Cycling Around the World


Oh no, not another bicycle touring adventure by the usual graduate from a middle class background!

No, it isn’t. In fact it undertaken by someone you would least expect to attempt to cycle the world.

A 54 year old man from a working class background, who hardly ever rode a bike, with not a day’s bicycle touring experience, suffering permanent spine and nerve damage as a result of being run over by an articulated truck, on medication for PTSD and Situational Anxiety, asthma, arthritis and hypothyroidism, set’s out in an unfeasible attempt to cycle the world.

Setbacks are most definitely on the cards. 

Days or weeks of hardship and problems are only to be expected, and can a person with so many medical and physical, with no experience whatsoever, load up a bicycle for the very first time and just pedal away on a fully self-supported self-funded bicycle tour around the world?

Oh yes

Distance to date: 8584 km's - 5365 miles 
Current Location:  Vietnam
Next Location: Vietnam
Countries Cycled:
1 -UK
2 - France
3 - Spain
4 - Monaco
5 - Italy
6 - Greece
7 - Turkey
8 - India
9 - Thailand
10 - Lao
11 - Cambodia
12 - Vietnam

Where next you ask: I will be back in Vietnam soon to continue down to the coast, and I'm so looking forward  to the coastline of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. 

Great to return to the UK for a few weeks or so sort a lot of things out, driving license, bills, car, pension, and all sorts of things. The best bit though is catching up with those I love, I've missed them.

If I make it to Malaysia and Singapore, I may just continue on the Australia, but we shall see.


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Hi and welcome

To attempt to cycle around the world or as far as I can or want to is a huge undertaking at any age, let alone this age, and if at any time I decide I am more than satisfied with my achievement or I stop enjoying it, I will simply stop and return home. For now though, I'm loving this and don't see it ending soon.

Woah! This guy is huge!

My starting weight was the equivalent combined weight of 6 pro cyclists, including their bikes and a large grapefruit. I'm the heaviest guy to ever attempt to cycle around the world, at a chunky 159 kg at the start and 138 kg at this time (1 May 2018) which is a loss of 21 kg.  My chunky build was crafted through a lifetime in the building industry, heavy weight training, and the odd bacon butty :)

I get asked how my weight affects my cycling, and I try explain that it's like having 2 decent sized people on a tandem with all their bags, but only one person pedalling. That might give you a better idea :) 

My build does of course have its pros and cons: Me and Hills. While cycling through the centre of Spain shortly after leaving Madrid, I was followed by 2 guys in car. I was looking for an ATM and I cycled down a small street and they were behind me but turned off, then appeared again and followed me for some time. I stopped pedalling and they stopped a hundred metres behind, watching me. 

I put the bike on stands and made it very clear they would be messing with the wrong guy :). They got the message.

Saddle sores have been another problem as well as abrasions on my underneath. I have left hotel rooms looking like something has been slaughtered. Blood on the floor and sheets. Can't really be helped being so heavy. 

Some people are so light that they hardly touch the saddle, but not me. I bought a Brooks B17 that shapes to your butt over a long period of time, it took 2 days :)

Not a cyclist, although after over 8000 km's and 12 countries, that's changed a bit

I've never cycle toured in my life and I'm not a regular cyclist, this was my first attempt and with no practice, and as I don't often do things by half I thought I would attempt to take on the world :)

When I told my daughters about my plans and how I was finally going to set out on this tour, they were not surprised, but did suggest I at least do a couple of days training first. 

Nope, I wanted to experience this as a first-timer so I just loaded up my new bike for the first time with all my gear, and off I cycled. 

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Thank You Everyone

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal!” – Paulo Coelho


Read on, but don't for a minute think I'm looking for sympathy, I would be the cheekiest guy on the planet because I have lived an amazing life. I might have had it much tougher than most at times, especially as a child, but I have travelled all over the world, met wonderful people, experienced things you wouldn't believe, and I'm still doing it. 

A few years ago I was carrying out a lane closure on the M6 motorway in Birmingham and as I stood on the hard-shoulder, I suddenly heard something behind me going over the rumble strip (the bumpy line that separates lane one from the hard-shoulder). 

I turned, just in time to see the front of an articulated lorry strike me. The lorry had left lane one and crossed onto the hard-shoulder where I was stood. The driver of the lorry said he heard and felt the thud but thought it was just a traffic cone, he did accepted he was in the wrong of course.

I suffered permanent spine damage, right elbow, shoulder, neck, and nerve damage to the whole of my right side. I will never be cured of the damage, but I'm extremely lucky to have survived, not so lucky to be hit :), and I make the most of every day now. 

Having worked on the motorways for some time I am aware that it is a rare thing for someone to survive such an impact, I'm extremely lucky. The specialists put my survival down to my strong chunky build at the time. They believe that if I had been of a different frame and build, I may likely have not survived the impact.

Situational anxiety is still with me, and I hope this cycle will help cure me of that, as it involves my being near large trucks as a pedestrian. Being near traffic, especially big vehicles makes me understandably nervous given what I have been through, and when I feel the vibrations, hear noise or feel the wind of a passing lorry, my heart nearly beats out of my chest. 

Taking on this tour, I knew I would be right next to lorries day after day on some of the worlds worst roads, but if ever I am going to get over this fear, I feel that this would be the way to do it. From time to time, I get a really close call and I have to get off the road and gather myself before continuing on. 

But I'm a fighter, as you are likely seeing, and I have always done everything for myself and my own way, and so fight on I did and I'm still cracking an ear to ear smile :) 

So why attempt this world cycle?

There are few types of adventures that will get you around the world under mostly your own steam,  and I have always imagined that cycling would be the perfect pace to really see the world and not just see it flash past. Walking would take a lifetime and bore me to death, and driving or flying would mean missing out on so much. 

I find I'm comfortable while cycling, the seat supports my butt, the handlers support my upper body, and the pedals keep my legs turning equally, and there is very little pressure on my lower spine compared to walking or running for example, until I get off and try to straighten up after a few hours :) 

I do worry that if I break down I might be in trouble, which is why I went with a very expensive (big mistake) bike by KOGA Bikes. KOGA turned out to be my biggest mistake in years, but you can read about that in my KOGA review in the link KOGA Review

I had to go for it, and here I am giving it my best shot and not doing too bad at all :). My loved ones and friends are all behind me, and I feel very lucky. My daughters are monitoring and helping with social media. 

I'm self-supported, riding solo, I'm supporting a great small local charity - JUMP Children's Charity - and I'm fully self-funding my own cycle tour. If this injured, working class father of two daughters can do this, there's a good chance you can too, so if you're thinking you're not fit enough, not slim enough, not experienced enough, not brave enough, I say rubbish in most cases, go for it. I did and I'm loving it. 


JUMP Children's Charity

I'm fully self-funding my own adventure, so every penny you donate goes straight to JUMP Children's Charity.             On behalf of JUMP, thank you.

Please click on the JustGiving donate button below

Or Simply Text: PEEL54 with an amount up to £10 to 70070

Each donation via text message is limited to amounts between £1 and £10. If you wish to donate a higher amount, please use the link to my Just Giving page. Thank you

And remember, everything goes to JUMP not me, I'm self-funding my own bicycle tour


A little encouragement from some well known world cyclists and adventurers

We choose to do things...not because they are easy, but because they are hard...

Jane Doe - Another Company, LLC

" Fantastic stuff, Steve.....Good luck with the preparations :)" Tom Allen. Tom has completed a lot of great adventures and cycled all over the world and has a great website.. http://tomsbiketrip.com/

" Hi Steve....One can live real cheap in China and South East Asia as well as the Philippines. Central America is also cheap and one can get away with very little. " Leana Niemand. Is a World Cyclist and is still out there after nearly 10 years, 7 continents, 87 countries, and more than 150,000km's.

" Hi Stephen, what a great adventure awaiting you. Your daughters will be very proud! Are you still needing to sell your house before you begin? I'll happily share the link on my social media sites for you if you are! Al " Alastair Humphreys. Alastair has been very helpful and I am very grateful to him. I took him up on his kind offer to advertise my previous house on his own social medial sites. He has cycled completely around the world and now motivates others. Check out his website and his adventures, he has some great books and loads of great advice.

" Hi Stephen, .... I hope you make time to start some big cycling adventures. I set out for a cycle from Cairo to Cape Town in early April. All the best. Mark. " Mark Beaumont held the Guinness World Record for cycling round the world in 2008, and has achieved many other successes too. He did amazingly on his Cairo to Cape Town cycle, and has now completed world record cycle around the world in under 80 days.

"Always remember, it's your dream : ) So...I'd listen to your daughters! " Mathew Kephnes - Nomadic Matt, has cycled the world and traveled on many other types of adventures.

"Glad to have you on the team"   @Sony

Magazine, internet or news articles featuring parts of my tour

SportingHeads.com : The Ride of My Life