We are Steven and Katie Prescott…
… and we have always loved cycling
Actually, that’s not strictly true. I (Katie) have long been an armchair cyclist, avidly watching le Tour, and being able to hold my own in conversations about peletons, echelons and bonking, but reluctant to venture out into the melee that is the A3 towards central London at 7am every morning. Steven, meanwhile, has spent the last 8 years perfecting the art of weaving in and out of the multitude of cars that have no awareness of cyclists, knowing when to “go for gold” at the traffic lights which change quickly and flying down hills towards pedestrians that have stepped out into the road without looking, screaming “get off the f*&%ing road” with an insane look on his face (his reasoning being the more you scare them, the less likely they are to do it again).
So you might say, “why cycle to New Zealand?”
There have been a couple of major inspirations for us.
Firstly, a guy called Alastair Humphreys who cycled around the whole world and wrote a few books about it. The first, Moods of Future Joys, is definitely worth a read if you like adventure travel or you want to find out what makes us tick.
Second, in 2010 a couple from my work set out on a bike ride to New Zealand. We followed their adventures, always eagerly awaiting the next update, and realised that they weren’t too dissimilar to us. This was when we really thought we could actually do this.
On our previous adventures, we have always found the slower forms of travel more rewarding. Whether it be travelling by truck through West Africa, buses in Northern India and Nepal or trains through Europe; experiencing the changes in culture, ethnicity, landscape and climate which are sometimes imperceptible (or sometimes astonishingly abrupt) has been something that I’ve found totally fascinating. The subtleties of these changes are missed entirely when jetting into somewhere far away by plane, which is why first arriving somewhere like New Delhi or Nairobi airports direct from the UK can be such an assault on all of the senses.
Travelling by bicycle is about the slowest form of travel we could take other than walking (that really would take too long), and we fully expect to be totally immersed in each of the countries that we pedal through. We know that, at times, we will long for a proper cup of English tea curled up in front of the TV with the latest box set while it pours outside, or, a pint of London Lager in a shady beer garden on a proper hot London summer’s day catching up with good mates. But we will do these things again. We probably won’t have the inclination or the opportunity to cycle 25,000km across the world again which is why we are going to pedal off into the sunset with all the enthusiasm of Mark Cavendish rounding the corner for the final sprint to the finish line (oh wait…perhaps not quite that enthusiastic). This is going to be a huge challenge for both of us, individually and together, and probably more mentally than physically. We don’t know if we can do it but we’ll give it a go.
If you want to hear more from us please follow us on twitter and like us on facebook. We promise/will attempt to provide entertaining stories and photos to remind you why it was probably more sensible to stay at home/fly instead. We will need a bit of encouragement at times so please comment on our blog entries and send us emails so we don’t feel too left out from normal life.