Melbourne to Sydney

Most of you will know that we arrived in Sydney last week (wahoo!) and you may have been wondering why we haven’t written a blog. Well, to be honest, we’ve been having too much fun!! There have been friends to see, beers to drink and parties to attend! But after a week of indulgence I thought I really should take a little time to document our last leg of Australia from Melbourne to Sydney.

After some uninspiring days spent cycling past industrial towns and McDonald’s (we only went to one, honest!) we left the urban sprawl of Melbourne and visited the Hamilton family at their lovely house. House numbers here were determined by the number of kilometres your house is down the road, and letter boxes are on the verge to save lots of trips up long driveways for the postman.

After a long time living a cyclist’s lifestyle, some might say it was only a matter of time until we became coffee lovers. Back in Adelaide Amber made us some strong cyclist-approved cups of real coffee, and we haven’t looked back. We bought this stove top espresso maker a few weeks later, and it’s already in contention for being my favourite piece of kit. We justified the purchase based on our cycling performance – any extra weight is more than made up for by a significant increase in speed after a coffee break!

The coast road around Eden in New South Wales presented some of the steepest hills since northern Laos. Despite being very short, we were panting and dripping with sweat by the top. I actually got off and pushed on one small climb (and made sure I was back on the saddle before Ryan turned around!). The hardwork was made worthwhile by the beautiful lakes that scatter the countryside and I’m hoping it will be good training for New Zealand.

We met Jacqui & Aaron (two Australian cyclists going the opposite way) in China for 10 minutes on the side of the road. Fast forward 9 months and we stayed with Aaron’s mum in the lovely town of Vincentia, New South Wales. Jacqui & Aaron are still on the road, heading towards England – hopefully we’ll catch up with them there!

This part of the world is thick with forest which makes for good camping spots, although we had a few noisy nights’ sleep as we were joined by squawking birds and cheeky possums who were desperate to get into our panniers for a midnight snack. I didn’t think I would ever meet someone who was as aggressive as Ryan over food, but the stand-off that occurred in the moonlit forest between Ryan and cheeky possum was intense – neither was going to back down. Periodically Ryan would stamp around and lurch towards the possum, who stared unblinkingly back before going for another attempt at the food. I’m not sure who won, cheeky possum didn’t get our food but neither did Ryan get any sleep.

70km before Sydney we stayed with my uncle Paul in Bulli. We’d been warned about a big climb over Bulli Pass the next morning so Paul took us for a recce over it on 4 wheels before we set off. It looked very steep in places even from behind a car window, but despite Paul’s offers of a lift we set off for a painful slog to the top. 35 minutes and a sandwich later we were sat panting on the top, with 65km of downhill left all the way to Sydney.

On the final day into Sydney it felt like someone really wanted to make it as hard as possible. We had a short but very steep climb over Bulli Pass and then got caught in a wild thunderstorm as we cycled up the hardshoulder of the unavoidable freeway. Our cycle computer ticked over to 25,000km so we stopped for a quick photo in the rain. Not the most picturesque spot we’ve stopped at!

We cycled up to the harbour to take in the iconic sights. We’ve both been to Sydney before, but the amazing Opera House and Harbour Bridge were just as stunning second time round.

A few friends have moved to Sydney, so our 9 days off passed quickly in a blur of socialising – a nice change from a quiet tent in the middle of nowhere! The rest of our time was spent wandering round the city and enjoying some time off the bikes.

On Monday morning we flew from Sydney to Queenstown, New Zealand, for the 23rd and final country of our journey (ARGHHHHHHH!). I can’t believe we are so close to the finish line…

More Australia photos here

Adelaide to Melbourne & the Great Ocean Road

I recently wrote an article for Sidetracked Magazine about our journey through China – have a read here

And while we’re at it, I don’t think I ever shared the links to the photos that Mark took whilst he & Hana cycled with us in Thailand and Malaysia. The 70-odd photos span three posts, here, here and here.

As we set off towards Melbourne we were excited about the cycling to come – we’d heard good things about the famous ‘Great Ocean Road’ running along part of the south coast. But first we had to pass through the Coorong, a national park with salt flats and more wide expanses similar to those seen on the Nullarbor. Once again my camera’s memory card started to fill up with photos of long, straight roads.

The wind always seems to be strong in Australia, which is either great or rubbish depending on the direction. Through the Coorong we had a tedious day of headwind followed by an easy day being blown along by a nice tailwind. Sometimes it feels like it’s pointless to even bother cycling when the wind is in our face – maybe we should just wait until the wind turns in our favour and then catch up the miles with a couple of long days.

We spent New Year’s Eve camped out in the bush on the side of the road and we fell asleep as it got dark at 9pm. We set the alarm for 11:58pm and woke up for approximately 4 minutes  to see in the New Year. We’d left the fly sheet off the tent that night so we had a good view of the starry sky through the mesh tent skin.

The Great Ocean Road covers 250km of mostly winding coastal road in Victoria, from Warrnambool to Torquay. We’d been looking forward to this part of the ride and it didn’t disappoint – the road was spectacular in places, and gave us our first real hills in months (hills always make for interesting cycling).

We were in full tourist mode as we joined the campervans taking regular detours out to the various lookouts along the coast to see impressive rock formations under some moody skies.

The weather has been changing rapidly from hot sun to driving wind and rain straight off the Southern Ocean. I’d always assumed that Australian summers were guaranteed to be boiling, but it appears not.

“Hot enough for you yet, is it?” we get asked by Australians whenever the sun pops out.

“A nice change from the rain yesterday” I generally reply.

“Just you wait, it’ll be 46 degrees next week!”

Exaggeration of temperatures seems to be endemic, and although I’m sure there are plenty of savagely hot days in Australia, the fact is down on the south coast we’ve been cold more often than we’ve been hot this summer. After a 3 hour climb up to Lavers Hill on a particularly grim day we could even see our breath in the cold air and dived inside a pub to sit in front of the log fire!

Early January is peak time for the Australian summer holiday, so the little towns along the way were busy with tourists and very expensive. We usually raid the budget aisle of the supermarket and hang around for a rest in the town park (which always have shade, pinic benches, free electric BBQs and water – ideal for cyclists on a micro-budget).

Just after Kennet River we found what may be our best camp spot of the trip, a flat patch of grass high up over the road, overlooking the ocean. Infinitely better than a poo-infested tunnel under a Chinese road.

When we woke up we found another cyclist had pitched his tent nearby after we’d gone to bed, but as he was still sleeping we left quietly. He caught us up as we stopped to brew a mid-morning coffee in the next town and we cycled the rest of the day together. Ben, from New Zealand, had cycled 17,000km from Istanbul to London with an incredibly bendy route through Europe (we’d cycled 4,000km between London & Istanbul, and reached Bangkok before we’d covered the same mileage!) Two completely different mental approaches to cycle touring, and it was interesting to chat and swap stories.

For our final night before reaching Melbourne we’d been due to stay with Maxine (another great host), but we felt bad to send Ben on his way to another campstove dinner and bush camp whilst we enjoyed showers and a bed. Fortunately Maxine kindly took Ben in as well, and the three of us enjoyed a tasty lasagne and beds. Thanks Maxine!

We’ve spent the last week in Melbourne (big thanks to both Alex and then Bethan for putting us up) and we’ve both decided that we really like it here. The CBD is compact with a nice mix of alleyways filled with coffee shops and graffiti, larger shopping streets, and the Yarra river flowing through the centre.

We’ve had an unusually busy social schedule here with lots of friends to meet, both old and new. In particular it was great to finally meet Tom and Jodie, an English couple who have moved to Melbourne just after cycling from England to New Zealand. They’ve always been about 4 months ahead of us on the road, and although we’ve been chatting regularly online for the last 18 months we’d never actually met each other.

Melbourne seems like a very sporty city – take a five minute walk along the Yarra and you’re guaranteed to see hoards of cyclists, runners, rowers, skateboarders and a whole host of sports arenas. The Australian Open is taking place in Melbourne at the moment and we spent last Thursday in the grounds watching a few matches..

Tomorrow we head off once more to start another 1,000km section that will take us to Sydney, and the end of our Australian cycling. It looks like we should get a few days of hot weather on the way out of Melbourne, maybe my jesting above will come back to bite me… Thankfully though our leisurely pace of late can continue – our flight to New Zealand doesn’t leave until 20th February.

Across the Nullarbor – Perth to Adelaide

I was gasping for breath within a few hours of leaving Perth. As it turns out, Australia is not flat. The notorious flies that we’d been warned about appeared almost instantly and I fought to stay upright whilst swatting, spluttering and swaying slowly up the hills. I tried to keep my mouth tight shut (difficult when boiling hot and working hard) but one would buzz up my nose, causing me to snort and inhale through my mouth, whilst another would quickly dive down my throat. By the top of the first climb I had a belly full of flies. It wasn’t funny when Ryan cheerily told me it was just an extra bit of protein, so I decided to dress like a desert trooper and put on my claustrophobic fly net. For the rest of the cycling in Western Australia we kept these within easy reach, ready to whip out as soon as a swarm appeared.

I was feeling a little bit frazzled by the end of day one. We had all of our camping gear back, and were already carrying a full day’s worth of water (about 7 litres each) as the first town after Perth was 140km away. Before looking at the map I’d imagined that there’d be regular towns for at least a few days out of Perth, but within an hour of cycling we were already out in the bush with no sign of civilisation. This meant right from the start our bikes were very heavy. My sherpa went on strike months ago, which was OK when I didn’t have so much to carry, but I was really feeling it now after a slightly slack month cycling-wise. After a leisurely finale to SE Asia it was a bit of a shock to be pushing ourselves this hard. We had set our sights on arriving in Adelaide for Christmas, around 2,800km away, so the pressure was on to get some miles under our belts.

We became quick at setting up some shade and our mosquito net between our bikes because every time we stopped for a rest we got eaten alive by horse flies and mosquitoes. My saddle sore bum seems to be a mosquito’s favourite dish, and I noticed Ryan started to hover near it whenever we stopped as it acts like a human mosquito shield to anyone nearby.

Amazingly we found a Warm Showers host, Ryan H, in a farming village called Varley. This would be our only night in a bed until we got to Adelaide and it felt good to stretch out and not have to unpack everything. We were given some tips for bush camping and sensible advice about finding water. Ryan H took us to see the Rabbit Proof Fence which runs for thousands of kilometres to keep rabbits out of the wheat fields of Western Australia, and taught us about the wildlife we might encounter in the outback. Spending time with people who actually live and work in the bush was really good and put an end to any anxieties that had been born from city folk warning us of the many dangers they thought we would face. Ryan H assured us there really isn’t too much to worry about. Despite there being plenty of deadly spiders and snakes, none of them are predators so we just got used to tramping around making LOUD NOISES when setting up camp, and we’ve only had one encounter so far (with a Huntsman spider).

Throughout Australia wild camping is easy and you could sleep for free every night if you chose – just find one of the many natural clearings in the bush and pick your spot. There are also designated rest areas alongside most roads which have some shade, maybe a picnic table and once or twice even a toilet. In some towns we’ve found beautiful free camping areas with BBQs, fresh rain water and often other campers to share a coffee with. This aspect of Australia makes the country a brilliant place to cycle tour, and despite the horrendous exchange rate at the moment it can still be done on a shoestring budget.

We went to Hyden and took some obligatory photos at Wave Rock, before doing a detour south to Esperance where we got to tour around some spectacular beaches after we met a friendly law professor who offered to show us the sights. We had lots of planning to do as this was the last place that we could buy food for the next two weeks. Although we would pass road houses every 100km or so where we could refill our water bags, we weren’t planning on eating in them because they only sell expensive pub-style meals, as opposed to cheap ingredients to cook yourself. We did some calculations as to how much we would need to eat, and went shopping for 2.5kg oats, 3kg pasta, 8 meals of instant mash etc. Our diet for the nest two weeks would consist entirely of packaged foods and there would be no room for a Bex-special cookie binge as strict rations applied at all times. This was going to be the hardest challenge so far!

We were keen to take an off road track that would take us straight from Esperance to Balladonia, avoiding the main road and cutting off 150km. Locals had mixed opinions about whether we could cycle the track, but we’d read about a guy who rode it last year so we knew it was possible and decided it would be an adventure we shouldn’t shy away from.

As we wobbled out of Esperance with 12 litres of water each and our panniers bursting with food, it felt like I was riding a tank. My bike weighed more than me and my thigh muscles bulged with each pedal stroke. I started to think that taking a 4-wheel drive track when the bikes were at the heaviest they have ever been was perhaps a little foolhardy!! We turned north away from the sea and the smooth road slowly deteriorated to rocks and corrugated sand which rattled us to the bone. Luckily a blanket of clouds and a cool breeze kept the temperature down, and we really enjoyed having the road to ourselves. About half way along we found an abandoned homestead with a full water tank and swarms of flies making a deafening buzz. We decided to camp nearby so we could make use of the water. Although I’m totally at ease with camping wild now, there was something really creepy and sinister about this run-down house in the middle of nowhere and I was keen to get moving the next day.

As the hours ticked by I started to ponder how alone we were out here, we hadn’t had any phone reception since leaving Esperance (and that was the first time our Vodafone sim card had worked since leaving Perth) and only a few cars had passed all day, we were unlikely to see another. More and more hours of rattling and bumping passed until we eventually heard the familiar hum of traffic, which grew louder until we popped out onto the famous Eyre Highway at the Balladonia roadhouse. Tired and relieved, we were greeted by a surprised owner who couldn’t believe we’d cycled up the track, and collapsed into our tent. It was a great micro adventure and certainly worth the extra effort over the longer but simpler highway.

The next day we woke at 5.30am and the wind was calm, but by 6.30am it had begun to pick up, and by 9am it was in full swing. We decided that we would creep the alarm forward and get up at 5am tomorrow. The first few days were fun and we even got a rare tail wind on the 90-mile straight, the longest bit of straight road in Australia. We were excited to finally be pedalling this infamous road and were pleasantly surprised that the traffic wasn’t as busy as we thought. Giant road trains roared past every 10 minutes or so, the biggest ones with 3 trailers, but all the drivers were great and gave us a huge wide birth. Occasionally if two were coming from opposite directions we would pull off the road, as there was no way we could all fit on the narrow strip of tarmac and we had significantly more to lose if there was a collision.

As the name suggests (Nullarbor = no trees in Latin) the sparse vegetation consists of low salt bush and blue bush scrub and no trees. The full 1200-odd km between Norseman and Ceduna is referred to as the Nullarbor, but the road only travels across the official Nullarbor Plain for 30km (although the plain covers a huge area a to the north). To be honest it didn’t feel hugely different from the rest of it to me – even with the odd smattering of trees the whole place still looked pretty barren from my seat. The never ending horizons of bush, more bush, red/brown dirt and scrub were demoralising when we battled tirelessly into the wind. We prayed for something different every time we went over a new horizon, but it never came. The road just went on and on and on, and hence we now have a big collection of photos of long, straight roads.

We began creeping our alarm earlier and earlier each day, from 5.30am to 5am, 4. 30am to 4am, and finally 3am in an attempt to beat the wind. I suppose it worked as we could get an hour or two of riding done before the winds really picked up, but it did mean getting up in the pitch black and cold. One good thing about an early start is that we got to watch sunrise, and it was really awesome most days. The bush is full of kangaroos at dawn and there are very few people on the roads at that time. We could zoom along side by side enjoying the new day and getting some fast miles done before breakfast. By the time the sun was up we could strip off our fleeces and get ready for a good searing as the temperature increased.

The wind was our own personal nightmare all the way to Adelaide. People we met kept jovially telling us how lucky we were that the prevailing wind would blow us all the way across Australia. I had to use all my control not to grab them and shove them out onto the road where it was clearly IN MY FACE all day. Don’t try and tell me it’s a tail wind from your comfy air-con camper van whilst eating cookies and drinking iced coffee!

One of the benefits of travelling at a snail’s pace was that we had plenty of time to look around and whereas in a car the scenery can look totally dull, we were able to see lots of wild flowers and animals in some parts. Given how dry the land is, I was amazed at how much manages to live out there! We saw parrots, budgies, wombats, snakes, spiders and hundreds of kangaroos. Sadly there would be a dead kangaroo every few metres on some sections as they run across the road in front of road trains.

As we crossed from Western Australia to South Australia the bush fire warnings increased. As many signs proudly proclaimed, South Australia is the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on Earth and combined with ferocious dry winds the tiniest spark can cause a fire to rip through hundreds of kilometres of bush in no time. We’d mostly been lucky with the temperature not being too hot, but we started to have a few warmer days. By this time we were both physically exhausted and it became a battle of wills to keep going. I felt so small in this vast desolate landscape, it was hundreds of kilometres in any direction to the next town and the fact that you could see endlessly was overwhelming. In England, as in most places, we are always surrounded by hills or plants or trees or buildings or people… this was very different and was becoming very monotonous day after day.

The next time a road house appeared we decided we had earned a treat. Ryan ordered the biggest thing on the menu, “The Gutbuster” burger. With a flurry of excitement the owner went to prepare our meals and returned with a burger the size of a small child on a plate. Of course Ryan ate it all, much to everyone’s amusement, and some of my chips.

The Gutbuster morale train lasted a day or two, but our enthusiasm began to dwindle again as the days dragged on and on, the horizons never changed, and the wind never stopped. Just as we were ready for a change, the road turned towards the Southern Ocean and we got a new view! Spectacular cliffs and crashing waves were a fantastic distraction to the windy cycling and we regularly took little tracks to get a look at the sea.

Finally, 14 days after leaving Esperance we made it to Ceduna, which marks the end of the famous Nullarbor crossing and the first town in over 1200km. As a result of repeated long days spent pedalling into the headwind, our legs were very tired – probably the most tired they’ve been all trip. Ryan announced that he would be spending his day off in the local supermarket, and I had shower after shower.

From Ceduna we had another 10 days cycling before we made it to Adelaide, but from here on we would be cycling through a village or tiny town most days. The final four days leading into Adelaide took us via the Clare Valley and some beautiful hills. The region is famous for it’s vineyards, the scenery was green and rolling and the little towns plentiful in comparison to the previous month. We found shops every day and were invited to a Christmas BBQ in one town, which perhaps they regretted once Ryan attacked the spread with gusto and returned several times for more.

After dreaming of a lazy Christmas break in Adelaide for so long we finally arrived at speed, being blown along by a tailwind for the first time in weeks. We’d been invited to stay with the Halliday’s, and we were greeted by a lively family, a glass of chilled white wine and a steak – amazing! All the hours spent slogging across the Nullarbor were instantly forgotten. Our Christmas break was perfect, and much more fun than last year in Turkey where Christmas doesn’t exist. Although it’s taken 2 years of disappointment, Ryan has finally realised that he now IS Father Christmas and we enjoyed opening stockings, attempting to cook a roast and drinking bottles of local red wine.

We were welcomed with open arms into the hustle and bustle of family life in the Halliday household and managed to fit in a few days at their “shack” on Murray River. The house sits right on the banks and is perfect for speed boat rides and teaching stiff old cyclists how to water ski. Life here is good and I envy the warm weather and outdoor life that is so easily found in Australia. I’m going to be sad to say goodbye, but as I struggled to get my cycling shorts on over my Christmas Belly yesterday, I think it’s time we got back on the saddle.

We set off again this morning, heading for Melbourne 1000km away. We’ll be cycling along the coast all the way to Sydney now, and as we’ve covered over half of our Australian kilometres in one third of our Australian days, the next few weeks should be a bit more relaxed than the stint from Perth.

Click here  for more Australia photos

The end of Asia & the start of Australia

Our last blog finished as we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, and we had an awesome week of fun before we touched the bikes again. First we had a fun few days staying with the Addington family. They’d emailed us after reading about our trip in the Newcastle University Alumni newsletter and invited us to stay. We then met up with Bex’s family (who flew out to meet us for a holiday) and travelled to Tioman Island for some relaxing beach time and seriously good snorkelling. Finally, and in complete contrast to Tioman, we spent a few days in the city centre surrounded shiny new shopping malls and sky scrapers.

The Petronas Towers in particular are stunning – whenever they were within sight I couldn’t help but just stare at them! They’re magnificent iconic buildings, visible from miles around. When it was finally time to leave KL we decided to cycle past to get one final glimpse.

As always, it was a bit of a sluggish start after some time off and it felt like hard work to pedal up any tiny incline. Within in the first hour of cycling after pretty much every break, Bex is convinced she has a double puncture and stops to check…..nope, your tyres are fine, it must be the legs I’m afraid!

The contrast between KL city centre and the villages just 40km either side was fairly striking, as after just a few hours of cycling we were back amongst the tiny roadside cafes, full of men chatting and drinking tea. During the 5 day cycle from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore we tried to make the most of the things we’ve taken for granted recently that won’t be possible when we’re back in a more expensive part of the world – including lunchtime cafe stops, takeaway bags of iced coffee, and daily showers in cheap guesthouses.

Unfortunately as we approached the final land border of our journey (Malaysia to Singapore), a dodgy policeman spotted us cycling up the car lane rather than the motorcycle lane, took us to one side and tried to make us pay a fine/bribe. This was the first time any policeman had been anything other than friendly to us, and we weren’t about to start handing out cash now. In any case, we’d spent the last of our Malaysian money that morning and he eventually gave up.

It took about an hour to go all the way across Singapore to the very tip of the Eurasian landmass that we’ve been cycling across since rolling off the ferry last September. It felt great to be there – Singapore had been our target for so long that it had almost become a mythical place in our mind! It seems ridiculous now that when we left we had no idea which route we would follow, other than we wanted to get to Singapore – we didn’t even know which countries we’d cycle through after leaving Europe!

However we did know that we wanted to lay down continuous tyre tracks all the way from the ferry port in France to Singapore, and that meant that we forced ourselves not to take the easy option on the occasions when it got really tough. In particular, I can remember freezing hands and feet in Turkey, stupidly long days to get across Turkmenistan, and ridiculous winds in the Turpan basin in China. Each time, hitching a lift would’ve meant we could’ve been in a warm bed by the end of the day, and I doubt anyone back home would’ve cared. It certainly wouldn’t have lessened our travelling experience in any way. But we choose to commit to pedalling every kilometre to give ourselves a different kind of test – a mental, logistical and physical test. At the moment it feels more surreal than satisfying, almost as if someone else cycled all those kilometres. But weirdly, I’m already beginning to treasure the memories of the bleakest moments more than most others.

Back to Singapore, and we spent a great few days staying with Damian and Lauren, admiring the spectacular view from their balcony, eating roast dinners and learning how to play squash in the court in their apartment complex. We also borrowed their iMac to knock up our sixth video. Most people we meet assume we’ve become mega-fit athletes over the last year, but those few games of squash confirmed that our muscles are definitely only fit for one thing! We could barely walk the next day…

Our final task in Singapore was to carefully pack our bikes into cardboard boxes, load them onto a plane bound for Australia, and cross our fingers.

It felt odd to be taking a flight. Inevitably any long distance cycle journey will eventually be broken up by an ocean, but it still felt weird waking up in Asia, as we have done for the last 11 months or so, before being transported 2,500 miles south. The weather, culture, continent, language all changed in an instant as we stepped off the plane into a surprisingly cold Australia – such changes usually take place gradually over months when travelling at bike speed.

Temperatures (day or night) in SE Asia rarely drop below the mid-twenties, so the 15 degree evening that greeted us as we stepped off the plane in Perth was a pleasant shock to the system. Neither of us have shoes or jumpers at the moment as they’d have been a waste of weight in recent climates, so we shivered over to collect our bike boxes, which thankfully looked intact.

We’d timed our arrival well as my old housemate from London (having since emigrated to Perth) was due to marry his fiancé  just a few days later. It was great to see Andrew and Dilini again, and they kindly let two smelly cyclists stay in their house for the week despite having friends and family fly in from all over the globe for their big day. We wallowed around in their hot tub and picked up some crucial supplies from the city centre shops, in between about 4 BBQs fired up by Bruce, Andrew’s dad.

We had a great time at the wedding (wearing a borrowed suit/shirt/shoes – cheers Brock!) and partied hard until the early hours.

Now once again it’s time to leave, and this time it’s back to the grindstone. No more hot tubs and fancy apartments for us for a long time! This morning we start the next leg of our trip, 5,000km from Perth to Sydney. The next major city, Adelaide, is 2,800km away and we hope to be there for Christmas. I’ve spent a few hours scribbling distances and details of the small towns and roadhouses that we’ll be relying on for food and water for the next few weeks.

Although we’ve been softened up with all the recent luxuries, I’m actually excited about getting back to it. SE Asia was a great place to travel by bicycle – culturally interesting, warm weather, cheap shops and guest houses everywhere – but now it’s time to get back into adventure mode. Camping is the only option from now on, and we’ll have to carry lots of food & water at times as we cycle through a few thousand kilometres of bush. I can’t imagine we’ll find much internet as we go, but via our new Aussie sim card we can text mini-updates to Twitter if anyone’s interested (they’ll also appear in the side panel on our website).

England to Singapore stats:

Distance cycled: 19,947km
Countries visited: 21
Days on the road: 425
Days cycled: 250
Highest point: 3,150 metres (Gansu, China)
Lowest point:
-155 metres (Turpan, China)
Hottest temperature:
38c, midday in Malaysia
Coldest temperature:
-25c, night time in East Turkey mountains
Punctures: 20+ (Just two for Bex, the rest for the fatty…)
Number of tyres used:
we’re both on our 3rd pair
Number of kilos lost between us: zero
Total raised so far for charity: £4,435