Bicyclist Ryan Sclar is more than halfway to accomplishing his long distance goal of biking across the entire landmass of Eurasia. His last check in was yesterday from the country of Kyrgyzstan. Sclar hopes to reach the Pacific coast in Shaghai by September, 2014, at which point I predict he'll take a very long nap.
My first feature on Ryan Sclar was shortly after he first embarked from the Atlantic coast of Portugal on January 1st, 2014. Having made it thus far, I requested an update.
I've been riding my bicycle for almost five months now. Every day I wake up, eat, pack the gear, ride. Every night I stop riding, unpack the gear, and sleep. Of course there are the occasional rest stops, but the vast majority of my days are spent sitting on that $140 bike from Craigslist, inching ever so slightly closer to my dream of crossing Eurasia by bicycle. Its been a fairly simple task, but that most definitely is not meant to imply its been an easy one. Quite contrary indeed.
The intense traffic of the the cities, the equally intense isolation of the middle of nowhere, the neverending headwinds, the totally ending roads, frost bite in the mountains, and heat exhaustion in the desert have made this trip by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. It does seem to be some rule of nature though that the harder the task, the more enriching it is. I am out here all alone - no support vehicle, no travel companions. This has forced me to leave my comfort zone in ways I never thought possible, and, as a result, I've met some of the most interesting and genuine people who walk this earth. I would definitely be lying if I told you every single day out here was fun, but it is always an adventure, and that's precisely why I decided to take this trip in the first place.
I am currently a bit more than halfway between my starting point at the western edge of Europe, and my target destination at the coast in Shanghai. I'm honestly not sure exactly where halfway was. People ask me all the time how far I've gone and how far I still have left. I don't really know. I don't really want to know. When I start to think about the scale of the entire trip, I get discouraged. Best to take it bit by bit. All I need to do is just figure out a way to keep pedaling, and everything else will work out fine. - Ryan Sclar
I asked Ryan to describe the most fulfilling moment of his journey thus far.
[I'd] Probably have to say [the] most fulfilling memory was the first day when I was finally at Cabo da Roca ready to start the trip, because it took several years of planning to get to that point. I spent two years finding a doable route, a year saving money, lots of time getting visas, vaccinations, gear, and had to wait for the seasons to line up, so I felt like 50% of the trip was just showing up.
Runner up would be when I saw my first flowers in bloom the day I crossed into Turkey because it was a sign that spring was starting. I had officially survived the winter in Europe. [Then], crossing over the mountains in Georgia and seeing views which for the only time in my life actually took away my breath. -Ryan Sclar
To conclude our conversation, I asked Ryan what he would suggest to anyone considering travel via long distance bike rides. He recommended that anyone interested should visit his website, Bike Across America, which provides information about long distance bicycling.
To anyone considering a long distance bike trip I'd say, its not always going to be fun and easy but it will be a highlight of your life, so definitely go do it. -Ryan Sclar
Follow the remainer of Ryan Sclar's journey across Eurasia by visiting his blog. Happy travels!
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