Wednesday, 5 March 2014

One month to go, so much to do

I'm off on my world cruise one month today, I can scarcely believe it!  Here's what's keeping me busy at the moment:
  • Visa for China Plan A: I have come to accept that this has failed and I cannot cross the border by bike from Kazakhstan into Xinjiang, China (see earlier posts). Hugely disappointing but SFA I can do about it.
  • Visa for China Plan B: I'm trying now for a special visa to train or fly from Almaty (Kazakhstan) into Gansu, in central China.  I still need a Letter of Invitation from the official tourist bureau there, if I can get that then I will go along to their Embassy in London with it and my passport and visa application form and fees and crossed fingers... Thanks are due to my MP Stephen Hammond who found me an excellent contact in the Foreign Office to help with this.
  • Visa for China Plan C: give up and fly from Almaty to Hanoi or Bangkok.
  • Visa for Belarus: I am applying for this today so that if Ukraine still looks on the brink of WW3 I can give it a wide berth.
  • Vaccinations: the programme is well underway, I'm seeing the nurse every Friday and getting everything I need which is quite a long list and too boring to write down here. I had a sore arm last week but did not feel ill.
  • Buy more kit: it's difficult squaring this with the objective to carry less than I did last year around the Baltic.  Recent purchases have included a mossie net, sterile medical kit, dog whistle, money belt, stuff sacks, brake pads, zip ties and duck tape.
  • Get some miles in my legs: fulfilled by the daily commute and a Kingston Wheeler club run or 200k audax most weekends.
  • Read the stack of guide books that I have borrowed from libraries around London - the inter-library loan system is brilliant!
  • Handover work to colleague at LB Hammersmith& Fulham as we head towards final day on 28th March - they're planning a leaving party for me that day (even though I told them I am planning to come back...)
In any spare time  remaining I'm enjoying following the progress of the riders in this year's World Cycle Race.  I went to watch the start on Saturday 1st March and rode the prologue with them from Marble Arch to Greenwich where we waved them off at around 12:20.  It's early days but none of them yet look to be any kind of threat to Alan Bate's 127-day Guinness World Record or Mike Hall's spectacular 107-day win of the 2012 WCR which I do hope he will get ratified with Guinness one day.


  1. Exciting times. Glad we don't have all that hassle of Visas and inoculations but that doesn't mean I'm not massively jealous of your trip.

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