A Big Thank You

I really want to write a quick blog to thank everyone who has helped me along my 30,000 km journey. all

  • Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has donated money to the red cross. You have raised almost £15,000 (£17,000+ including gift aid) and I’m amazed how generous everyone has been. I’m so so confident that your money is going to a good cause, read more here. On really tough days out on the road, I was pushed on by your kind generosity.
  • I must thank my family and close friends who have supported me all the way, I really wouldn’t have done it with out you.  One person above all has helped so much!
  • Finally, I want to thank everyone who has helped me out on the way, whether that’s giving me a bed to sleep in or simply just stopping to chat with me and cheer me up. I can’t return all your kindness but I promise I will forward it.

I’m truly sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone but in my heart I’m so thankful.

Peter

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August and September

Here’s my penultimate post from my 30,000 km journey around the world.

I arrived in Casablanca on the 1st of August and set off North along the Moroccan coast with a school friend Josh. Apart from a few technical problems with my bike, we were blown along by the cooling Atlantic wind, and we quickly reached the straights of Gilbrater.

Arriving back in Europe made me feel closer to home than ever before. The ‘Costa del Sol’ lived up to its name, so from 1 to 5 in the afternoon I had to shelter and sleep in the shade. From Valencia my Dad joined me and we headed inland to tackle temperatures of 40 degrees and 1000 m plus climbs.

DSCF2298Over the Pyrenees and into France bought me over the 30,000 km mark. This was an emotional point in my journey and really encouraged me to get home. So a strong week up the west coast of France, by covering more than 140 km each day, bought me to St. Malo where I jumped on a ferry home. Portsmouth to London took a day and I managed to take a few rest days before the big final day home.

On Sunday the 14th, 25 cyclists joined me from London to Cambridge for my last day on the road. I had a great day mainly because I got to see loads of friends that I hadn’t seen for ages. It was amazing to get back to Cambridge and finally be home again.

home bh

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I have cycled round the world!!

Day 368: 30,000 km!

A huge thank you for your support over this last year.

I’m currently cycling up through France and will arrive back in the UK next week. If you’re free on Sunday 14th September, please join me for some or all of the last stretch as I cycle from London to Cambridge. More details here.

peter pedals

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June and July

My route across the states: CA NV UT CO NE IA IL IN MI OH ON(Can) NY VT NH MA RI CT NY

Colorado

Colorado

June began with a massive climb over the Rockies, which was cold, tiring and (on the long downhill into Denver) very rewarding! The highest pass was 11,307 feet (3446 m), and after high 30s just two weeks before, there was now fresh snow on the ground and I was cycling in all my clothes.

The road from Denver to Chicago then took a very different topology: flat flat flat. This meant I managed to cycle a record 211km on one day, and a total of 1102km in 7 days – a record number of kms in a week for me on this trip. Apart from it being flat, I was pedalling fast to get away from a big storm which was bringing tornadoes, and a spectacular lightening display. Some of the storms still got me and I was often diving for cover under trees or in barns.

Having raced the weather meant I had a bit of spare time to

Indiana

Indiana

relax in Chicago with a couple of uni friends. My brother also joined me at this point for his stint on the Peter Pedals adventure. The first 2 weeks in July were spent with him cycling from Chicago to Buffalo. It was the first time since last November that I was cycling with someone I knew. I’d forgotten how great it to be able to share the trials and tribulations of life on the road, whether hot evenings by stunning lakes being eaten alive by mosquitos or working out what to do when a tree falls on your tent in the middle of the night! Before Ian headed home, we made a fun detour into Canada where we practiced a new ascent and were able to see the immense Niagara Falls.

DSCF2173

New York (state)

I wasn’t on my own for long though. Just after Ian went home, I experienced the lone round-the-world cyclist’s dream: I chanced upon a group of 500 people cycling from Buffalo to Albany. I cycled, snacked, ate and camped the whole 400 miles along the Eerie canal with them. So if you fancy a supported bike ride in Upper state New York, I would thoroughly recommend the Cycling the Erie Canal group.

After another 700 kms through New England, I arrived in New York City on Monday. DSCF2203

I still can’t believe I’ve cycled across North America. I’m continually grateful to the people who have helped me out – thank you so much.

One more month of the adventure left: Morocco to England.

See you soon!

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The Final Leg Home – 14th September

London to Cambridge, the FINAL LEG of my 30,000 km round the world trip and I want you to join me. Its about 100 km and at the end we can celebrate.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/593178434137209/

Meet: Tottenham Hale Station, 8.00, leave at 8.30.
Finish: The Mill Pond, hopefully 17:00.

Route: Same ROUTE as this https://peterpedals.wordpress.com/cambridge-to-london/

We grab a pub LUNCH in Clavering, or bring a packed lunch. It’ll be a fairly slow day as Ill be fully loaded.

Come along. Friends, +1’s, (pets?) are all welcome.

I’m looking forward to the day massively!

Peter

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£13,000 has been raised

Thanks so much everyone who donated. The generosity you have all shown keeps me pushing to the end!

Its all going to a really good cause, the ‘international disaster fund’ through the British Red Cross.

Thank you, see my latest video below if you haven’t already

Peter 

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April and May

April was my last month in Australia. Having travelled across barren, dry landscapes in March, I found the further east I got, the more green and the more populated the countryside was( So from seeing 5 people a day to a whopping 15…!). One of the biggest challenges on the home run to Sydney was crossing the Dividing Range. These mountains were pretty tough as I lugged me + 40kg of luggage up 2000m climbs with some 10% gradients. It was made even tougher by the subzero temperatures. (The days of rainDSCF1930
as I left Melbourne put to bed the stereotype that Australia is always sunny and hot!)

The kindness of strangers continued throughout whether Warmshowers hosts, friends of friends or just people taking pity on the crazy bearded English person who’d cycled across places they daren’t go by car. But mostly I was pitching up my tent in campsites, parks, sports fields or cricket pavilions with kangaroos, koalas and the odd wild horse for company.

Time on my own is spent reading, eating, sleeping and now also as an amateur tailor. After 8 months of just 1 t-shirt, 1 Lycra t-shirt, a shirt, 2 pairs of shorts and a pair of trousers, my clothes have started to split and tear and so have been subjected to with my – now expert – needlework skills.

May took me over the Pacific to the US. I had decided against spending time in New Zealand, as flying is a lengthy, let alone costly process, for a touring cyclist. Any flights carries risks of transportation as well as the loss of precious cycling days when packing up.

The only item I have lost this year (touch wood!) was when the Australian customs confiscated my camping stove. Although I already had a bad track record with them as they confiscated (read: “ate”) the cream eggs from a care package sent over to me in Oz from the UK.

So California’s coastline. What a way to start Stage 4! I landed in LA and quickly headed up the famous ‘Highway 1’. I’m sorry Australia, but after 7000km travelling along your Southern Coast, I have the authority to say the Big Sur is more spectacular (at least for a touring cyclist!). On my way up to San Francisco, I cycled past coves, stacks, virgin white beaches, whales spouting and beaches of elephant seals, whilst camping on windy cliffs or under giant redwoods. This bit was made even better by Highway 1 being a favourite for cyclists, so for the first time in a while I had company on the road.

Eleanor joined me in San Francisco and took on the role of support car, providing bananas IMG_0987and cold water at all the right times. It was also time for a little rest for me, as I did 650km in two weeks – a distance I usually cover in under a week. Together, bike and car, we headed inland across California’s dust bowl, typified by 40 degrees heat and dry yellow landscapes, to Yosemite national park. From there we cycled/drove through vineyards up to the stunning, peaceful high-altitude Lake Tahoe.

California turned out to be a state of everything – beach, mountains, desert, forest, drought, snow and of course some wine. All made better as we chanced on a heatwave, which was lovely for Eleanor in her nice air-conditioned, but not so great for me and my 150km days.

After Tahoe Eleanor left and was home in 18hours; it was going to take me another 3.5 months! So off I headed across Nevada on the old ‘Pony Express’ road. It was a really tough end to May, as I crossed maybe 12 mountain ranges on a very sparsely populated stretch. DSCF2023

I’m now in Buffalo, having crossed 4 more states, experienced a pre-tornado, spent a few days enjoying Chicago and 2 weeks cycling with my bro.

As always, I appreciate your support and I look forward to hearing from you, so please drop me an email.

From Peter in Buffalo

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£12,000, February and March

Dear All

Before I give you the low down of the end of stage 2 and start of stage 3 I want to say a big thanks to everyone who has donated – we have raised over £12 000!!

Last month was in fact a big target month all round as I covered 3,200 km and passed the half way mark in both distance and time! DSCF1687

So, February. I spent the first half of the month in Malaysia. Compared to the other SE Asian countries I’d passed through (China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand), Malaysia had a very different flavour.

A) There were lots more cyclists about – it was great to have company on the road to distract me from my own thoughts; they usually consist of planning when to buy/eat/prepare my next meal.
B) The humidity and temperature were high so my days were broken up by half hourly breaks to recover and rehydrate.
C) The difference I noticed the most though was the food! Not only were there lots of Indian influences – it’s amazing how much I’d missed a curry – but I also got to enjoy fresh home cooked Malaysian food. As with most countries I’ve travelled through, I’ve been lucky to be stay with locals through Warmshowers (an amazing cycling equivalent of couchsurfing).

DSCF1779Once I reached Kuala Lumpur, I flew South to another country of great hospitality: Australia. In mid February stage 3 began in Perth and has since been filled with desolate bush, bbqs and the odd startled kangaroo.

Before I headed out into the dry, barren landscape of Southern Australia, I had a couple of days in Perth with a comfy bed and a good steak. Meat features heavily here and I quickly grew accustomed to the free bbqs in every town – I’ve had to say goodbye to my vegetarianism this year, as unfortunately beggars can’t be choosers and I need the meat! Also it’s hard enough to find quorn sausages in Cambridge, let alone in the middle of the Australian bush.

Distances in this stretch have felt long and the beginning of March was probably the toughest cycling of the whole trip, as I grappled with strong winds, unseasonal rain, lack of water and Australian summer temperatures on the Nulabour Plain. This was 9 days of hard cycling across 1200km of empty, arid semi-desert. Its star feature is the world’s longest straight road; 90miles of cycling into a headwind. There were “roadhouses” every hundred or so kms, which offered little more than petrol, a small shop and a post box. And that was it. Not even many animals – all I saw was one eagle, 2 emus and a few dead kangaroos. Thankfully there were lots of passing travellers who kept me going, by providing me with water and carrying extra food supplies. I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped out!

DSCF1879As I’ve moved further East along the Southern coast, the temperature has cooled, the countryside is greener, phone signal is more frequent and the wildlife more plentiful. I’ve seen plenty of colourful birds en route; I’ve also camped with koalas, eaten breakfast with kangaroos and picked up a rock (and quickly put it down again!) with a slightly poisonous red back spider underneath!

DSCF1828The big thing for me about cycling through Australia is there is no language barrier. This is the first country where I haven’t read the Lonely Planet from cover to cover, as I can just sit down and have a chat with someone about the culture/site/countryside. A comforting feeling I look forward to having in the US too.

If you have any questions please email/Facebook me and I will try to answer them in my next video.

From Peter
(now on the way to Sydney – possibly too late for the royal family to greet me!)

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December and January

Without a doubt, these past two months have been very different from the previous two. But before I give you a mini-update on my trip, I’m pleased to report that the British Red Cross released £100,000 to South Sudan thanks to the International Disaster Fund. All the Peter Pedals money you donate is going to a really great cause. Please read more here.

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October and November

As December swings by I’m finding it hard to believe that I’ve been on the road for over 3 months already. Oh boy has it been an adventure! I’ve cycled over 8000km, across 5 very different countries and next weekend I’ll be crossing into Vietnam, which will present exciting new experiences as I grapple with communicating in another language (my range of hand signals is now extensive!), understanding new road systems, learning regional protocols and steering clear of ordering chicken heads (a mistake already made in China when I was presented with a soup with cockerel heads floating about).

DSCF1315[1]I’ve put up some photos and videos on the website. Unfortunately I lost some of them due to technological issues, but then that’s what comes when you’re travelling round the world as a cyclist rather than a cameraman – my movie making skills also fall under this disclaimer! The November video is on its way and should hopefully give you a little glimpse of life on the road in China.

The daily routine of Peter Pedals is far from Cambridge life of sitting in front of a laptop, eating brie baguettes for lunch and watching Arrested Development…. So, I get up before sunrise, load up the bike (with all 30+kg of luggage) and get on the road by the time it’s light – about 7am at the moment. As the sun heats up, I gradually take off my warm gear (cycling in China has been freezing!) and stop somewhere for breakfast – packets of biscuits have never been consumed so quickly nor have they ever been so justified! I’ll do about 80km before stopping for lunch – either inside a cheap roadside cafe to warm up or I’ll tuck into some food I’ve been carrying. Then it’s back on the road until my destination of the day which has meant I’m doing anywhere up to 165km a day. Once I arrive I’ll establish where I’ll sleep – hotel/hostel/make-shift camping spot – and then I eat, and eat and eat. I’m in bed early sleeping a good 11 hours every night. Cycling 6 to 7 days without rest days, suffice it to say my legs are always aching and I’m constantly hungry!

Since my last update I travelled across Georgia and Azerbaijan. That part of my trip feels like a long time ago, but I have good memories, especially of the Georgian food – Google Khachapuri, a melted cheese, egg, butter, bread dish aka a touring cyclist’s delight! Eleanor joined me for a bit too, which was really nice. Nonetheless, long days on the road, being chased by wild dogs (Google images of “white Caucasian shepherd dog”) and camping to the nearby howls of wolves turned out to be not quite up her street and the quote of this part of the trip has to be her saying “Peter, don’t you ever let me do anything like this ever again!”China – wow what a country! Only now am I starting to settle in and enjoy what it hasDSCF1238 to offer. Fortunately my friend Sam joined me for the first couple of weeks which was really useful to help me acclimatise. We did a loop around Beijing, seeing the Great Wall in some very hilly areas. I was also hit by a touch of food poisoning, which meant I was off the road for a few days as I built up my strength and weaned myself off rice. After Sam went home I started pushing South and away from the cold – I’m finally cycling in shorts and t-shirt again and yesterday I moved down to just one pair of socks! I’m also now used to the Chinese way and really enjoying trying all sorts of food.As I leave the land of no Facebook and WordPress next weekend, I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep you updated more often.

I have regular access to my emails and my English phone is still fully functioning, so please do get in touch with your news – it’s great to hear from everyone – though not too much bragging about good chocolate, good cheese and Marmite – all things I’m missing!

Thank you for your ongoing support.
Peter
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