The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. Confucius
Today saw the arrival of the ‘HELLO Parkinson’s UK fundraising pack’ In addition the lady I have been in correspondence with, Nicola Welberry also included two ‘Pedal for Parkinson’s’ Cycling jerseys. Things are really beginning to take shape now. The months are going so fast, March the 1st, the date I’m aiming to set off is now only 242 days or 7 months and 27 days away. I think it’s important I keep reminding myself about this. I’m not worried about how much planning I’ve done, I’ve got a checklist of things to do and slowly but surely they are getting crossed off. I’ve read through the excellent ‘Bike Touring Basics’ which I download from the extremely helpful website TravellingTwo Your text to link here... In the book they go through the planning stages of a long trip:
Budgeting and Saving.
I’ve worked out a rough estimate of costs. I’m pretty sure I’m a man of relatively simple needs however I can’t be sure of that until I’m finally out on the road. All my other bike trips have seen me finish my days ride with a comfy hotel bed and a warm shower. I know this is something that just isn’t going to happen on a very frequent basis. Now I have my one-man bivvy tent it’s time to take it out into the open to get a few practice runs in with it as I’m aiming to camp as much as possible. I’m certainly not adverse to ‘slumming it’ however I’m sure there will be times when splashing that little extra cash will be not only worth while but essential for my sanity.
Picking a destination.
Are the seasons right?
There is going to be heat for sure but I’ll take that any day over the cold. It looks like I’ll be arriving in Europe in winter so I’ll need to be prepared for some chiller weather further down the line.
Do I have enough time?
Time appears to be something I have an abundance of and, as long as the budget allows this shouldn’t be an issue.
Planning the route.
I’ve got the route out of China mapped and now just waiting on a more detailed map of Kazakhstan. One thing this book does talk about is ‘Don’t Plan Too Much’ In many respects this is music to my ears, not really being one of life’s great planners. However I’m also one of life’s worriers and not have a detailed plan can often leave me with a horrible nervous feeling. In many respects I need to let go of this. I need to trust in myself now that come March the 1st I’ll be ready and the routes will be mapped out. I can’t worry myself too much over this now.
Alone or with friends?
When I first started thinking about undertaking this it was originally alone, then when I mentioned it to a friend it sparked some serious interest from him. However that interest seems to have died out completely. Am I disappointed? In many ways not, I can certainly see the advantages to having a companion on a trip like this. That said I’ve always thought of myself as quite a solitary person who is more than happy to take himself off on his own and do his own thing. I’m also quite single minded, sometimes bordering on stubborn. I’m extremely driven about this trip. The aim really is to cycle as much as is humanly possible. I’m still exploring ways to get around the ‘30’ day visa issue in Kazakhstan because as I’ve mentioned before I hate the idea of having to use a train or a bus. With another person in tow, it might become easier to be persuaded to take the easy option at certain times during the trip. This isn’t something I want to do. I’ve already had the experience of a tough couple of days riding with a friend in the mountains around Fujian. Having completed two days he succumbed to a strained knee, he didn’t want to push on anymore and I was left with the dilemma of leaving him and going alone or helping him get back to the nearest town. I didn’t enjoy that situation one bit. I really think it’s best that I tackle this alone. I also think the solitude is one of the reasons I’m so attracted by this. Anyone who rides a lot will tell you that time on a bike really gives you quality time to think about a whole host of issues.
With regards to fundraising this is a whole new ball game to me and I’m glad to accept any advice in relation to this. By starting to raise funds or get sponsorship it will really make it all a reality. In many respects it’s become common knowledge that I’m going to do this now. That’s fantastic, as raising money for Parkinson’s is a massive part of why I’m doing this. At the same time there are also the nagging doubts at the back of my mind, 'Can you really do it?’ ‘What if you get injured and have to back out?’ ‘What if I fail and can’t do it?’ ‘What will people think?’ I suppose these are all natural reactions and questioning oneself is all part of the process. I won’t lie though, they make me uncomfortable but also having the support of others just adds weight behind my motivation to do this. I hate letting people down and there is no way I intend to on this.