Charlie Walker is Taking his Grand Tour at a More Leisurely Pace Than Others.
Englishman Charlie Walker got in touch with us a couple of years ago. He had a tour in mind and was on the hunt for the right saddle.
The objective of the expedition was, as he put it, “to reach the ’4 corners of the Old World’ (before the Americas were discovered). Namely Nordkapp (most northern point of Europe), Singapore (most south-eastern point of Eurasia), Uelen (most eastern point of Eurasia) and Cape Agulhas (most southern point of Africa).”
So we equipped him with one of our Flyer Specials, and off he went.
Two years in, and distance-wise he has covered enough mileage for a ratifiable Guinness circumnavigation record. Of course, the basis of his route is grounded in the notion that the Earth is flat, but no matter, 18000+ miles is 18000+ miles.
Currently in China, he has taken a little time out to bolster his coffers before a push on to Mongolia. He got back to us recently with some pictures and impressions of the past 700 days. Notably, he has given Paul Ashley Unett a run for his money in the Not Washing department, and has doubtless had to answer false charges of International Espionage somewhere along the way. We let Charlie take up the story…
“In July 2010 I decided that office life was not for me and so I set off from Salisbury on my old bicycle with a tent and a plan to ride 40,000 miles for 4 years across Europe, Asia and Africa. My aim is to cycle back to Salisbury via the Arctic Circle, Singapore and Cape Town – a vague and winding route but one that gives me plenty of opportunity to meet interesting new people, visit interesting new places and to challenge myself.
Since then I have passed through 29 countries, cycled over 18,000 miles and met and seen countless new places and people…and I’m not yet half way! There have been easy times (leisurely summer rides alongside peaceful Dutch canals), tough times (5,500m high mountain passes in the sub-zero Tibetan winter) and odd times (a plum eating competition with Romanian gypsies), but at no point have I found myself regretting the decision I made to undertake this journey.
Every day is different and exciting. Whether I unzip my tent to a stunning vista of snow-coated mountains with no humans for miles around, or to a curious crowd of smiling Indian villagers, each morning brings a new adventure.
I have slept in embassies, temples and mud huts; eaten donkey, dates and dog; cycled through snowstorms, sandstorms and scorching sun; been chased by dogs, dive-bombed by birds and lost countless times. I wouldn’t change a thing and can only hope that, over the next two years, Life continues to throw as many surprises at me.
Miles so far: 18,115
Broken spokes: 12
New chains: 7
Countries visited: 29
Times thrown off Chinese Expressway: 6
Arrests by Chinese police: 2
Most miles in a day: 165
Top speed: 51mph
Highest temp.: 41C
Lowest temp.: -40C
Deserts crossed: 3
Longest without shower: 36 days
Most consecutive nights in tent: 61