Across Continents


I’m hugely indebited to lots of people for all their help and advice.  It’s very important to me that, at the very least, I give proper recognition for their efforts – and this is my attempt to do so.  For simplicity, entries are mostly chronological.

So, a big thank you to…..

Mum and Dad for their love and support.  My brother Steve, his wife Lou and their daughters Imogen and Annalise.

Kristina Fitzpatrick and Laura Watson at The Outward Bound Trust.  Shane Winser at the Royal Geographical Society for lots of advice and guidance.  Pam Goodall for all her advice and encouragement.

Jon and Helen for their support and encouragement, and insistence on feeding me every time I rebuild bits of my cottage, and take up residence in a tent in my garden.   Peter and Carol for lots of help with equipment design and manufacture, testing and refinement, cups of tea and lots of biscuits.  Sue – not forgetting husband Roger – for translating my ramblings into readable press releases.  Helen’s friend Sue for politely listening to said ramblings.  Neighbours Colin and Gill, Sarah and Tony, Sue and Malcolm, Mandy and Bill.

Jenny, Nikki and the village Community Group for organising such an amazing send-off – bunting, our local MP Jeremy Browne to cut the starting tape, and about 200 well-wishers – truly very touched.

Jan in the nearby village of Pitsford Hill for ‘keeping Mum’ about me doing a fine rendition of someone appearing lost, just a few miles from their home…

Jenny for understanding.

Pete Sellers for being annoyingly right that now was the time to do this.  Gordon Graham, John Bonnar, Chris New and Iain up north for being so supportive during my frequent absences for training, jabs and such like.  Chrissy for helping sort out my written words.

Claudia Myatt for the artwork. James the web designer.

Anton at 10Radio for his sterling support, gently breaking me into the art of radio interviews, and following my progress on air with monthly live chats with my good friend and neighbour Jon.

Fellow CycleWales students Colin and Steve for capturing me on camera, and Philip for giving me a few steers on my expedition cycle ‘test run’ around Eire.

Dom Hall and Nigel Hodgson for copious advice on travelling through, and living in, the tropics, desert and savannah.

Andy Blance, Thorn’s designer, for all his help refining Emma’s (my custom built expedition cycle) specification, as well, together with Dave at SJS Cycles,  lots of on-the-road advice, hints and tips.

Stewart at Rohloff in Germany for his comprehensive, helpful advice for my Speedhub.

Louise English at Lifeline Language Services – in my home county of Lancashire – for very kindly arranging translation of my letter of introduction into a whole raft of different languages.

Dr Ewan, Sisters Moira and Carole for a lot of patience, cups of tea, chocolate biscuits and (almost) every pre-departure jab possible.  James at Travel Health Consultancy for a few top-up jabs, and lots of advice on water purification and anti-malarials.  Phillippa and Alison at Bishops Lydeard for sorting out my feet! Dr Ramin Ordi and Ann at Crownhill Dental Practice, Plymouth, for some last minute root canal work, and advice on the road.

Peter Elliott at PH Designs for his carefully considered advice on some serious down clothing and sleeping bags, and for making a visit to their Lancashire workshops such an enjoyable experience!

Katie and Tarka at Primal Journey for lots of spot on advice on affordable mobile internet solutions, even when in the midst of last minute preps for their own expedition!

Career consultant Peter in Plymouth for helping spread the word, and a lot of really helpful suggestions, from PR to grape-picking!

Samantha – sorry, humble apologies, Sam – at T-Mobile for going through the fine print with me of pay-as-you-go international mobile internet roaming, always a much loved subject late on a Friday evening!  Simon at Applied Satellite Technology for some serious communications kit…

Becky and Nicky at my local Lloyds TSB Bank branch for their great patience and good humour – especially on a hot, humid Friday afternoon – helping sort out all the money stuff!

Mathias and his mum Dominique Le Pennec for their kind offer – graciously accepted – of bread, fruits and pate in the small town of Pleguien.  And for catching up with me a few miles later to take a photo for the local paper… Tim and Pierrette Lee, proprieters of the delightful Camping l’Abri Cotier campsite – – in Etables-sur-Mer on the coast of Brittany, for making me feel so welcome.  And Pierrette’s mother for cooking me such a lovely meal! Fabrice at ‘Sans Souci’ (‘Without Worry’) campsite at Fresnay-sur-Sarthe for lots of helpful advice and sharing some Gaelic humour. Fabienne, proprietor of the ‘Loft Cafe’ in Mamers. Harry and Jean Dixon for feeding me so well south of Chartres. Seige, proprietor of ‘Snack des sapins’, high up near La Bresse, eastern France.

Manfred and Ute, my cycling companions into Regensburg, Germany. Claudia, fellow hosteller in Straubing, Germany.

Lancashire lass Kelly and her Australian partner Steve, perfect hosts in the Aboriginal Hostel, Budapest, Hungary.

HM Consul Belgrade, Sean Moran, and his team. Natasa for being such a generous and kind host in Belgrade. Mica in Negotin, eastern Serbia, for making me so welcome in his home town.

Fellow Englishman Myles Mellor, my cycling companion from Sofia to Harmanli, Bulgaria. Shirley and husband Martin in Harmanli, eastern Bulgaria. Chris, Ruth, Alex and Emily for the very generous use of their home in Bulgaria, and with it the opportunity to experience traditional village life. Julie and George, Aneta and Yany, Zoya and Jack, Christopher and Radka, Donka and George, and Nicky, Nanette and Michael in eastern Bulgaria for their generous help and hospitality.

Tugba, Zehra and Huseyin for their fine Turkish hospitality in Istanbul, and Alapli on the Black Sea coast. Yaren, Ali, Sena and the rest of the team in Trabzon for making my Dad and I feel so welcome, not least putting up with our terrible efforts at Turkish, and for looking after Emma.

The team at Ramplas Hostel, Pieta, Malta – Yvonne, Simone, Freida, Elaine, Keith – and fellow English hostellers – sorry, house guests – Adrian, Colin and Conor.

My generous hosts in western Republic of Georgia – Merab, Kurt, Vadja, Eto, George, Nazi, Kate, Luara, and Giorgi. And Austin in Tbilisi for pancakes, maple syrup and a really comfortable couch! And really big thanks to Knut for introducing me to so many of his friends, for which I’m deeply appreciative.

Brian and his daughter Savannah for being such welcoming, generous hosts in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Alexander for being such great company on the train from Atyrau to Kyzylorda, and his girlfriend Anna for helping out with somewhere to stay when we arrived in the middle of the night!

Esther for being such a great host in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Olima, Ilkhom and Shaizh in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for being such wonderful hosts, sharing their beautiful, cool and airy house in the suburbs – love the view of the mountains, Shaizh’s homemade apricot jam, and their unending patience with my abysmal Kazakh and terrible Russian!

Madina at the MarroneRosso cafe, Almaty, for keeping me stocked up with strong coffee and decent English Breakfast tea.

David at Stantours for his helpful advice on the practicalities of Central Asian visas.

David and Aran in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, and Olima and her family, Spencer in the internet cafe, Nurila at TEM Tour travel agency, Diana at Megdad travel agency in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and last but not least, my Mum and Dad, for all their help trying to obtain a fresh Chinese visa.

Arailym, Kamila and Yerlan for kindly treating me to dinner in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The “Nation of Convenience” team – my parents, brother Steve, his wife Lou and daughter Imogen, Laura at The Outward Bound Trust, Ken for help with the saddle, Jackie, Sally, Andrew, Mark, Jenny, Oundle bakery for the rum truffles, Holland Park Youth Hostel, and Olima and her family back in Almaty for looking after Emma and much of my kit.

Mao (“Jennifer”), her son “Andy”, Zheng (“Mr Johnson”) and everyone at J&D English Training School, Shihezi, western China for showing me around their city.

Joe, Hanna and William from IES Abroad in Beijing, for coming to my rescue at Dunhuang railway station, western China. And the cold beer a little later on the sleeper went down particularly well…

John and his team at Hotel Ibis, Xi’an, central China, for making me so welcome whilst awaiting a fresh Chinese visa.

Isabel and her team at the Novotel, Wuhan, eastern China, for looking after Emma, my trusty steed, whilst I popped down to Hong Kong for….. yes, you guessed it, another Chinese visa… that’ll be four then! And Amanda for providing me with a Chinese name – “Rock”! Please don’t ask me how to pronounce the characters though….

Fellow cyclist Steve Tallon for advice and guidance on crossing China, borne of his own experiences a few years ago.

Phil for hosting me in Hong Kong, ably supported by his great friends Iris and Fiona. Oh, and giving me lots of encouragement to ride in New Zealand…

Rowan, Yuki and Paul for making me so welcome in Cairns, Australia. And a big thank you to Ian, Judy, Kane and Jake for some great food, good, ice cold beer and Aussie Bundy rum!

Karin in Kuranda for inspiring conversation, thought provoking insights and great company. A true Internationalist. Plus Claire for the most thorough inspection of my website I could ever have imagined – had even found the photographs of my little cottage! And Gui for pointing me towards the Barron Falls.

Kent, Fon, Sharif and Maurice for hosting me in Townsville – and letting me try out a recumbent tricycle!

Peter, Jacki, Bellamy and Cactus the dog for hosting me in Mackay – and being very understanding of my ever shifting arrival date – that’s the wet season for you I suppose!

Second cousin Ken and his wife Sue for making me so welcome in Agnes Water. Promising to return in a little less than forty two years next time…

Simon, Janette and Oliver for a great couple of days in Bargara.

Mike, Mandy and Felicity for great hospitality and fine conversation in Moggill, Brisbane.

Kieran and Becs for great conversation – and a chance to handle snakes – in Moggill, Brisbane.

Niall, Lyn, Aidan and Nicholas for making me so welcome in Petrie – and a great route through the heart of Brisbane, without which I’d have got hopelessly lost.

Dean, Connie, Alicia, Cameron, Milly and Wills for such generous hospitality – taking care of Emma, my trusty steed, whilst I popped over to New Zealand, and a late night welcoming party – in West Pennant Hills, northern Sydney.

Ian, Amy, Adam, Sophie and Andrew for welcoming me into their Wellington home and giving me such a great introduction to New Zealand.

Steve and Debbie and their friends for such a great welcome in Ambarvale, and again in Jervis Bay – including the generous use of their weekend retreat.

Combined efforts of Dean, Chris and Jen for safely moving my second passport and all important US visa from Sydney for me to pick up in Melbourne.

Simon and Sue for sheltering a soggy cyclist in Melbourne, and for all their help preparing my trusty steed for on-move to Alaska. And a special mention for daughter Stacey who gave up her room so I could enjoy a proper bed. Plus Geoff and Cheryl, friends of Simon and Sue, for their hospitality. Very fitting end to my time in Australia.

Robyn at DHL Melbourne and Rindy in Anchorage for all their help getting my trusty steed from Australia to Alaska by air freight. And Kristina and the team at The Outward Bound Trust in London for the introductions.

Linda, Angie and Lewis in Anchorage, Alaska for their generous hospitality and sage advice on safe travel through bear country. And introducing me to the cuddly critters – behind the wire.

John, Ben, Dave, Cindy, Lisa, Adam and Reggie at the Bent Prop Inn Hostel – downtown and midtown – in Anchorage, Alaska for their immense hospitality and generous donation to The Outward Bound Trust.

Betsy in Palmer, Alaska, for a warm welcome and no bears.. Actually, for mothering me – sending me to bed and giving me a gentle kick when necessary – whilst under the weather with a severe dental abscess. With some help from Rocky and husband Andy. Plus Rocky’s family – Holly, Cory, Lilly and Emery.

Monte the dentist and his team – Rachel, Christy and Jennie – in Palmer, Alaska for quickly treating my dental abscess – never has a tooth extraction been such a pleasurable experience!

Fellow cyclist Mike for sharing the road from the Tok Cutoff in Alaska to Haines Junction in Canada’s Yukon Province. Great times. Mini-donuts will never be the same again…

Rick near Haines Junction, in Canada’s Yukon Province for allowing Mike and I to dry out and recover in his log cabin. Together with some inspired advice on the route ahead. Plus Dale, a local gold prospector for coming to my aid and accepting my assurances I’d not vomit in his pick-up.

Karen, Travis and their boys Aidan, Seth and Ben for hosting me in Terrace, British Columbia. Loved the “Two years on-the-road” celebratory cake – chocolate to boot!

Herbie and Shery at Kitwanga RV park, British Columbia for adding a silver lining to the end of a very wet day – trailer in lieu of tent hugely appreciated!

Simon, Clint and Gladys for a chance to chat on camera for Tourism British Columbia, close to the town of Smithers.

Dave and Gabrielle for sorting out a massively irritating pedal problem at COB Bike Shop in Smithers, British Columbia – absolute stars – well worth a visit if you’re riding through –

Theo and Caroline in Prince George, British Columbia, for some inspiring ideas about the route south from Seattle, plus great pizza and pie.

Damien and Gill in Vancouver for making a nocturnal – and very damp – rider so welcome, and for sharing their own experiences of riding through China, Kazakhstan and Europe.

Michelle and Patti for the most charming – and well appointed – garden shed I’ve ever spent a night or two in… And, of course, of making me so welcome, starting with a motorcycle escort to their home… Another first…

Giles, Sara and Sophie for welcoming me into their home in West Seattle, and lots of reminiscing about school days back in Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Peggy in Arcata, on California’s north coast, for making me so welcome – finest pasta and chicken I’ve had in a while… And Bob the house rabbit – loves cables, especially those connected to my netbook…

“Hans” – aka Neil – and Vicky – friends from the road and great company in San Francisco

Carl and Karen for great conversation, pizza and proper beer in Long Beach, California. And Diane and Dennis for hosting me in Corona Del Mar, California

Fellow long-haul cyclist Kathrin in San Diego, California, for such great company and conversation

John in Brawley, California, for an interesting overnight stop

Nancy for being such a wonderful host in Palo Verde, California – her advice on crossing the desert rivalled only by her cooking, coffee and conversation

Keith and Jerry at the Hostelling International hostel in Phoenix, Arizona, for letting yours truly and his trusty steed stay in an especially quirky, colourful trailer in the backyard

Charles and Mari for letting me stay in their rather, well, superior home in err.. Superior, Arizona

Mons, Serena, Joyce, Gene-Robert, Bryce and Kyle for showing me fine Mormon hospitality in Safford, Arizona

Patty and Roy in El Paso for a great night’s stop – including dinner with a local cycle club

John, Deborah, Amanda, Lileh, Alexandra and Johanna, plus two dogs and six cats, for a wonderful night at the Observatory – loved the pasta, and the tour of the telescope

Local volunteers Susan, Kelly, Jen and Alan, and the staff, for letting me help out with preparations for Christmas Dinner at the Hostelling International hostel in Austin, Texas

Carol near Carmine for a superb meal and great night’s rest in her bunkhouse

Perry and Lep near Jackson, Louisiana, for a wonderful stop in their self-built home – like something out of Grand Designs!

Ray and Donna for a great night’s stop in their wonderfully restored Pensacola home – great conversation, fine food, cold beer and an especially comfortable bed

Gene and son Josh for a warm, dry night in Tallahassee

Al in High Springs for a great evening’s conversation and a fortifying breakfast for my last day on the road in North America

Nancy and Ron for welcoming a soggy cyclist into their home in Crescent Beach, on Florida’s Atlantic coast – wonderful hospitality at the end of the fourth continent!

Mary, Bill and David at Berrow House independent hostel, at the southern end of the Malvern Hills, for warming mugs of tea and an especially cosy night out of the bitter cold

Long-standing friend and supporter Pete for accompanying me on the road towards Bristol, and a great evening of conversation catching up…

Mike from Norfolk for his fine ornithological advice and sharp wit

Emma Britton at BBC Somerset for her enduring support and great chats on air. A much cherished part of this project!

Sue and the Fitzhead Community Group, together with Anton, Jon and Helen, Roger and others for giving yours truly and his trusty two-wheeled steed such a warm welcome home. Emotional stuff. And for arranging some fantastic media coverage.

Not forgetting my old friends Brent and Stu for their occasional help along the road…!

Catherine at Lonely Planet UK for bailing me out after my dismal failure to download their China guide, despite pretty clear instructions…

Kath at Lyon Equipment Ltd for kindly providing me with some spares for my Ortleib panniers

Becky and Lisa at the WD-40 Company for kindly providing me with cans of ‘3-in-One’ (©WD-40 Company Ltd) – there’ll be postcards….

Daniela and Azhda at Cafe Licious in Wellington, Somerset for feeding me my staple bacon and toast during training.

Sue and Tim for agreeing to buy my lovely little car…

Those nice folks at the Rock Inn, Waterrow, for one of my last decent meals before I set off…

Tim at Novel T’s of Minehead for the ‘Across Continents’ t-shirts.

And all the craftsmen who’ve helped renovate my old English cottage – Martin the plumber, Andy the carpenter and tiler, Scott and Adam the painters, Ross the gardener and outdoor handyman, Adam and Lou for the kitchen, Ben and the folks at Brendon Hill Stoves for the much loved woodstove, and Brett and Ian for demolishing walls…. And Nick and Liz at Courtyard Antiques for helping furnish my home.

Finally, all those people I’ve met along the way, sometimes just fleetingly, who’ve helped in so many ways.

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