From the first push of the pedals out of Istanbul in January, life will resolve down to a few intense simplicities: biking all day, every day, burdened and exhilarated; exploring borderlands and wildernesses in mountains and deserts; and calling the crooked, winding Silk Road our “home” for a year.
But until that moment of real departure, things are totally manic panic. Mel and I are working flat-out to get ready for this journey: checking off the million and two items on our To Do list, testing gear, puzzling out all the buttons and knobs on our cameras, praying to the Silk Road gods and goddesses that we have enough money to last the trip (beg your help?), and counting down the dwindling days until launch with a mixture of terror and excitement.
Despite the busy-ness, we spend time in the saddle every day to steel our butts and legs against the abuse they’re bound for. Riding an unloaded bike in freezing cold Ontario for just a few hours, then retreating to a warm house for hot cocoa, might not be the most specific training possible for winter cycling and camping along the Silk Road…but it sure is fun! Through the madness of preparations, these sojourns provide a daily reminder that this, ultimately, is what it’s all about: the sheer, reeling joy of riding bikes, of getting outside and exploring the neighborhood.