Leaving this time was different. After our first 20-month cycle trip from Germany to New Zealand we had spent 15 months in the South of Germany with my family, me working as a communications freelancer and Johan building up his own vintage bike sale. We both knew that it was too soon for us to settle down, so we were preparing for our second big journey. Some family events prevented us from leaving earlier and sometime in April this year we decided to start cycling again as of August into the unknown and without a fixed return date. We chose the old silk route from East to West, beginning in Kyrgyzstan as we had left out Central Asia during our last trip as some of the regions we wanted to cycle aren’t accessible at winter time.
The route was quickly set, new and old sponsors aboard – Rohloff and Idworx – but getting the gear ready was a different task. We considered ourselves seasoned touring cyclists, but choosing the right gear for both hot summer and cold winter temperatures became a challenge. We weren’t prepared to buy all things new, but also knew we had to pack light as we would attempt to ride the second highest highway on this planet – the Pamir Highway. I as always was more concerned about our health and taking good food with us, Johan on the contrary being very weight conscious and having the final word on what could go and what had to stay – even the number of tampons I intended to take was worth a discussion. We sold our old bikes and bought new ones knowing we would most of the time ride on unpaved and unmaintained roads. We are very grateful that Idworx and Rohloff made this possible for us! On the evening of August 1 all panniers, bags and boxes were packed and sealed and ready for take off.
Different was the fact, that we had much more time to pack up our stuff and clear our apartment, as we only had to fill boxes, dismantle our furniture and carry everything one floor up as we thankfully are able store everything at my brother’s house. Not that there weren’t any hickups or we didn’t get stressed in the end – some last job assignments had to be finished, tax and insurance things settled and farewells arranged with friends and family from near and far.
And finally – after a last breakfast with my parents and my brother’s family, some tears shed and some sad goodbyes we took off in the morning of August 2 to embark onto our new adventure and to become cycling nomads once again.