This is it. This is the moment I have wondered about for 18 years. I've finally sat on my bike long enough to surely say that I have cycled the world.
So many pedal strokes, so many sights, so much exhilaration, so many aches in places I didn't know I had.
The other day I just stopped after a short ride around the outskirts of Los Angeles, California. It was a grey day, nice and mild for cycling with not much of a breeze. The riverside bike path that I was on was smooth, otherwise unremarkable, but not once I had hit the grand total of 40,100kms; the circumference of our planet.
The journey was by no means a consistent one. Work and being responsible meant that bicycle touring was normally confined to holidays from work. But when Niamh and I handed in our notice from our jobs in June 2017, the distances quickly clocked up.
Now, In December 2018, the self-imposed challenge has been completed, raising over 10,000GBP for PWSA in the process. The sum of all the journeys' parts took me through 60 countries, each of which I have written about on www.pedalgogy.net/blog
I still don't understand why I had such a drive to complete this undertaking. I guess once I was a few tours in, I was already hooked. I'd started, so I was always going to finish. It certainly helped that the lifestyle that we have now forged through our international school teaching careers, kept the passion of adventure alive. It certainly gave us the freedom through saving to embark on the circumnavigation of the earth.
Writing these blogposts has encouraged me to think back over parts of this adventure, some long forgotten. When they re-surface I can't help but be amazed that all of these moments have been woven into one journey. One that has, for the most part, been fun. Ideas have formed, plans have hatched, logistics dealt with, rides enjoyed.
I'm not sure that we have been guided along the way, but I do believe in something. I have never encountered a truly threatening moment, and given the predicaments I found myself in at times, things could easily have gone pear-shaped. But they haven't, I am here now, at the end of the road, writing this post.
Within a few days, I will be back in Europe, and training for the London Marathon in April will begin in earnest. I will represent PWSA back in the UK for the first time, having flown the flag around the world. I am sure that it will be exciting to be amongst other like-minded people. So, after a rest for Christmas, getting my running shoes on will be a proud moment, and the dawn of the next chapter.
There is now a new type of journey ahead for us, we are married, with a baby on the way and our next destination for work is Cambodia. The adventures continue.