...a bike ride across mediterranean europe...
This is a slideshow of a small section of the trip. More can be found on Youtube.
...a short story how it all began...
It all began in the autumn of 2001. We moved from Shikoku island to the southern outskirts of Osaka city where we started new jobs. Mine was only part-time, a few hours a week, and so I had a lot of free time to concentrate on photography. We didn't have a car and we didn't have the money for trains, but we had an old bicycle that came with our new place. I had no other choice, but that old bike.
At first the rides were short, usually to Osaka city (20 km away) or to Nara, the ancient capital (30 km away). Later when the bike got stolen in Osaka and we bought 2 second-hand MTBs, the trips became longer and more serious.
It was at this point when we realized that bicycle travel was the answer to our problem of not being able to visit all the remote places in China that we could see out of the train window whenever we visited the country. We never had enough time to stop to explore the areas between the tourist traps we were going to or from. Also we wanted to get rid of that line that usually divides locals and tourists. We were looking for different ways to become travellers and not tourists and bicycle travel was the answer.
The route plans changed from month to month. First we wanted to cross Asia, then Asia and Europe and even later the whole world. In the end we had to choose only one region and we decided on Europe this time. Perhaps in the future we'll be able to cross other continents as well.
The bike trip, travel, ride or whatever else it could be called is more like an anthropological project rather than a conventional trip. We don't do it to set any new, crazy records and we don't do it for fitness either. We don't even do it to only see the continent, but to experience it also and we chose bicycles to be closer to people. We will slowly roll eastwards, but how long our stops will be we simply don't know. It's possible that we'll be back in 6 months, but it's also possible that we'll stay in some places for a longer period of time where we can find some kind of work to support ourselves and live among the local people.
Also the globalization which seems to be no more than America's tool to get the whole planet under their control, is making the whole world look alike with McDonald's restaurants and shopping malls on every corner. The cultures that have survived for thousands of years are slowly being replaced by the Western culture, the American culture. Some are transforming willingly and others are being transformed by force, but they all are changing. China is the perfect example. We visited the country 3 times - in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Each time we went there the country was different. The speed at which this change is taking place is incredible. The simplicity and modesty in Chinese people 30 years ago when the country opened up to the world is quickly being replaced by greed, one of the characteristics of that new culture. And this is another reason why we're doing it. Unfortunately, as originally planned we won't be able to visit China again this time as well as other countries that are being transformed by globalization, but we are still looking forward to visiting the remote Europe and we're sure it will prove to be a very interesting experience.
When we decided on cycling across Europe, another thing came to mind - beer. No other continent makes better beer and is better known for it than Europe. Another goal of this trip will be to taste as many different kinds of the God's nectar as possible and the trip is nicknamed - IN SEARCH OF GOOD BEER - A BIKE RIDE ACROSS EUROPE.
As for the route it will never be clear until the last moment. Every part of our planet is equally interesting and every corner is worth visiting. We will start in Portugal, ride south to Northern Africa and then back to Europe where we're planning to do some island hoping in the Mediterranean and enter the mainland again through southern Italy. From there we'll slowly move north and then east across the Balkan region and Greece. We'lltry to reach the Middle East before Christmas, but where we'll be in 6 months it is unknown. We just have to wait and see.