Today’s guest post is from Kelly Diggle, who has just come into ownership of Charlie the Scrapyard Touring Bike. Read about how Charlie was born, as well as the stories of his first and second big journeys. Take it away, Kelly…
I’d be lying if I said cycle touring has always been a dream of mine.
In fact, I blame my wanderlust and itchy-feet-syndrome on the books, blogs and adventurers that tell me over and over again that pedalling off into the distance is an absolute must!
This year I decided to listen. Having had my heart stolen during a 10 day trip to Iceland last year, I promised myself I’d return to find out what the island really had to offer – and what better way than exploring by bicycle for one whole month!
Following Tegan’s adventures with Charlie was what really set my motivation into full swing. Here was a girl, very similar to me, who had no experience but the sheer drive and passion to get on that bike and cycle across Spain (alone) to see her sister. Suddenly one of my biggest fears of travelling alone as a young female seemed irrational – if Tegan could do it, why couldn’t I?
After exchanging a few emails and by successfully portraying in earnest my desire – heck – my need to be the next person to take Charlie for a spin (mainly to remove all possible chance of changing my mind), Tegan happily gave me the address to go and collect the bike from Spain.
Too many people questioned my logic in going all that way for a bike and gear that cost no more than £25. As I answered for the 100th time: “because it’s an excuse to visit somewhere I have never been before!”
I started to believe that was the main thing I would get out of it. I was so very wrong. That 2 day trip taught me that strangers are incredibly helpful (they let you use their phone and give you lifts when you are lost), that travelling alone isn’t scary as long as you’re approachable, and that cycle touring is one of the most exciting, liberating means of travel that there is.
The ride between Alicante and Murcia airport was a straightforward route that hugged the coast. Albeit a small taster of what cycle touring is about, it gave me reassurance that I could do it and enjoy it and that Iceland is possible – all I have to do is get on the bike and ride.
This trip is about more than personal ambition. I want to promote solo female travel and support the belief that big adventure needn’t cost big money. With this in mind, I aim to spend no more than £1000 on the entire trip, including return flights. My choice in wild camping and stove-cooking is not only to keep the cost down but to encourage others to do the same. I hope my social media updates will highlight the positives to simple living, even for a short time on the road.
I have also pledged to fundraise for Tree Aid through this adventure, supporting their aim of planting 1 million seedlings. Through their work, people will be able to unlock the potential of trees to pull them out of poverty and help protect the environment — a cause I deem significant in this current time.
With less than 6 weeks to go, the fears are trying to trump my dream. Will I be safe camping alone with no trees for camouflage? What if I run out of water? Will I have a miserable time if it rains constantly? And will I make it round Iceland in time to catch my flight home?
I imagine most of these worries are normal and I will not let them stop me. In reality, what’s the worst that could happen?