Tell me a bit about your bicycle tour. How long have you been on the road and where have you traveled to?
We left Empfingen, Germany exactly one year ago on September 5, 2012. We are still on the road and are planning to be back home in the spring of 2014.
We cycled through Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. In Istanbul we took a flight to Delhi, India as we didn’t want to cycle in the winter. We stayed in Delhi for 3 months and cycled mainly through Rajastan. In early February we flew to Bangkok, Thailand and from there we cycled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and right now we are in Malaysia. Our plan is to cycle to Singapore, then back to Malaysia, Indonesia and on 10 November we will fly to Melbourne, Australia. There we will cycle Tasmania and take another flight to New Zealand where we will stay 3 months before we return home.
What was your biggest fear when planning or preparing for your trip by bike? And how exactly did you overcome that fear?
Earlier it was the idea of not getting a job anymore when back home, but I overcame this fear easily as we both actually don’t want to go back to our previous corporate jobs but instead found our own business.
My biggest fear still is that one of us or both will have an accident, run over by a car or something like that. A fear I’ve never overcome, I just try all the time not to think about it. This fear always comes back when we are cycling traffic-heavy roads and I am always very grateful in the evening when we arrive at our destination safely.
What is the thing you like most about bicycle touring?
Being so close to the nature and people. Cycling is the best way to meet locals, to get to understand their culture. We are slow enough to take in all of our surroundings and fast enough to make some progress during the day. We can stop wherever we want and if we get invited by locals we are able to accept and change our plans.
We are also very happy with our touring bikes. We have hardly any problems and can cycle for hours without getting any problems.
And of course the combination of sporting and sightseeing. We are both very sportive and just like the daily exercise combined with constantly seeing and experiencing new things.
What has been the thing you liked least about your bicycle touring experiences thus far?
That’s an easy one. We really didn’t like cycling in India as we had no privacy at all. As soon as we stopped we wered surrounded by hundreds and hundreds pf people touching everything, including us. This continued everywhere. And while this is fun in the first week it becomes very hard in time.
I don’t think we’ll ever go back to India, at least not for cycling.
Name three things you learned from your bicycle tour:
Cycling in the rain isn’t fun, nowhere.
You can get used to everything, also the fact that you don’t have to be online every day.
There is so much more on life than earning a lot of money, checking emails every minute of the day, shopping, etc. We’ve learned to live on our journey and enjoy the basic living, being with locals and sharing whatever we have.
Do you think you’ll conduct more bicycle tours in the future? If so, where do you want to go? And why do you want to go there?
Yes, for sure. We are already thinking about our next tour and would like to cycle the pan-Americas. China and Mongolia and Central Asia are countries we would like to see as well.
We want to go there because of the fascinating landscapes and the people you can meet there.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is planning their first bicycle touring adventure?
Don’t over-plan your route, stay flexible, and don’t get stressed if you are unable to reach a city or destination as planned. There is always something good about these detours and you will meet great people along the way.
Learn more about Baerbel Bussenius and Johan de Vries on their website at http://myfirstblogeverforcyclists.wordpress.com/