Home / Blog / Richard’s journey bicycling the world
Manu | 7 May 2013 | 1 comment

We follow Richard in his amazing lifetime trip around the world by bicycle. The adventure is just started and will keep him on the road from Holland to New Zealand for the next 2 years. Richard will share his 1st impressions with us, along his wonderful travel.

Last December, Richard wrote about how it all began.

Everything started long time ago, now it’s time to live the dream. 


Richard and his bike, on the day of departure

Richard and his bike, on the day of departure

The start of a new life

Starting a journey with a bicycle and 5 bags and different kinds of gear is a relatively complex enterprise. All the things that were on the packing list, that large packing list, are in the bags now. What is where? And how to keep all this together? There are lots of situations in which something could be lost or forgotten. And how to protect all that from quick thieving hands in less safe regions? A solitary cyclist is quite vulnerable. To keep an eye on all stuff all the time is simply impossible.

Richard camping in the frozen wood

Richard camping in the frozen wood

And how to avoid problems with the bike, with health? How to plan the things that need to be done? Which schedule fits best?

There is a need for new guidelines, a new routine, even though I tried to escape routine.

And in this new life there’s got to be balance as well. One thing I like about my new life is the physical exercise. I like to cycle large distances, every new day. But there’s so much more I want to do. I want to take time to get a closer look at things of interest. I want to read, write, learn languages, make music and interact with people. Because I am inclined to do the physical part, there’s always the feeling I do not have enough time to do all the things I want to do. It’s the same feeling that I had at home, the difference being that cycling is my ‘work’ now. I need to learn to slow down, to take time for my own interests and the world around me.

My first sensations were cold sensations. I did not expect it would be freezing when I left home. I did not like to ride along with cold hands and feet, to lay down in frozen woods, but it was part of the ‘contract’ I signed. To accept all the circumstances I would come across. I had to be alert in this kind of weather. Sweat and cold are a potentially harmful combination.

World directions in Zell A Ziller, Austria

World directions in Zell A Ziller, Austria

The cold was soon followed by rain. There was the next challenge: how to keep my clothes dry. There’s a limited set of clothes and if it’s all wet I can’t go any further. Allright, this is Europe and when the going gets tough I could always book a hotel. But of course I try to avoid the rescue scripts and will attempt to save myself. To find ways to get through it.

And then, to complete the four seasons in two weeks, the sun began to shine, first cautiously and then brightly. In that case I just use a sun blocker and enjoy my day.

View on the German Ammersee

View on the German Ammersee

As I move on things gradually start to change. People greet me more often then I’m used to. Children greet me. People appreciate what I’m doing. Give me discounts on campings. Encourage me while they are walking along the road or seated in their cars.

And slowly I start to change. I’m more open to others. Show interest in what they are doing. And there’s the physical part. It’s interesting to see what I’m capable of. I crossed the Alps and rode steep hills up to 16% for quite a while, knowing that I could only do that for some minutes previously. And all kinds of bodily inconveniences I mildly suffered from just seem to disappear. I’m fit and I’m getting fitter.

One thing has changed throughout the years though. Internet has had a major impact on the traveller’s community. Twenty years ago meeting other travellers meant long conversations, and drinking, eating and having fun together. Nowadays people take their own social environment with them. They stay in close contact with relatives at home, staring at their cellphones and laptops, paying less and less attention to fellow travellers. And even though I noticed an increased interest in people I must admit I’m no exception. While I was writing this down new people entered the dorm room and I just said hello and returned to my smartphone. Is that a bad thing? Yes and no. It’s a pity a bit of the old traveller’s feel died and we should try to bring it to life occasionally. On the other hand it’s just the way things develop. The advantage of this development is keeping a closer bond with the ones you left behind. Again it’s a matter of balance. Of putting aside your phone every now and then and start a conversation with the other travellers.

Richard's bike at the Italian Border

Richard’s bike at the Italian Border


So the general view is positive then? Absolutely. I love this freedom and enjoy it fully. I want it to last and last, and luckily, if nothing bad happens, it will.

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