So this lightening 5 month trip comes to an end in Taathon, Chiang Mai Province, North Thailand. I seem to have overshot the Caspian by a fair way. I cycled to the place I used to work and call home to find that it had been bulldozed to the ground and my friends house is now a fried chicken shop. The times they are a changin' around here.
My 40 pound bike is now as smooth to ride as a tractor. Every bearing needs servicing. All cables, housings, brake pads, tires, headset need replacing/overhauling.
The front wheel is the original 8 year old, cheapo wheel that came with the bike and it still runs perfectly true. I look at the rim in awe that it made it all the way without breaking. The front panniers no longer meet the basic definition of "a bag". The rear tire is the original Schwable tire I put on the bike before leaving, Schwable are bullet proof.
There is more cycling to do but when and where I've no idea. I will be resting for now and trying to address the imbalance between my massive legs and tiny arms. For those avid blog watchers out there, why don't you check out Rob Thompson at www.14degrees.org as he cycles to England through an ice cold Turkey and Europe.
And so in summary, Kidderminster to Taathon:
Kilometers cycled: 14,000
Number of countries: 18
Number of days: 159
Number of days off the bike: 41
Number of days ill: 6
Most expensive hotel: 50 USD, Tbilisi.
Cheapest Hotel: 3 Yuan (less than 20 pence) Gansu province, China, see here.
Longest time on the bike: 19 days, to Budapest.
Longest time off the bike: 8 days, Istanbul and Kunming.
Best Food: Doner Kebab, Germany.
Biggest Binge: 7 kebabs in one day, Germany.
Worst Food: My cooking.
Best Roads: Germany, see here.
Worst Roads: China, see here.
Favourite Cities: (In no order) Bratislava, Kunming, Chengdu, Nukus.
Worst City: Calais.
Favourite Countries: (In no order) Germany, Romania, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Laos.
Worst Country: None, I enjoyed them all.