Today, it’s been 7 months since I left Paris on a sunny afternoon after getting my vaccinations done at the Pasteur Institute. Yesterday, my bike’s odometer turned 40000km. That means I have sat on that saddle for about the circumference of the Earth and the trip is far from over. My dear companion had about 7000km in the odometer when I left, that makes 33000km in 7 months. When I left, I had had the bike for 9 months. That’s about 800km per month before leaving and about 4700 per month for the last 7 months. Now, when people ask me, I can tell them that my average is around 160km per day but enough with the numbers.
Far from me to do a balance post right now when I could be enjoying some fine Australian wine but I have something as significant as that. Here’s two pictures of the bike. The first one was taken when I was setting off, the second a couple of days ago at the Madura roadhouse on the second day of the Nullarbor crossing. Find the differences!
Ever since I’ve started planning this trip, the most used unit of measure has not been, as one could expect, the kilometer. It’s been the liter.
At first it was all about the gas tank on the bike. The more liters the better, it would mean more autonomy for the bike. More kilometers until I have to push it to the next gas station. So that’s all good.
Then came the luggage choices. Here the liters appear again. Pannier volume here, tankbag size there. And the top case. I’m up to 155 liters of luggage. A tough decision because the more you carry, the heavier the bike and also more gas consumption. But I opted for the biggest panniers thinking that at some point I may become reasonable and throw most of the contents away. I’m not saying it has happened, but it might.
And then came the trash bags. Yes, trash bags. When you are leaving for one year, you want to make sure that you leave as little as possible behind because everything you want to keep goes into storage, paid storage. If you keep this book, you may not be able to afford that meal at the end of your trip that you’ve been longing for kilometers and kilometers. So, with that magic stop at the 5 & Diner in Tulsa, OK along Route 66 in mind I set off on the impossible task of emptying my apartment of all non-essencial. So far, with the help of my wonderful friend Alice, I’ve given 350 liters of clothes and 50 liters of shoes to charity, I’ve thrown away 300 liters of paper and other useless stuff and have prepared 60 more liters of various bags and old backpacks to give to charity tomorrow. And it’s quite liberating.
Liters in the tank are freedom to roam for a longer time, liters in the luggage mean I can carry more stuff. But the liters and liters of things I’m getting rid of are liberating. They are as important at the moment as the books that are in the boxes that you can see in the picture. Those I’m keeping!