In the summer of 2007, my best mate Andy Welch and I set off from my front door. We’d called our expedition ‘Ride Earth’, and were all set to cycle round the world. But the experiences that followed changed all we thought we knew about, travel, adventure and cycle-touring.
Weave Of The Ride, Andy’s own account of that eight-month journey from England to Armenia, offers an alternative perspective on the story that ends with Ride Earth’s disbandment and the beginning of two new solo adventures. In this guest post, Andy goes into detail about his new book.
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“Weave Of The Ride is a book about a journey from England through Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey to Georgia in the Caucasus, on mountain bikes converted into touring bikes. It covers the early part of a journey that Tom accompanied me on before we parted ways in Armenia.
“The story begins with the dissatisfaction of everyday life and the desire to do something about it, which culminated in the idea to cycle around the world. This turned out to be a life-changing decision. It meant throwing caution to the wind, quitting the job, selling everything and cutting loose from the everyday grind altogether. Thus began a process of changing my life from one path to another, turning a lifelong passion of cycling into a vocation.
“Life on the road was a quest for something more profound. What I got was a life that required a great deal more energy and lateral thinking than I’d been used to, and which triggered a learning experience that had me asking much bigger questions of life. So this book is not just about the bike and the days in the saddle, but about the conundrum that many face of wondering whether life has something more to offer — and not being satisfied simply by taking on a marathon bike ride.
“The brooding rain of the Black Sea coastline, the wild urban dust of Bucharest, the vibrant energy of Tbilisi; friends were made amidst a plethora of meetings with interesting and diverse people within an ever-evolving landscape. But when I reached Georgia I immediately fell in love with the country. The book covers extensively my experience of this little-known nation just east of Turkey.
“Weave Of The Ride also covers the realisation that unless you spend eight months in close proximity to a friend, you probably don’t know that ‘friend’ very well. The friendship becomes a lot more real, and is tested to the limit.
“I started writing this book when I returned from India in 2009, yet the final edit has only just been completed. I was motivated by a desire to spread an entertaining and often humorous story, showing how dissatisfaction countered by focus and preparation can lead to a transition in life that opens up unimaginable worlds of experience.
“You may be thinking: “I’ve read Tom’s book Janapar — why should I read Weave Of The Ride?” Imagine if you could read your wife, girlfriend, best friend or business partners’ mind. The beauty of reading both books is to see one journey from two points of view; to see how two people living the same life can experience it completely differently.
“I hope you enjoy it!”
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Weave Of The Ride is available now in paperback and Kindle editions. You can visit the book’s dedicated webpage here.