The idea of travelling the world by bike first came to Tom whilst he cycled the 745 miles from Munich to Lake Garda in Italy and back. Tom says “it planted the idea in my head to do a longer ride and gave me confidence that I could survive on my own for a long time.” He had always been keen to visit Eastern Europe and Asia and says “I decided to go on the ride because I’ve always wanted to spend some time travelling. I’ve also always loved cycling so I thought combining the two would be the best way of seeing the world.”
Before embarking on the trip, Tom fitted a training schedule in around his work. He commuted to work by bike whenever possible, totalling around 100 miles a week, and planned long-distance cycling trips across the country to improve his fitness. Aware that he might experience a few glitches early on in the ride, Tom scheduled in a week-long detour through Wales for the first week of his trip, where he would find it easier to fix any problems which might crop up.
Starting in Europe, Tom’s route passes through countries including Turkey, Georgia, and the Pamir mountains in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. He plans to visit two SOS Children’s Villages along his route, in Urumqi and Beijing in China.
Tom believes that cycling is the best method for long-term travel because it gives him the opportunity to see places in-between tourist hotspots that he would never have visited otherwise. “These bits are the best” he says “whether it’s an amazing landscape that isn’t in the guidebooks, or a lovely family who invite you to stay in their house and eat with them.”
Now four months into the ride, Tom has had some incredible experiences. He says that one of his favourite moments was in Georgia. Tom explains “One night in Georgia I asked if I could camp in a field in a village and an old man approached me and asked if I wanted to stay with him. I gratefully accepted and he showed me to his house. I had a wash and when I came out his wife had somehow prepared a huge feast with about 10 courses in 20 minutes! We had an amazing evening communicating in sign language and using a book of pictures my girlfriend gave to me as a leaving present.”
He also ranks finishing the difficult desert stretch from Aktau, Kazakhstan to Nukus, Uzbekistan as one of the most unforgettable moments on his trip so far. ”It was around 1,100 km of desert with 500 km of terrible roads, 45 degree temperatures, not much shade and not many places to get water. I cycled the second half of the desert with two French cyclists, Camille and Mark, who were great company. When we finally saw our first tree for 2 weeks, we let out a cheer and whizzed down into a beautiful landscape of cotton fields and people working on the land. It was a great moment.”
Tom has written a blog about his travels, which he updates regularly. You can read it at: http://www.tombrucecycling.blogspot.com/
To support Tom, please visit his Virgin Money Giving page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/tombrucecycling
Photos: Copyright Tom Bruce