The bikes are with the shipping company, the Northern Lights ride is over. Contrary to our preconceptions this has turned out to be quite a hard leg of the worldbybike trip – primarily because of the length of the riding days we set ourselves. Our daily average hours riding turned out 20% more than other trips and that certainly has tended to wear the crew down a bit. The climatic change was dramatic – from the chills of Iceland and Nordkapp to the searing heat of the Caspian and Black Sea regions, as well an inordinate amount of rain in the first half of the trip, the climate has been anything but sanguine.
Almost 18,000 kms in under 2 and a half months has been a significant riding load and while the roads weren’t as testing as parts of Africa, Australia or the Himalayas, the peculiar nature of Eastern Bloc tarseal – a mix of seal, patches, potholes, and gravel – is something we won’t quickly forget. And no accidents or health issues, not even a real puncture made it a particularly fortunate expedition.
The crew has been a particularly happy one on this leg, with no tensions whatsoever arising. Hard to know why – whether it’s because at under 3 months the ride is more manageable, or whether the changes of personnel prevented anything festering – who knows, but is was great to be part of this team.