Monday, September 30, 2013

Ride Wrap-up

I've been delaying this final ride entry. I'm not sure why exactly why it's taken so long, the final day of the ride was Aug 25 and I arrived home Aug 28th. That makes it a month since the end of the ride. I figure that writing this last post is me admitting that the summer adventure is over and it's time to complete the re-entry into my real life.

I'll tell you, returning after such an adventure takes a bit of time to reorient yourself when you get home. I'm not sure if I'm really ready to say that I'm even back at this point, but I need to do a final trip entry.

When I got home, I had my bike reassembled and ready to ride, but I couldn't bring myself to clean the bike, washing off dirt and mud that had accumulated since Vienna. The layers of dirt contain a brief history of countries that we had ridden through. Last week I needed to bring the bike into the shop to have the chain replaced and to have a post-ride inspection, so I reluctantly took out the hose, gathered the cleaning soap and brushes and gave the bike a good scrubbing. In the end, the bike was sparking clean with gears shining in the sunlight, but the accumulated road dirt, the history of the ride, was running down the driveway into the drain.

One the goals for this trip was to push the boundaries of my concept of "foreign". To me, foreign is just some place that you haven't been or don't understand. I guess I've been using my bicycle to push back the what is foreign for a while now. When I first started to travel via bicycle, even many of the states in the US were foreign to me. When traveling from coast to coast in the US, many of the states were what are commonly called fly-over states. States that you fly over when traveling from the East coast to the West. Each time you travel, especially by bike, the places you travel, becomes more familiar and less foreign.

This trip we biked 8 countries, only one (France) that I had been in before. So each new kilometer and new country, my concept of foreign was pushed back.  Maybe that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling by bike. Push back the boundaries that are unfamiliar and possibly foreign, test what you are capable of and perhaps become a bit healthier for it.

Was as so fortunate to be able to share the experience with such a great group of folks. Thank you everyone.


  1. Brian; Congrats on a terrific ride and more boundary pushing. The best ride is the next one: what's next for you? You were lucky to escape the US Customs and the US Dept of Agriculture! When I came back from Europe this year, USDA wanted to keep my bike because I had ridden off of the regular roads (on bike trails) in The Netherlands! They were afraid of the diseases the dirty tires might have. I had to convince them that the bike was clean (it had rained all the day the last day I rode it) and after a visual inspection it was OK'ed. The delay caused me to miss my connection. Mike H. (IN)

  2. Hi Brian, Congratulations! Thanks for your posts; I enjoyed them. We are one world; so different in many ways, but so much alike. See you soon, I hope. Carla

  3. What happened to the recap of all the funny things you do when you got back because you think you are still on the ride?

  4. Thanks very much for the blog Brian. I very much enjoyed following your trip!