Steve's Cycling Blog

First things first

So I’ve paid my money, rather a lot of money as it happens, to join the trip so baring ‘hit by a bus crossing the high street’ it’s going to happen…!

We’ve been getting updates from TdA for a few months now, which help make it seem slightly more real, but at the same time they end up making it even more daunting…!

With 10 countries to pass through, many of which have only been open to ‘Western’ visitors for a few years, actually getting all the visas is going to be almost as hard as the ride itself. In typical ‘me’ style I’ve made a spreadsheet with all the details, so that I can get things in the right order – with six visas to get, and each of them taking 7 – 10 working days, it’s going to require careful scheduling. And thank goodness I’ve got two passports since that means I can keep traveling while the other one is getting visas added!

Then there’s all the ‘kit’ that’s needed. I’ve decided that I’m going to use my cyclo-cross bike, so at least that aspect of it is ‘in hand’ (though it’ll need a serious overhaul before it goes on the plane to Beijing). Then there’s all the other things you need when you’re cycling, and mostly camping, for five months.

We’re allowed to take two soft-sided bags – each of no more than 90l, weighing no more than 23kg each. Now that might sound like a lot, but when you consider that you need a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cycling clothes, bike spares, tyres, tubes, laptop, phone, chargers etc etc etc, and you only see one of those bags once a week, what gets taken needs to be small, lightweight, and durable!