The plan was to leave on the 29th of August, a couple of months would have seen me cycling through the UK, France, Spain, to do the planned stops to visit friends along the way and get to north Africa by November avoiding the peril of camping in the rain or crossing the Pyrenees in the snow.
All best plans crush and burn and, due to family health commitments, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to leave now so it’s time to review options.
The most logical one is to wait for spring, but that comes with its own problems. If I leave the UK when the weather is good I’ll end up getting to north Africa in the middle of summer. do I really want to ride through Marocco and Mauritania in the baking sun? At the same time delaying the whole thing by a year seems a bit of a waste of time, so what about changing route? The problem with that is that I’d rather not do much fly-over, I’m not religious about doing it all on the bike but I neither fancy crossing a whole lot of land 35,000 feet up in the air to get me to a good winter/spring starting place.
The second option is to embrace the adventure, start whenever I can and equip appropriately. Sooner or later i will have to get to grip with winter camping so I might as well get used to it. This is an interesting idea as it will give me good skills for when, in the third leg I will have to go through eastern Europe the Caspin region and the “*stans”. There will be no starting time for that leg that will have me making it from Europe to Pakistan with summer weather all the way.
The final option is to wait the whole year and do something radical to employ the, if there will be any, non-ideal-cycling time. This is where the idea of learning to sail could come into the mix. At some point in the past 12 months i dusted off something that was on a wish list many years ago and that never came to anything, learning to sail. I did not do anything about it as my focus was on the cycle and I thought it could be picked up at some point later after some of the cycling had been done. However, if I have some time in the coming winter that has no other use then what I could do is to go to a nice sunny spot with a marina and do all the training necessary to be able to take a boat out into the open sea. How about that?