on the road, started in Holland, and cycled my way back to North Pakistan. But even if you organize everything to details, things can easily go wrong. In two weeks time I broke things on the bike that never should break but they still did (back rim, both racks, saddle, peddle, stem... here's the story)

An afternoon rest in Amnat Charoen, north east Thailand
An afternoon rest in Amnat Charoen, north east Thailand

For my second journey I went back to Bangkok and cycled to China where I spend almost a year cycling. But after almost 40.000 km I was ready for something else. For a year I lived in England where I couldn't cycle much. Winter isn't the best time to cycle and anyway, I was living in Manchester. It was hard to leave even the city unless you take other transport first. And I hate cold weather.

Xiangzhou Guangxi province China
Sometimes in non touristy areas you can get dirt cheap hotel rooms
like here in Xiangzhou, where I paid US $15 for a suite

Back in Asia, I live now in Malaysia, I picked up cycling again, searching for more bicycle adventures. I'm not sure for how long this will be but I usually say: "I'll stay as long as I like it". It's good cycling here although not many people know or even believe that. It's only 5 minutes to be out of the town and be in the wide open lands or the plantations. It gave me more bicycle adventures like my meeting with the cobra in the hills near Bruas in Malaysia

Money

As you see, my bicycle adventures didn't come from one day to another. It was an idea that developed over a period of time. And where did I get the money from?

At first I had a house in Amsterdam which I rented out. That way I could pay both the bank and my expenses on traveling.

I keep saying that what I do anyone can do. Building a quality website can make you the money you need for traveling and make your dream come true but basically all you need is to look inside yourself and search for what you really like. Should you decide to build a website about your journey, you can always contact me for information how I did it.

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Cycling is for everyone

Johan was 8 years old when he did a 4 days journey from Sitiawan to Penang, Malaysia. He told me later it was indeed "the real thing"

Johan enjoying his meal while we cycled Teluk Senangin
Johan enjoying his meal while we cycled Teluk Senangin

Here's Johan story


Bruas, The Cobra

Sometimes I take shortcuts. Well, usually they take longer and take more time. But sometimes I also have interesting meetings. Like on the estate near Bruas Malaysia where I came face to face with a 2 meter cobra.

The Cobra in Bruas


Hospitality in Iran

Unfortunately few people believe when I tell them about my experiences in Iran. People were so amazingly friendly! Here's a story how you wish you would be treated everywhere.

Hospitality in Iran