World Trips

World Cycle Trip

Mark & Sam Swain World Cycle Trip

About me
Author of ‘Long Road, Hard Lessons’ a travel book about a 10,000 mile cycle trip with my son from Ireland to Japan over 10 months. Check his author blog:
Where I’m planning to visit
Ladakh, Lhasa, Vladivostok, Canada, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore
My recommendations
Munich, Dingle, Waterford, Timisoara, Istanbul, Izmir, Goa, Kolkata, Vientiane, Wuhan, Pusan, Tokyo, Dingle, Helsinki, Basel, Morecambe, Ypres, Bristol, Amsterdam, Prague, Reykjavik
The Trip

In July 2008 my son Sam (18) and I (50) set off to cycle from Dingle in Ireland to Tokyo in Japan. The idea for the trip was Sam’s when he was only 10 years old. We went on a 40 mile ride to Folkestone and back from Canterbury at Christmas. Afterwards Sam asked me if I would do a longer cycle trip with him if he could have a gap year after school. I said ok but asked where he had in mind to cycle to.
“Japan” he said calmly.
“Do you know how far that is, it is over 10.000 miles” I said.
“Ok….” he said “But we’d have a year!”
I was so impressed with his attitude that I resolved myself to do it. 8 years later we are getting ready to set off.

The Route
This may change along the way dependent upon visas etc. We started as far west as you can go in Europe (Coomiloule at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula in West Kerry (Ireland) and will be ending in Tokyo, Japan around the end of May 2009.

On the way we plan to cycle through:

Wales, England, France, Germany, down the Danube through Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran (or Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenestan, Uzbekestan, maybe Afghanistan), Pakistan, India (for Christmas), Bangladesh, Thailand (unfortunately flying over inaccessible Burma or taking a cargo boat), Cambodia, Laos and China.

Most of it will be on small roads off the tourist trail where we are more likely to experience the real spirit of the people and the country.

Most of the time we will be camping but we will stay in hotels to clean up every so often.

Our start in Ireland was superb with great press coverage from national newspapers and main news coverage on national TV stations. This meant that people called out to us and tooted their car horns all through Ireland.

The Side Issues
Cycling accross Europe and Asia will be a great travel experience for both Sam and I, perhaps in different ways. It will be a trip of discovery about bits of the world that are hard to access by normal transport. It might also be as much about spending time together as father and son. That may prove more of a challenge for both of us.

Sam and I share a rather wicked sense of humour and what Lorna (my wife) refers to as a ‘faulty gene’ that causes us to ignore pain when travelling and just keep going until we reach the horizon.
In order to better understand the different generational perspectives, we are keeping separate diaries. The entries will cover what we experience each day.  

Sam often resents my greater life experience and is annoyed by what he often sees as entrenched attitudes. I struggle with not being irritated by Sam’s teenage casual approach and warped logic. Does that sound familiar?
The resulting diaries will be shared for reflection at the end. So far we are managing to tolerate and even support eachother pretty well but ‘watch this space’.  

We will be raising money for:

Rising Sun Domestic Violence Project Ltd
Working in Partnership with Canterbury Womens Refuge

Mark & Sam Swain World Cycle Trip
Mark & Sam Swain World Cycle Trip
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