"This Breathtaking World: Around the World by Bicycle" - The Adventure
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In the summer of 1997, Tim Doherty set off alone on a daunting adventure; to cycle round the world. The tour turned out to be even more awe-inspiring than he could have hoped. His route took him east from his home in Sheffield, England, through Europe, taking only ten days to reach his girlfriend Verena's house in Kirchschlag, Austria. He continued to countries ever more fascinating; Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria... He pedalled across the Indian sub-continent and reached Katmandhu, then headed down through south-east Asia to Singapore and the stunning Indonesian Archipelago. He crossed northern Australia, covering the huge distance from Darwin to Brisbane in just 25 days, then hit New Zealand in the middle of winter. He then rode across Canada from coast to coast before heading to Ireland, Wales and finally England, reaching Sheffield on October 5th, 1999 to complete the circle.
Tim was met by kindness all along the way. The delights were many, as were the problems; how not to lose Verena during the long periods apart, how to survive the tropical diseases, the snakes and the armed men. This was the adventure of a life-time, 21,688 miles of pedalling in all conditions, both imaginable and unimaginable. Dengue fever, water-borne viruses, lethal traffic, ferocious dogs, violent storms and other dangers had to be met if he was to succeed. But the magical moments, which sometimes came out of the blue, were more than enough to inspire him to keep going:
I left at half-past five for the last hundred miles to Palmyra, just before the sun rose. Soft morning light bathed the mosque by the roadside. The nomads and their camels were asleep on the dusty desert floor, and the drivers snored beneath their trucks. As the sun climbed into the empty blue heavens, fantastic colours brought the stoney desert to life. Subtle shades of pink, green, blue and red floated from the mountain range on one side to an endless plain on the other. The smooth black tarmac was a tightrope to the horizon, often without a curve in sight...