Hi! I’m Tom from England. This is me on my most recent adventure – bikepacking the length of Armenia off-road with a bunch of fellow misfits.
(You may be wondering why I’m wearing washing-up gloves. It had been raining a bit.)
This was the latest in a series of bicycle adventures spanning decade and a half, in places like Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, the Arctic, Ethiopia, Armenia, Mongolia and Myanmar. There are nearly 50 countries on the list, I think. It’s been a while since I counted.
A love of adventure and exploration is what turns my pedals, and a love of writing is what drives this blog. Here’s where I share stories, advice, ideas, news, and lessons learned on the subject of modern-day bicycle travel in all its various flavours.
So if you’re just dipping a toe into the world of cycle touring and bikepacking, or you’re planning a big trip and are looking for a friendly voice of experience, you’re probably in the right place.
Why set out to explore the world by bicycle?
I guess it started when my parents took the stabilisers off my first bike and I disappeared across the village green, aged 4. Cue much fretting and wailing from aforementioned parents.
Aged 6, I completed my first long-distance cycle tour: a lap of Rutland Water, all 17 miles of it. Including the peninsular.
As an older child, one of my ambitions was to ride my BMX off a ramp into the River Welland. (I built a ramp, but wasn’t quite brave enough to take the leap.)
At university I got fat and lazy and spent much of my final year trying to burn off the beer and cheesy chips by throwing myself down the hillsides of Exmoor on a mountain-bike.
Then I went to Scotland and spent a week lugging my bike and gear through rainy off-road trails in the West Highlands. Thoroughly miserable, the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike, and the trip that sowed the seeds.
The logical progression from there seemed to be to try and ride as far as possible and see what happened. In late 2006 I began planning a long trip called “Ride Earth” – a journey around the world by bicycle.
(This is where the story gets more interesting, because I set off 14 years ago, and have never really finished.)
What am I doing now?
I’ve travelled four continents on my bicycle since then. Most of my twenties involved spending months at a time on the road, setting up home wherever I saw fit, and meeting hundreds of other cycle travellers in the process. Rather than a quick lap of the planet and a pat on the back, this somehow became my full-time occupation; no fixed abode, a life on the road.
Today, in my mid-thirties I have bases of sorts in England and Armenia, because, well, it’s good to have somewhere to keep your bikes. My blog, as well as recounting my own tales of adventure, is now mainly about helping others explore the potential of bicycle travel as a tool for making personal, meaningful journeys.
If you’re dreaming of life on two wheels, or you’re actively planning a journey, or even if you’re a seasoned veteran, there’s probably something here for you.
(Half a million words of blog posts? Statistically it’s all but certain!)
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OK – where shall we ride?