You could say that I am joining on this great cycling adventure out of opportunism: the timing was just about right for me.
I have worked well over 4 years as an attorney for a large international law firm in Amsterdam after completing my law studies in Leiden (The Netherlands ) and London . (Yes, I am the only one on the team without a technical background.) As I am not 100% certain that the legal profession should be my future, I was looking for a shift of perspective. A different job wouldn't do for this purpose; the time was right for a completely different sort of challenge.
After hearing from my friend and cycling mate Edwin that the trip of a lifetime was actually going to happen for him in 2004, I had few other things on my mind but to join. (Luckily the others hadn't managed to reach much more palpable results than a firm intention to do this thing, so there was still plenty of work I could contribute to make it happen.)
In my experience, cycling is done best on a bike that weighs about 8 or 9 kilo. ( For example on something like this.) At least, this is how I prefer to spend a considerable portion of my time. Riding a ridiculous distance of over 11,000 kilometres of bad roads on an already sluggish MTB with approximately 20 kilos of deadweight strapped to it, is of course something completely different. ...
Nevertheless, despite its enormous distance this trip is a true cyclist's wet dream. As a mountain enthusiastic, I consider large sections of our route in Turkey and Iran , and especially through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan , as my reward. Many high mountain passes (some higher than 4,500 metres altitude) will have to be crossed there and this means loads of virtually endless climbing. (Yummy) And after we cross the Kyrgyz-Chinese border, the lure of the practically never-ending, remote plateau of Tibet - with its little- travelled roads and many exquisite passes - will be a temptation hard to resist. But there will also be wonderful opportunities for the "inglorious musclemen" (my inadequate attempt to translate the eloquent Dutch phrase roemloze krachtpatsers ) in our group. They will have to keep the rest of the riders out of the unavoidable headwinds that sweep the deserts we will cross. I will be happy to take a long and good look at Eddie's rear wheel during these bits.
But of course the cycling is only one - albeit perhaps a mind-numbingly profuse and at times painful - aspect of this journey. Scenic beauty, the wealth of people and cultures to be met and discovered, the challenges posed by both the social dynamic in the group and climatic conditions, and finally the serious demand of this trip on our stamina and perseverance are equally motivating."