KM 10,856, Bierbeek, Belgium
Friday 20 June 2008 11 °C
It was quite an emotional shock for us to realize that our trip is over. It was a long, hard, jouyous, beautiful journey... one of the best years of our life. And ending it was harder than beginning it... somehow. I guess you could say that we're all torn up and conflicted inside about going home, in a way that you may not be able to understand. But the tickets are payed for and we're really excited to see everyone again... and a bit scared. Surely though, some good chocolate and a few cold pintjes will ease the transition.
Here are some answers to all those questions that you've been asking yourself:
- How much did you really bike?
Over the course of 10 months we covered a total of 10,850 km over land by bicycle. From the 305 days away from home, we spent 177 days (58%) on the bike. On an average biking day we spent 4 hours and 18 minutes on the bike, and covered 61 km at 14.2 km/h, which resulted in a total of 763 hours of butt pain for Wim. Our longest distance in a day was 115 km, while 8 hours 7 minutes was the longest time on the saddle.
- Did you have any problems with your bikes?
We expected to be expert bike mechanics by the end of our trip. But our bikes turned out to be unstoppable. Often we'd dive head on into potholes and drive over vast fields of shattered glass... but nothing could stop them. In the end we only had to repair 3 flats (not a single one in Asia), and oil our chain from time to time. We checked the spokes and all the bolts in the beginning, but then quit out of boredom. Our tires look like new and nothing has worn out except for Amy's handlebars. I guess she holds on too tight. Want a bike like ours? Check out <www.avaghon.nl>.
- What were the best parts of your trip?
The oasis loop through the Egyptian Sahara was great. It was so peaceful, open and beautiful. But it was a close call with the Himalayas in Yunnan, China. Those are some really gorgeous, dramatic mountains!
- How much did it all cost?
In Europe we camped all the time and cooked our own food, and we spent an average of 42 Euros per day. In Asia we got to enjoy hotel rooms and eating out three times a day, but our costs went down to 26 Euros per day. The Middle east was a mixture of both, and cost us 33 Euros per day. This all added up to 9,929 Euros for the whole 10 months (only excluding plane tickets).
- What did you miss most?
We didn't miss what we thought that we would miss. In the beginning, we missed the luxury and cleanliness. Wim was always getting frustrated at the lack of efficiency everywhere. At night he would use our chain oil to grease the creaking doors and rusty locks of the hotel room. And I had a meltdown somewhere in Turkey when the shower apparatus broke off the wall and crashed down onto my head. But shortly after something clicked in our brains, we started to accept things the way they were, and we began to appreciate other things instead. Now we have to say that we only really miss our family and friends!
- After spending so much time together, did you run out of things to say?
No. Wim has a big list of subjects. Throughout our trip I learned about the physical properties of steal, the building logistics of large structures, the nature of electromagnetic waves, and the positioning of satellites in space... Between the two of us, we had a good balance between nerdy and entertaining topics.
- What was your biggest mistake?
We were sometimes so focussed on getting somewhere, that we turned down invitations from friendly locals. We also carried our heavy tent, pans, cooking stove, sleeping bags, chairs and pillows all the way through Asia, and only used them once. We kept thinking that we'd need them later.
- What will you do now?
We are going to spend a month in Belgium loading up on chocolate, alcohol and medical care. Then we are off to live New Mexico (hopefully), where Wim can finally live somewhere with a fair justice system, advanced healthcare, and of course, what he's always wanted... Freedom.
- Where will you bike next?
Ulaan Bataar to Calcutta! We can hardly wait! But first, we need to save up some money and energy.
- Will you continue to write entertaining blogs?
Of course! Stay tuned for our next blog, "Wim mows the lawn"
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