A Journey by Bicycle through
Europe, Siberia, Mongolia & China
By bicycle from England to China through France, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia
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**March 2004: This page contains a partial pre-departure diary which I didn't keep very well up to date. Diary entries from the ride live on a different page: see diary or mileage log section for latest updates, and if you want updates "as they happen", join the updates mailing list (see top left of this screen).**

17th September 2003

Beautiful sunny day, sitting here in Topsham looking out over the river, it's mid-September but it could be mid-summer. Days like this I sometimes wonder why I ever decided to leave. I didn't record the weather on the day I made the decision to make this journey, but I bet it was raining. Who'd want to go anywhere when the weather's like this?

(OK, now Roy next door has switched on his motorised sander/beltsaw/lathe/whatever it is. The whine/whirr/grind is driving me nuts; perhaps this trip is a good idea after all.)

21st September 2003

Last cricket match of the season (and probably for two years). Scored a miserable 14, in the course of which I ran out our star batsman (on 82 at the time). We lost by 5 runs. China doesn't seem far enough...

22nd September 2003

Heading up to Therfield tomorrow to try and get the sale of the business arranged. Also making a guest appearance in a "Pete and Dud" review with the Therfield Thespians. Once those two are out of the way, will be able to concentrate more on planning.

25th September 2003

Got my first ever puncture today, I have been lucky up to now. And I was lucky again today really, I was all of 83 yards from my front door when it came. A nice sunken manhole cover, and whoosh, beaute of a little snakebite puncture and tyre was flat within half a second.

Unfortunately up here in Therfield I was only able to find a 1960s repair kit, with no glue, so tomorrow it's off to the bike shop in Royston... on foot... to get a new kit.

Meanwhile, the Pete and Dud review is looking ever more dire. At the rehearsal on Tuesday night we got a total of one (1) muted laugh in three sketches. Oh dear.

Still waiting on the business front. If nobody's buying, then the whole trip is on shakier financial ground. Still a few people interested though so hopefully something will come out of it.

That puncture, it was the ducks' fault really. The usual stupid Therfield ducks' trick of walking out in front of cars and then waddling around for hours - on my bike I was able to slip around them and then shooed them away so the car could get through. Then the car came past me, and the driver waved his thanks to me as he went. I looked up to see if I could recognise his face in the mirror - took my eye off the road and went straight into a pot-hole with a mini-manhole cover at the bottom.

28th September 2003

Well the Pete and Dud sketches went better than I had expected. Especially on the Saturday night, we got good laughs for all of them. Pete and Dud at Knight School was the best received, mainly I think because I found the characters easier to do - especially with a face full of chips. I have found the transcripts of these sketches almost impossible to find online, so as a service to humanity I'll post them here. I hope the copyright holders won't object. In any case Pete and Dud at Knight School was written by my father so there shouldn't be any problems there.

Emily came up to watch the show. Her grandmother died suddenly on Saturday morning which was very sad.

29th September 2003

Suddenly full of excitement and enthusiasm again today about the trip. Not that I haven't been for weeks, but some days the downside - leaving Emily and friends and family and cricket for so long - weighs as heavily as the upside uplifts.

Haven't made as much progress contacting sponsors this week as I would have liked, but at least the Review is out of the way. Tomorrow I see a potential purchaser of the business, and if we can reach a deal then I can get moving on sponsors, kit and preparations.

Great news came through on Friday - the Nanren sponsor money (see www.littleinternet.net/nanren) has arrived in Beijing and Du Yu will be able to take it to Nanren in October. It's four years late now, but I'm so glad we've been able to do it at last. It would be really good if I could visit Nanren on the way through China. It's just off the Yunnan-Tibet road, so it's pretty enticing....perhaps for the return leg, Tibet - Nepal - India - Pakistan - Iran - { Turkey - Romania - etc} or {Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kazakhstan - Russia - etc}...

1st October 2003

Cycled in the rain for the first time since about May, so far as I can remember. It has been so dry this summer. Still warm though, nice to feel the spray sloshing through my sandals....

2nd October 2003

Sandals soggy this morning....

6th October 2003

Back from Edmund's wedding in Bolton. Wish I'd had a bike up there, the train from Manchester to Leeds took about two hours, I'm sure it would have been quicker by bike.

9th October 2003

Checking out some cycling websites and read that Ken Kifer has been knocked down and killed by a drunken driver - who had just been released from prison for a drink-driving offence. Of course I never met Mr Kifer, but like a lot of people I feel I learnt a lot from reading his website. Sad news.

12th October 2003

Yesterday's teaching in Melbourn went OK. Would rather do that twice a week than run around doing bits and pieces here.

14th October 2003

Help, I need somewhere to live! I'm being turfed out of my warren in Topsham next week, and I need to find a place to stay till February when I can finally get this show on the road. Hard to find a landlord who is happy with a short-term rent.

17th October 2003

Found some work yesterday which should tide me over the next few months, and maybe even pay for some of the ride. Beautiful crisp sunny autumn days at the moment, air smells fresh and - paradoxically I know - reminds me of China.

28th October 2003

Got a call from Richard at Dazer yesterday. They have kindly offered to sponsor me to the tune of one Dazer. Look out, doggies!

1st November 2003

Over the last 10 days or so we've had the first proper rain since the spring, or so it feels. I LOVE cycling in the rain, especially in the dark! Wrap up in waterproofs, pedal hard and away you go. It's like waterskiing.

18th November 2003

I heard today that Lyon Outdoor have kindly offered to provide me with Ortlieb Panniers for the ride. Thank you, Lyon!

23rd November 2003

Spent all day looking at digicams at Jessops and Amazon and eBay....
Oh, and at today's link of the day.

The diary continues... here


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005 Edward Genochio
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