Reports on my cycle trip around the World (by Ernest Markwood)
Thursday, 23 July 2015
GETTING TO THE START
Yes, I have made it into China. All my efforts now are to reach my starting point, but that is easier said than done.
I am now in Lanzhou, pretty much in the NW/centre of the country. It has been some sort of a slog getting here, also involving a 34 hr bumby bus ride, and 41 hrs on a hard seat in a very crowded train (many passengers have only standing tickets).
I broke the journey between bus and train in Kunming, at the nice Cloudland hostel where I have been before. There I had some good company (Dutch travellers Michelle and Lucas, as well as French Nicolas - who found it very amusing that I had gotten lost for 8 hours in the middle of the night from outlying bus station to city hostel). This is the summer holiday season, so all means of transport is booked up. I have cycled a few days NW from Lanzhou up the silk route last year (my 2nd effort to cross China from S to W).
My bike and all my baggage was checked in to the cargo dept, and only arrived 24 hrs after me (no bike, clean clothes, toiletries, guide book, etc. for a day). Not the end of the world. I have decided to take transport all the way West to the Pakistan border (or as close as possible), and then cycle back East here to Lanzhou.
But, there are always surprises on the road, and all transport is booked up for the next week (due to the summer holidays). I have managed to secure an onward train ticket, so now I have a few days to just put my feet up. Then there will be a lot of pedalling going on, because my visa time is running out.
At the hostel where I am staying here in Lanzhou there are no foreigners, mostly Eastern Chinese students on holiday (luckily some of them speak a little English). Lanzhou is a big city on the Yellow River, but there is just about no English spoken as it is not a tourist destination, but mainly a junction on the Silk Route between the West and Eastern China. I will take some pics around this area, so check this site again in the next couple of days.
Distances cycled are mostly between hostels, bus staions, and train stations, so I will add that to the next post when I have done some real cycling. Oh yes, I can now access my blog and e-mail because I have aquired a VPN app, which re-routes my internet connection to avoid the Chinese block on certain websites.
DISTANCE CYCLED SO FAR:- 162 000 km (will calculate exact soon)
My original bike (Old Saartjie) lasted 11 years and more than 150 000 km. Unfortunately I have now had to put The Old Girl out to pasture. This picture was taken on the first day of this trip, 27 March 2007.
PLEASE HELP TO KEEP THE WHEELS ROLLING: In order to fund this cycle trip I'd sold everything I had, but that has long gone. Please help if you can! If you want to contribute, then please contact me on my e-mail, and I will give you details. (email@example.com)
My Cycle Route
Starting in Cape Town, South Africa, on 27 March 2007 - about 160 I 000 km so far
My name is Ernest Markwood, and I am a South African formerly from Cape Town. I am a Research Psychologist by profession, and operated a Market Research business before embarking on this journey. I sold my posessions and took off by bicycle all the way through Africa from Cape Town. Since then I've proceeded via the Middle-East through Turkey, the Caucusus, Iran, Sub-Continent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal), China, South-East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, South- and Central America, and the USA, crossing Canada from the West to East and then all the way down the East coast of USA, and Jamaica. Currently my mission is to close gaps in order to form a continuous route around the world. I left Cape Town on 27 March 2007. This was not intended to be a race, but rather an experience (and so it is!).
Me (Ernest), on one of my better days
. . . . on this trip I have looked like this . . . .
- - - also like this . . .
. . . . and I've even looked like this!
I have not been cycling on my own for this entire trip. Leana and I left together on 27 March 2007 from Cape Town, South Africa (our former hometown). Since then we have cycled separately at intervals, although in total we have been together much of the time. We split in 2013. For more about her see leananiemand.org.za