Strokes to Spokes – The Ride
In March, 2018 I left Bangkok, Thailand for an epic bicycle ride around the world. My plans started out relatively small but the more I thought about it and researched it more and more options came into play. A three month trip turned to a year which then grew to multiple years.
When I was fourteen years old the thought of a long distance bicycle ride was first introduced to me in our local paper when two journalists rode across the USA. During the summer of 1976 I followed their daily rides in the newspaper and started conjuring up my own routes across the country.
It wasn’t until 1990 when I finally had the opportunity to ride across America on a bicycle. I rode from Rochester, New York to Seattle Washington in forty-four days. I had a friend follow along in my car and carry all of our equipment making the ride a bit easier. That trip opened my eyes to traveling and I haven’t looked back since.
In 2003 I ventured out on another ride from Rochester to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This time I was self-supported for the fifteen-hundred mile ride taking twenty-five days.
In 2015 I moved to Cambodia for an unknown period of time and less than a year later I had a stroke which put me in hospitals in Siem Reap and then Bangkok for about a week. I knew I needed to get more exercise so I went back to my roots and started bicycling. Once I got back on the saddle I knew this was just the beginning.
Many people do long distance tours in Southeast Asia and I have met and talked with a lot of them when I pass them on the road. Each time I met someone on their tour put me one step closer to doing it myself. Just like everyone else each year that goes by I get one year older. If I waited too long I might never be able to ride for months or years on end so I figured it had to be done sooner than later.
For anyone who has not ridden a bicycle on a long tour it may be hard to understand why someone would do such a thing. Those of us that do ride long trips don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to ride like this. It is one of the best ways to travel through your surroundings. You don’t go too fast or too slow. It is just the right speed to take in everything around you. You meet people along the road who inspire and motivate you. When traveling in a foreign country you get to see areas where tourists don’t normally go and meet people that may not see many visitors. You get a real taste for the land, the people and the food.
As I start this trip my plan will take me through more than fifty countries. I don’t have very specific plans as the months turn to years since many things can change during that time and I can plan more in the future the further I get. Some of the countries I want to ride through may be politically challenging today but may become easier in the future. Countries I want to visit today may be off limits by the time I get there. I will remain flexible and open to options as I ride.
After leaving Bangkok I arrived back in Siem Reap, Cambodia and then headed south to the Vietnam border. After traveling all the way north through Vietnam I turned south through Laos then back through Cambodia. Once back in Thailand I had some challenges with mechanical issues that kept me in Chiang Mai for a couple months. Once my bike was fixed I moved on through Myanmar and on to India. My future plans will take me through the following countries:
Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, USA (maybe all states), Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
A quick, back of the napkin calculation outs the trip at seventy-five thousand kilometers/fifty thousand miles. I know my mileage is always more as I get out and discover more places to see or when I occasionally take a wrong turn.
Update – April 2019
I am currently in Northeast India. I have been on the road thirteen months and I have ridden 9,000 miles. My current plan is to explore more of India then go to Nepal and head back to Southeast Asia to make my way through Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. From there I will head to Australia to ride across the southern part of the country. From recommendations from other bicyclists I should try to be in Australia during Spetember to November so that is the timeline I am shooting for.
Since I will be on the road for the foreseeable future I won’t be holding down any sort of a job for a while. With any amount of luck this ride will take me to retirement age when I can sit back and relax for a while.
I will try to do what I can to make money on the road by writing or selling some of my photography. If you are interested in purchasing prints or digital copies of any of my images or licensing them you can look through some of the on my website: www.scottsharickphotography.com I will be adding to my portfolio as I ride so feel free to check back once in a while to see if there is anything new.
If you don’t want to purchase images you can help keep me on the road by donating through PayPal using the button below. I appreciate each and every donation!
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