Welcome to Velomad's World.
We are doing a world tour by
bicycle for 7 years. The aim of our travels is not only to promote peace
by showing others that we may all be different but we can all
still be friends but even more importantly raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and environmental abuses not just in the developed world but around the globe. We hope that by increasing awareness of these issues and promoting methods that anyone can carry out that we will help bring about a change as people begin to realise the impact of their actions.
If you are interested in our travels and are a member of any
organisation, club or school feel free to invite us to come and visit
and do a presentation of our travels. You can contact us at the bottom
of this page.
IMPORTANT NOTE for those of you in China
If you are trying to access either of our blogs (see links on left menu) and you live in China, unless you are using a P r o x y (excuse the spaces - The Great Firewall of China prevents me uploading this page is we use that 5 letter word!) the GF of C will block you. We used to use surfonsteriods to get round this but that doesn't seem to work anymore. So for Internet Explorer we're using www.anonymouse.org to access our blogs. If you choose to use this method to access our website or blog we apologise for the advertising box that Anonymouse places on page - we can't do anything about it. But it's easy enough to close and seems pretty harmless. For Firefox just download the Gladder add-on & it'll work like a dream. If anyone has a better suggestion we'd love to hear from you.
Countries visited: 46 Distance: 80,000-ish kms. Yes, I have to add it up properly!
Current Location: Battambang, Cambodia (25th May 2009)
Heading towards Bangkok via the Pailin - Ban Pakard border. Expect to arrive in Bangkok around 5th June.
Welcome to Velomad's World.
Richard and Stani left France on December 28th 2005 to continue a RTW bicycle tour. The original tour started in Alaska on the 24th September 1996 traversed the Americas from North to South aiming to reach Ushuaia, aka "El fin del Mundo" - the end of the world. They returned to England 30th March 2000 with the intent to complete their RTW tour but this time with a difference.
What the first trip illustrated to them was that Global Warming is having an impact now - EVERYWHERE and Climate Change needs to be addresses by everyone of us right now. Their motto is now
CLIMATE CHANGE - IT'S NOT COOL
So this time they are doing the ride and hoping to raise awareness of the issue by talking to schools, the media and anyone they meet who will listen on the journey.
Climate change is happening and we all need to take the time to educate ourselves on the issue.
Remember - Don’t be overwhelmed. You CAN make a difference.
The Latest News:
Saturday 2nd May 2009, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Finally talked Richard into cutting my hair - he was very reluctant to & I could feel/hear the impatience as he hacked away with the scissors. This does not sound very promising I thought to myself. When I got to see myself in the mirror I realised I had been completely wrong - it was far worse than I had imagined.
Luckily we have the Couchsurfing Get Together tonight so I can display the massacre in public.
Earlier this week an article was published in the Phnom Penh Post about us (click on the image to read it). The basics are correct and it seems to correctly portray our ideas and feelings but there are a few inaccuracies. Stani has never worked for an NGO for example. NGO is comparable to using a 4 letter word here (with good reason). The inaccuracies are probably more due to the lack of note taking rather than any intent to provide misleading or twisted information (as was the case with the Chinese newspaper article about the Olympics - see our last newsletter for details). Stani did wonder about the lack of notes the journalist had taken at the end of the meeting and put it down to one of the following:
1. The journalist had been so incredibly disinterested she couldn't force herself to actually take any notes (rather similar to Stani's feelings when attempting to update this website).
2. The journalist had a super memory & was very professional so didn't want to distract her interviewees by scribbling.
3. The journalist was so engrossed in our tales and adventures that she forgot all about writing down a few facts.
Ha ha - who's voting for 1 then?
Tuesday 14th April, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Khmer New Year starts today. It's been rather quiet in the streets today - makes for a lovely change from the usual racket.
Planning to stay here until about the 2nd May so if anyone's around get in touch.
Friday 17th October, Dalat, Vietnam
Arrived in Dalat yesterday after 2 amazing weeks of cycling in the central highlands. The scenery is truly stunning though hard work on our 1 speed Hanoian bikes. Most Vietnamese seem to think we are crackers – we are sure they are saying “those foreigners are nuts – better not get to close to them – it might be infectious”.
On one mountain pass the hawkers all gathered round and kept telling us what good bikes we had and wouldn’t believe us that they were just normal bikes – the same that everyone else had. Clearly we must be masters of disguise if anyone could contemplate that our bikes are super duper ones!
We’ll probably head down to Mui Ne next as Richard would like to spend a few days on the beach. We had considered Nha Trang but suspect it might be too built up for our tastes. We’re really hoping to find a bungalow & hammock on a quiet beach somewhere with cheap cold beer close by & NO KARAOKE.
Thursday 9th October, Buan Ma Thuot, Vietnam
As everyone keeps asking where we are & where we're going here's our current plan.
We're in Buon Ma Thuot at the mo. and plan to spend another week cycling in the Central Highlands.
Then from Dalat head down to Nha Trang for a weeks beach bumming.
From there we'll head to Ho Chi Minh for the last week of October.
Hanoi the 1st week of November & heading off to Sa Pa around the 7th November.
Expect to cross over to Laos around the 3rd week of November at Dien Bien Phu.
Then on to LAOS, CAMBODIA & THAILAND.
Not sure about route through yet - think Richard has some ideas planned but that's too far in the future for my little brain to retain the info!
Tuesday 23rd September, Hanoi, Vietnam
Update now we've been in Vietnam for 4 months
We arrived in
Vietnam way back on 22nd May 2008.
Wondering what we've
been doing here for so long? Well when we were in China there
were 2 things which directed our next moves.
Firstly the Chinese
authorities closed Tibet to foreigners. That was a bummer for us
as that was where we had planned to head for after Macau.
Secondly, due to the
Olympic games, the Chinese authorities decided to restrict the
visas to visit China and the once easily available Chinese visas
for 3 or 6 months became impossible to get hold of. We were
lucky and just got in the deadline for getting a 1 month visa
without having to go through the rigmarole of proving we had an
exit ticket and proof of being booked into a hotel every night.
We met 2 cyclists in Macau who applied for their visas 1 week
after us in HK who had a nightmare trying to get the miserable 1
entry 1 month tourist visa we ourselves had obtained.
our choices were limited and we decided to enter Vietnam
during the rainy season which is what we had wanted to
We've already done
too much cycling in the rain as far as we're concerned so we got
jobs in Hanoi teaching English for 3 months.
So today we headed
off on our tour of Vietnam.
The difference is
that instead of having our usual 4 panniers, 1 rucksack, 1
sausage bag & 1 handlebar bag, we've only got 2 panniers, 1
handlebar bag & 1 small backpack.
The main difference
is that Petrus & Wasabi aren't coming with us. We've set off on
Pépé and Hanoi. Yes - they are our old round town Vietnamese
bikes - should be fun in the Central Highlands! Hopefully it
will get us back into shape.
Sunday 6th March, Hong Kong (SAR), China
Harbour Front Bike Ride
Before we came to Hong Kong several people told us not to bring our bikes - that HK was extremely bike unfriendly. Well they're right. But as Richard said - it's because of that we HAVE to bring our bikes otherwise we'd just be giving in - they need to be reminded that cyclists have the right to use the roads too.
Seems we're no the only one's who think like that. Today we linked up with 100 or so other cyclists to do a bike ride from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan and then to the North Point Java Road Planning Department to hand in a petition to request a cycle path be built along the harbour front. A very worthy cause. They plan to do them regularly until something is done so for any HK residents reading this it's not too late to do a ride yourselves.
Saturday 28th March, Hong Kong (SAR), China
Everybody Loves Raymond
Anyone watch that show? We've seen a couple of episodes but to be honest it's not really to our taste.
The reason that we're bringing it up is that everyone, absolutely everyone mentions The Flying Ball Bicycle Company as THE bike shop in Hong Kong. Maybe it is but to be honest we can't comment as we haven't been there yet (though we are planning on going). So a more appropriate phrase here is "Everybody Loves the Flying Ball".
However, we have found a bike shop up here in the New Territories which we believe it would be hard to beat for service and friendliness and that's what's most important for us - not just for bike parts but for all our equipment.
The shop was recommended to us by our Warm Showers List (WSL) host - a wonderful woman who has charmed our socks off. When we asked about bikes shops she of course mentioned the Flying Ball but added that she thought we'd be much better off going to "Raymond's" as he not only was an excellent bike mechanic but was more than fair in his pricing (too fair we found out - if he treats all his customers the way he treated us he'll soon go out of business). She used him to service her bikes before she went on her own bike tours (she's clocked up 39 countries herself to date so she's not exactly inexperienced) and is still going back - high praise indeed.
We could write a book on how brilliantly Raymond has treated us and more importantly our bikes - you can see he loves bikes and cycling and the care he lavished on Petrus and Wasabi will endear us to him forever. Moreover, as he was working on our bikes he not only let us watch but increased our knowledge of bike parts with his generous sharing of information - many professional bike mechanics these days are too busy posing & showing off - acting as if cycling equipment is some sort of top secret that you are simply too unworthy to be party to. Wasabi needs a new rear wheel as she is still struggling on with the manky one we purchased in Mongolia and I would preferably like a 36 spoke rim. Raymond only had 32 spoke rims (more popular these days) but said to give him a few days & he'd source one for me. Our WSL host told us that the Flying Ball also didn't keep many parts in stock and she more often or not needed order them in advance so there seems no difference in this regards.
Anyway - WE DEFINITELY LOVE RAYMOND!
TIN FUNG BICYCLE CO.
Shop 10. G/F. Kam Lung Mansion
Fung Yau St. North
Tel: 2442 3808
Unfortunately they don't have a website but we can guarantee you it would be worth the visit.
Sunday 29th March, Hong Kong (SAR), China
Several weeks ago we sat in a bar in Fuzhou (Fujian Provence, China). One of the guys at the table had just got back from Hong Kong on a visa run that day.
"What's the one thing you'd recommend to do in Hong Kong? Something that you think should not be missed? It can be anything - a walk, a cafe, a tourist site - whatever." we asked of him.
His response was a 10 minute diatribe on how he hated Hong Kong - the fact that it was so clean, that there were smoking fines for smoking in public areas, that there were littering fines, how people didn't shout, how there were so many Europeans everywhere. It was difficult to get him to shut up and we let him rant on until he'd finished his beer and it was time to go. Honestly we were quite speechless - sounded bliss to us!
AND SO IT IS.
I was reading a discussion in a local newspaper today about horn honking in Hong Kong. Several people were furious at the level of honking in the traffic. All we can say is - "GO TO CHINA - then you'll have reason to complain!"
It is amazingly clean, quiet and civilised after China. You can get all those things you miss back home - teabags, organic peanut butter, Heinz Baked Beans (from England - not the sugary version from the States), haven't spotted Marmite yet but we've already acquired 2 jars of Vegemite and so on. How could we possibly not like this!
Have to admit though maybe we do agree with him about too many Europeans - in specific British lager louts. At one point I looked back down the incline on D'Aguilar Street and realised there wasn't a single Asian face to be seen in the crowd of beer spillers blocking the road. Could have easily been any street around Leicester Square packed with outdoor drinkers in summer.
See Daily Dairy for past entries.
Have patience with us! This website is currently in
construction and will always going to be a
"work-in-progress" as we'll be updating it as we go along.
So in 7 years time it should be complete! If you know anyone
who might like to maintain this website for us or even
translate it into French or Spanish please don't hesitate to
get in touch! You can contact us