Floodlands

Rain Storm

Simon

Bucharest – Romania

There have been numerous times while cycling under the searing sun, sweating my ass off, wondering why the hell I was carrying a good few kilos of thermals and waterproof rain gear, but since arriving in Turkey, I’m glad I kept them. It has rained almost every day, soaking roads and fields and making camping almost impossible, as to camp would require a boat rather than a tent. We have dodged collapsed roads and tentatively made our way across flooded sections, trying not to get soaked by cars driven by all too impatient drivers.

On our first day in Bulgaria, to escape the rain we found a small derelict building to sleep in and set ourselves up for the night. But when I awoke and looked about in the full light of day, I had a sense of deja vu of camping in the desert in China, as our lovely digs seemed to have been used regularly as the public toilet with numerous “packages” scattered about the place. But luckily we’ve been well received by many locals who have taken us into their homes, given us shelter, food and water, and through charades and broken English, we’ve been enlightened to their customs and culture.

Now with all the luxuries of Europe creeping in, we’re finding more and more excuses to keep out of the rain, and have been indulging ourselves with morning coffee and brandys, long boozy lunches (with wobbly cycling afterwards!) and, being the off season, have enjoyed sleeping in some really cheap hotels. As Fearghal says, this is gradually turning into a Tuxpedition!!

Home Coming Cycle-15th of May

First Leg

After a bit of chopping and changing we’ve settled a date for our homecoming.

On the May 15th we’ll be coming full circle and rolling down Greystones main st after over 30,000km, 30 countries and 18 months since leaving on the 2nd of November 08.

Watch this space for more info on the Homecoming Charity Cycle in Aid of Aware.

To get an idea of what to expect see our press cuttings, and read the blog from the First Leg Cycle.

If you’re new here watch the video below.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2393775&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

REVOLUTION IS TELEVISED from revolutioncycle on Vimeo.

Someday, all this will be a memory.

Winter Wonderland

Fearghal

Someday, all of this will come to an end; the sleeping rough, chiseled calves, calloused arse, taking 8 hours of exercise a day,  wearing the same clothes for two weeks straight, having an interesting topic for conversation, worrying about incline, gradient and road surfaces, eating like a horse, being able to eat a horse, not knowing the name of the town I’m in, forgetting the name of the person spending the night with, cycling another twenty km till lunch to save 50cents, living out of a waterproof bag in a steel trailer, saying Irlanda 30 times a day, saying no/non/niet/nine/ not Hollanda… Irrrrrrlanda, assessing the quality of a book by its size and weight as well as its content, wondering why anyone would ever wear clothes that are not waterproof/breathable/quick drying/light/thermal.

Someday,  I’ll be home; I’ll have a fridge, a cooker, a shower, a cupboard and a bed, I’ll be able to close a door and be by myself, talk to people in complex English with an Irish accent using colloquialisms, slang and very specific Alan Partridge references, I’ll be able to get out of my bed and not have to pack it away, and go to bed without waiting for darkness or asking some one’s permission, I’ll have to get up at a specific time and do tasks that someone else dictates, I’ll have a phone and a set of keys.

Someday, my life will be normal again, and uninteresting, and I’ll probably miss my stop on the train because I was daydreaming about when I lived on a special simple world called the road.

Lost Video Clips

Simon

Check out these 2 other video snippets from the party here and here

I’ve been going through some of my photos and found this forgotten footage of Fearghal “dancing” at party in Iran and just in case anyone wants to learn some of his fancy moves, I thought I’d put it up for you. Learn these and you’ll have all your mates green with envy.

Sorry its not the right way up.

Romanian Fame

Romanian Paper, Adevarul - Front Cover

Read the other inside page here

Simon

Bucharest – Romania

On our first day in Romania, we had just eaten some grub at a supermarket and were hanging about outside, finishing off some yummy gooey chocolate doughnuts, when a lady came up to us and said “I’m a journalist – I want to write about you”. So after chasing her car through the busy Black Sea coastal city of Constanta, we arrived at the newspaper HQ where we had an interview followed by lots of photos on the way to our digs, which they had kindly arranged for us. We were greeted by our host and the towns mayor, and given big shots of home made palinko – a strong spirit made from doubly distilled plums – and fed 2 gigantic pizzas, our third meal in as many hours. We arose bright and early in the morning (for once), and with our bags packed with goodies given by our hosts, we rolled off into the crisp early morning air.

A few locals came up to us in Bucharest, saying that they recognised us from the paper, and have since been literally inundated with requests from people to meet or cycle with us, and today at the bike shop we heard we’ve been the hot topic on the Romanian cycling forums. I just hope we can cope with our new found fame!

Leaving Istanbul

Drying Laundry

Fearghal

Bulgaria

Last Thursday we cycled out of a grey and shiny Istanbul. It had been raining heavily, the road was slippery, and we we had wet feet within a few minutes. Leaving Istanbul was hard. We had spent the previous week hanging out with family and girlfriends, it was difficult to drag ourselves away and get moving again, the cold dirty spray from passing trucks did little to help. By nightfall we had failed to escape Istanbul’s urban sprawl and camped on the only dry land we could find, on the fringe of a petrol station forecourt.

Munching on excellent kebabs, and drinking the endless supply of tea plied by the forecourt attendants it began to sink in- we were on the last leg of our cycle. In a few days we’d be in the EU, in three months we’d be home- the adventure would be over. Somewhere in Turkey the world had changed, and it now seemed behind us. Somewhere along the way, possibly the cold and empty desert of Iran, or the icy passes of the Caucasus we had crossed a bridge, had left a dream and were cycling towards an achievement- and now it was time to start thinking about after. But enough of after for the moment.

Silhouette

Technically our last few days in Turkey were also our first in Europe, but in reality they were our last in Asia. Cycling towards Bulgaria I could feel it, the tea, the dancing with arms aloft, and all the fancy trim of the orient ebbing away. Curved crescents giving way to angular crosses, warm and unquestioning hospitality to reservation. Inshallah to cold rationality. All of this had been happening gradually, but there’s nothing like a border to evoke determinate perceptions where in reality blurry lines exist. Sometimes a line in the sand really helps bring things into focus, and the line in the sand between Bulgaria and Turkey was a bold reminder that most of this is adventure is now behind us and now each kilometre brings us closer to the familiar rather than propelling us into unfamiliar worlds.

Located at the nexus of several realms, where Europe, Asia, Arabia meet Turkey begs cliches and handy metaphors. All of them apt. It is a crossroad and a bridge, it is where the Occident and the Orient merge, its kebabs and beer, ordered roads and pragmatic Islam. For us its where the hard yards, the unknown and unusual begin to give way.

Turkey was good to us. The Turks possibly the warmest people I’ve encountered. They are excellent hosts, generous and undemanding, gregarious and outgoing. I’m sorry to have left.

Tea House