A Guest Post by Marina.

 Marina, skins

This post was written last week but we were unable to publish it as we’ve been “away”  from the internet until today.   

Marina

Having just completed my first week of pedalling with the guys, I find myself basking in the Uruguayan sun and heat  trying to recall the past week of events, emotions and adventures. Surprisingly enough, days seem to blend into brief snippets of feelings, food breaks and encounters.

It was great to find a smiley, relaxed and energetic Revolution Team in Buenos Aires, who have surprisingly filled-out a little since I saw them last in Dublin! A mixture of curiosity, anxiety and excitement brewed within me as we were about to launch into the South American phase of the Revolution Cycle expedition.

I was curious to discover Simon and Fearghal’s team dynamic while on the road; and intrigued about whether I would enjoy cycling long distances several days in a row. I was anxious about the team dynamic having to adjust; about the boys getting to know me, and vice-versa, in a full-on travel environment; and I was a little apprehensive that my ‘slightly’ slower pace may frustrate them. Overriding these anxieties, I anticipated the prospects of discovering new cultures and landscapes through the humble medium of cycling.

During the first week the guys were extremely patient, supportive and encouraging. They combine a DIY and team approach at appropriate moments, each member sharing their skills and knowledge.

This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster and physically tough, rising early, eating, cycling, eating, cycling, eating… setting up camp, sleeping and starting over. There are days where the body clicks into work-mode and pedals effortlessly, and others where the legs feel like lead and all you crave is a comfy bed to curl up on.

I’m excited about the next few days of pedalling, before hitting a 1000km straight stretch of road…as I’m really looking forward to dicovering Bolivia by bicycle.

We will be featuring regular posts by the revolutionaries who join us en route. Stay tuned for more from Marina.

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Introducing…

Simon, Marina and Fearghal, Buenos Aires

One of the main aims of our expedition is to highlight the perfect simplicity of the bicycle and encourage people to use it a little more in their daily lives for transportation, fitness, and for travel. Therefore we’ve tried to convince as many people as we could to join us and share our bicycle oddysey.

Marina Krommenacker was easily convinced, and is the first “revolutionary”. We met her and her little black bike last Sunday in Buenos Aires. She’ll be with us in South America for as long as her legs, lungs and heart can carry her. Marina has the difficult task of being the first to join the expedition. We are getting used to having someone other than eachother consider when planning routes, food etc.  She has fit right in though and is trooping through the mileage, which isn’t easy considering we’ve been doing this for over six weeks now.

To find out more about Marina´s background check out our friends page. She´ll also be blogging about here experience here.

We are asking all revolutionaries to make a contribution to the expedition, Marina developed our education package. She’s also raising cash for the Aware, you can help her reach her target of 1,500 by donating here.

If you are interested in becoming a revolutionary please get in touch.

Where the hell is Uruguay?

 Sunset - Carmello, Uruguay

Ok, so we’ve made it to an internet cafe. We’re currently in a small town in North Western Uruguay called Neuvo Berlin. We’re en route to the waterfalls at Iguazu which are on the Argetine, Paraguayian and Brazilian border. We decided to head through Urguay after meeting a a guy in Buenos Aires who told us that it would make for a nice cycle, so we decided there and then to let the winds of chance encounters dictate our route and headed to the bank to get some Uruaguayian pesos and off we went.

We are glad we did, as have found the Uruguayians to be freindly and welcoming. Yesterday we were invited to lunch by the Bernotti family, after meeting Mr Bernotti on his morning cycle. After a lunch of Milanese Naploitiana, a breaded veal chop covered in tomatoe salsa and mozarella and pasta, rounded off glasses of 12year old Johnny Walker, we hopped onto our bikes and headed off into the evening heat with 50km still to do. Two minutes up the road a Coke delivery van screeched to a halt and the driver hopped out with a big bottle of coke for us as we must have looked like we needed it.

The Previous evening we camped in the garden of another equally welcoming and generous family who gave us a parting gift of Dulce de Leche, a carmel made from milk, and the family’s secret recipe which I’ll post here soon.   

We have been surpised and charmed by Uruaguay and its people, a country that until Tuesday last I new little of. I suppose thats usually the way of things, when you are not expecting anything form something or somewhere you can only be pleasantly surprised.   

 

 

A brief Update

revolutioncycle 003

Fearghal

Is been a hectic few days, we’ve a new revolutionary, Marina who will be introduced properly next time we reach an internet cafe, and we made an unplanned detour to Uraguay.

I’m typing this on the computer of a very generous family who invited us for lunch, and let us have a dip in their pool.

So we’re about to head back into the 30 degree summer sun in the direction of Mercedes en route to the Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian, Argentine and Paraguayian border.

Although its really hot we’ve been doing our best to get into the christmas spirit and have decked out the bikes with tinsel buables and an expedition christmas tree which we’re hoping will have prezzies under it on the 25th.  

revolutioncycle 005

Social Graces

Roadside Brunch
Image: Roadside Brunch- Egypt 2007
Fearghal

Cycle touring is a strange mix of many separate activities, travel, sport, adventure, each with their own conventions and norms. Its ok to spit while playing ruby for example or to smell when on a mountain ascent that takes a few days. Touring, however, is an odd blend of wild and urban. A day´s cycling will often take us from the wilderness of mountains where we can spit as much as we like to the urban surrounds of downtown where it would be a faux pas to hock loudly. We might spend weeks wearing the same clothes and wild camping and then find ourselves rubbing shoulders with “normal” people in a restaurant or supermarket.

This takes a little bit of getting used to. We spend our lives conditioned to be clean and mannerly, to be careful that our nails are clipped and that we change our socks daily. When you sleep in a different place each night, and you have to pull all of your worldly possessions, normalities such as cleanliness become luxuries- and, to be honest, not really that important.

We’ve found ourselves slowly growing into the “savages” that our expedition necessitates. Slowly becoming immune to, even comfortable with our own dirt and “aged” & “complex” aroma.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal perhaps, we might be covered from head to toe in mud after a rugby match, or wear the same boxers for a week on a mountain trek. But what’s a little odd about cycle touring is that you then interact with normal society,in that state, you play a match or go on a trek and then stand in the same clothes in a queue in a patisserie or a bank- and become conscious that your aroma, somewhere between an aged camembert and a that sports bag that you left in the boot of your car after a gym session two weeks ago is wafting around you, and at odds with the odours of normal society- the citrus, musk or spice of aftershave, perfume and deodorant. The smells of fresh an clean that we unconciously expect in certain social environments.  Its still unsettling when the person in front grimaces and looks your way, the person behind you stands a few feet back from you in a shop.

Its not so bad when you are on the bike, but once you see people in a different context when you are just a scruff bag it feels a little odd. Especially, because of my infant level Spanish, I can’t explain away or at least show that I know I stink, that I’m aware that its not appropriate for the surrounds but that this beyond my control. Explain that when I get back to normality I’ll shower every day and always wear clean clothes. Its still odd to have someone think that I might find it normally acceptable to be in a bank in such a cloud of pungency.

I expect, that as we get farther from home, geographically and culturally, these feelings will diminish and I´ll grow more used to being scruffy, to eating with unwashed hands and putting on dirty clothes. Become immune to the admonishing stares. That said, maybe I won’t. Perhaps at 27 I’ve been so conditioned as to whats acceptable that I’ll never feel fully comfortable being dirty around clean people.

click the box below for musical accompaniement

The First Leg – total just in!

The First Leg

We´ve just got an email from Carmel at AWARE with the total raised from the First Leg cycle in November. Thanks to the 200 or so enthuiastic cyclists who dusted off their bikes, dragged themselves out of bed and sweated up the hills, we managed to raise a whopping 12,800 euro for AWARE! Both of us would like to say a really big CHEERS to all those who came along and supported us!

It was an overwhelming sendoff, a really brilliant, emotional start to our expedition. The good-will we felt during that day keeps us going while we´re slogging up hills, or battling into strong headwinds in the lashing rain.

To see our running total, or to donate online, check out our AWARE fundraising page here. Alternatively, you could buy one of our expedition t-shirts for just over 20euro, all proceeds to AWARE.

Many Thanks for your support!!