Last month, instructor Charlie and his friend Jim set off on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world on two wheels. They both left their full-time jobs and spent months planning the trip, before finally they packed up their panniers and rode away.
You may remember Charlie from the time he decided to ride all 42 classes on the timetable in one week in Richmond as an extra sweaty version. He clearly loves a challenge!
We caught up with them to see how the epic trip has begun…
You can follow the guys on Strava and Instagram as they make their way across the globe.
By Charlie Ottewill
Two years ago, when we sat in a pub and discussed cycling around the world, I never thought we’d be humouring the idea again, let alone embarking on the enormous challenge.
Now we are two weeks into our six-month cycling expedition and already well across Europe.
After two years of talking, some extensive training - including marathons and 42 spin classes in a week - we departed London for Dunkirk on 21 May. It’s a pretty daunting route ahead. We’re planning to travel through Europe and Asia, all the way down to south-east Asia before flying to America.
From there we’re going to attempt to cycle down the US west coast the across to finish in Miami.
We have made excellent progress in the first two weeks, covering more than 1,300km, seven countries and riding for more than 60 hours - all with weighty panniers on the bikes to carry all our stuff.
We’ve both noticed a huge improvement in our fitness in the first fortnight – long rides every day will do that.
Northern Europe started off fairly flat until we crossed up and over the Alps. That was a real test and we had some pretty serious climbs. The months of training at Digme definitely came into its own there! Then we swept down into Italy, where I am now to write this (on Tues 5 June).
The highlight so far has undoubtedly been the Passo San Gorttardo in the Swiss Alps which was 7,000ft of climbing in 34 degree heat. We had to dig deep a few times on that section!
We’ve had a couple of days of rest which has been great and given us a chance to explore as well as give our legs a well-earned rest. Plenty of coffee, pumping beats – Jim has a speaker strapped to the back of his bike! – and a lot of incredible scenery have made the long rides much easier.
We’ll check back in in a couple of weeks, by which time we should be deep into Europe with plenty of miles and stories to tell behind us.