France to china by Bike Countdown
What better way to see the world than on a bike? Not only will our be carbon footprint be minimal, we will (hopefully) be fit and healthy, cycle machines. And what better way to get ourselves motivated than to make it a charity cycle trip? So here is our official France to China by bike countdown! Exciting times!
Maybe the altitude and snow capped mountains has sent us a bit crazy, but once Michael and I finish working as chalet hosts in the Alps, we’ve decided to embark on a cycle tour. Something different, something challenging, and something a little crazy. Even Hemingway approved of cycling, so it must be a good way to travel!
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle” – Ernest Hemingway
So, even though I haven’t owned a bike for more than 10 years. We have decided to cycle from Sainte Foy ski station in France (where we have been working for the past few months), all the way to China. The exact destination and route to China has not been decided yet.
We are going to break the trip up into 2 stages.
We decided to do this as not only have we never attempted any cycle tour before, but I also tore two knee ligament a few weeks ago, while skiing. Though cycling is good rehabilitation for the knee, I don’t want to overdo it. That being said, I am also supposed to be running an ultra marathon (100km) in the UK in July, and I’m hoping I can make a quick trip back to the UK to complete it. This will largely depend on my knee rehabilitation and the cycle trip. With the France to China by Bike Countdown ticking down, lets hope my knee heals quickly.
Stage 1: The French Alps to Istanbul, Turkey (France, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey) (Approx. 2500km+)
Stage 2: The Silk Route (Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China) (Approx. 6500km+ from Istanbul, Turkey, to Karakol, Kyrgyzstan)
From Kyrgyzstan we plan to cycle across the border into China, then most likely we will train it to Beijing, where we will fly back home to Perth, Australia. We plan to depart Sainte Foy ski station on 22nd April 2014, and if all goes to plan (which is fairly unlikely), the 10,000km cycle trip should take us around 7-8 months and we should be back in Perth late Nov/ early Dec 2014 (in time for Michael’s brother’s wedding) – another France to China by Bike Countdown!
I mentioned earlier in this post that we are going to be doing this to raise money and awareness for charities and causes that we feel strongly about.
I have picked WaterAid as my charity to sponsor. Due to the lack of access women and children in some developing countries have to sanitation, clean water, toilets and basic education about menstruating. Women and children are regularly putting themselves at high risk of disease, illness, assault and rape. On top of this, many girls end up leaving education at an earlier age due to feeling embarrassed over menstruating and having limited access to healthcare and sanitary products.
The Global Sanitation Crisis
Sanitation and healthcare is something that all people should have access to. Sadly, this is not the case. Many women are using dirty rags, leaves and even sawdust in replacement of sanitary pads. This obviously leads to short and long term infections and disease. Many women also have no safe or comfortable place to go to the toilet or properly clean themselves. This results in hiding or waiting until after dark to go to the toilet or clean, or going in public. This puts them at risk of assault and rape. Imagine putting yourself through this type of risk every time you go to the bathroom.
The issue stems not only from inaccessibility to proper sanitation, but also to the lack of education, and the need for women’s empowerment. Even in western countries, menstruating and ‘going to the toilet’ is not something often spoken about. We do, however have access to the health care, sanitation products and education necessary to avoid such risks.
Now imagine yourself without access to any of these things. As well as not being able to speak about it. Living in a male dominant society. Not understanding what is happening to your body. Feeling ashamed, scared and alone in your battle. That topped off with excruciating period pains and risking your health and wellbeing every time you go to the toilet . My heart goes out to these unfortunate girls and women.
WaterAid helps provide sustainable support to communities, by providing the knowledge, funding and guidance to support projects which will empower women, restore dignity and educate them on hygiene and healthcare.
St Rocco’s Cancer Hospice
We are also fundraising for St Rocco’s hospice in Manchester, England. This hospice took really good care of a family member of Michael’s, who had cancer and sadly passed away there last October. So we have decide to give ‘thanks’ and support the great work they’re doing. Providing support to St Rocco’s will ensure they are able to continue providing excellent care and support to others.
Spread the word and share this post with friends and family, and ask them to please do the same. Thank you for your support!
So let the France to China by Bike Countdown begin!
**UPDATE: The donation pages are now closed. Donations can still be made directly to the charities through the charity home pages.