We are now back home, down by the River. Pedalling around on our old city bikes, encountering those familiar assault courses of pot-holes, cycle-unfriendly intersections and madcap gyratory systems that some civil-servant signed off on without ever comprehending the perils that lie within. But we are become made of stronger stuff these days…. jaunts through the throbbing streets of Cairo, shimmying around the pulsating concrete arteries of Zagreb, and Russian-Roulletting our way across Chinese mega-town after Chinese mega-town has immunised us like you never quite would believe.
Saying all that, however, it took less than 48 hours for Sam to go tumbling over his handlebars and stare bemused at a mischievous fissure in the road that surely never existed before we left. Not a single fall in a solid year of cycling and more than 31,000km between us…. It was inevitable we suppose.
But our adventuring days are being gently parcelled up and cupboarded, as we re-don old robes and think of trundling around our mighty city in search of work and buttery bagels.
What do we say to the inevitable questions of “How was it?” before conversations meander on to tales of snow in Ithaca and it actually having been a mild winter? There is no answer. At least not one that we can satisfactorily verbalise to friends and family. What we feel though is that if Odysseus had roamed the world on a bicycle, to come home to Ithaca or London or wherever, he may well have stared doughy-eyed towards his beloved Penelope over a steaming cup of tea and cast his mind back to glorious days on the open road with the wind in his wheels and the joy of sharing those curiously precious moments in the best of company.
This is the end of Odycycle. It has been the market place of our last year in the saddle. A market place in which we have gossiped wildly, shared tales and photos from our adventures, and most enjoyably for us, received the steady stream of support and encouragement from you. We cannot thank you all enough for joining us on our journey and making it never a lonely road.
We really hope that in 2012 the adventures begin or (better yet) continue for all of you and that we get to see some or all of you in the flesh very soon!