Not without reason is that the scout motto, and that’s exactly what Andy is filling his days with at the moment – cycling several thousand miles is a bit more of an undertaking than cycling to the shops, and there’s quite a bit of planning to be done. So while Andy prepares for his pan-continental odyssey, we’ll be keeping you up to speed on how he’s getting on.
Having worked nights all last week, a lie-in on a Saturday and some time with his Mum and sister in Derby were most welcome, as was the poncho from his Mum, to protect him from the elements, and a couple of glasses of red to protect him from the reality of what he’s let himself in for.
One of the most fundamental things to get right is the weight of the bike and the equipment on it. Comfort and safety are important for Andy’s physical and mental wellbeing while he’s on the road, so there has to be enough comfort at night for him to get a good rest, but without it making the following day’s cycling too much because of carrying too much weight. Starting with the essentials, Andy’s already packed his sleeping bag, headlamp and radio, which share a battery to save on weight. His travelling companions will be a diary and a sudoku book.
Food on the road will be based around a staple of tinned sardines, as they’re low-cost and available throughout Africa, mixed in with what he can eat off the land, and the traveller’s friend, escaped produce bounced from the backs of lorries – While Andy’s legs are cursing the bumpy roads his stomach will likely be rumbling its approval.
When he gets to populated areas he’ll fill up at affordable eateries, more often than not, tucking into a maize-based meal known by variously as pap, or simply maize meal, with either meat gravy or tomato and onion. The rest of the time he’ll be relying on human kindness – which is probably as good a time as any to point out the handy donate button we’ve added, over on the left. Any money donated there goes straight to Andy to fund him while he’s on the road.
Vaccines and malaria treatment sorted all sorted, Andy has also now booked his Eurostar crossing and the Plane over to Africa – both of which give him an added incentive to stay on schedule and avoid having to swim any great distance while towing the bike.
Finally a couple of shout-outs:
Firstly, Congratulations to Laura Watson who has just become a British World Champion for cycling, and also hello to Lynette at Spionkop Lodge in South Africa, where Andy will be finishing his epic ride. Lynette will no doubt be following the blog with interest so she knows roughly when to put the kettle on for Andy’s arrival.