11,894 km of cycling, 11 countries, 4 punctures, 1 broken frame, 1 broken wheel rim, 6 broken spokes, 2 broken pedals, 1 broken gear cable, 1 broken chain, 2 very tired cyclists.
After a winter in Nepal, eating, resting and exploring, we were refused entry into Tibet, so we cycled back into India and flew directly from Delhi to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. We headed West via Samarkand through Turkmenistan into Iran and after an eye-opening time there, including cycling through the huge central desert, we crossed into Eastern Turkey for the final leg of our journey.
At the end, hanging out at Butterfly Valley we had time to reflect upon the things we’d seen, to bore people with our experiences (they did make the mistake of asking) and increasingly to spend more and more time following the valiant attempts of the Iranian people to get the freedom that they all wish for and so deserve. ‘Where is their vote?’
We craved bacon, sausages, different clothes, music, and we missed our friends and family. We discovered that the cycling was the easy bit, the hard bit was taking it all in and making sense of it. We still wake up wondering about things we saw.
Why do small boys in Turkey always throw stones at cyclists? How do Iranian's get their photos developed when everything they do is illegal? If Mongolians eat no vegetables why don't they get scurvy? Where are all the Pakistani women? How come Russia is full of drunks, and why is it deemed acceptable to pass out in the street at 10am? Where would the world be without women looking after everyone? How do you explain to the Nepalese that blocking roads until enough people have paid a bribe isn't a good way of getting compensation for your sister's accident? What are the Turkmen government scared of, and do all officials pass a 'rudeness' exam? Why do so many countries think that men and women should be kept separate? And finally why have I been so hungry for the last year?