Ask yourself this question, "If you could do anything -- anything in the world -- what would you do?" You can guess my answer. I feel that life is a gift and that I have only one chance to live. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." And, to be honest, I had more than my fair share of angst and riding around the world was the only option I could see to overcome my malaise and become (or is that prove) to the world who I thought I "should" be.
How does one define bicycling around the world? Well, you wouldn't get very far trying to bicycle around the equator since it is mostly water. However, you could try lugging your bicycle to the North or South Pole, once there you could finish the trip in minutes. Or, you could even join the astronauts as they pedal a stationary bicycle while their ship orbits the earth every 90 minutes. Maybe a more practical definition involves bicycling every continent or every country. As it turns out, these aren't practical options. For instance, the definition between continent, continental plate and island are not clearly defined; while zigzagging between the invisible and often disputed political borders seems silly. I define bicycling around the world as cycling the circumference of the earth (40,077 KM [24,855.34 miles] as measured around the equator) without treading the same ground twice (otherwise I could have stayed in San Francisco and bicycled circles around the donut shops and pubs) and visiting as many cultures and phenomena as practical. As you can see from the map my route consists of a compromise between all the above considerations while avoiding prevailing headwinds, rainy seasons, war zones, health emergencies and cold weather. All the while, I constantly pushed forward, never counting the same kilometer twice.
Where did you go?
The red line above is where I rode my bicycle (41,144 KM). Although I did cycle all of North America in a continuous line, I am not a "purist". There are too many places that are just too ugly, unfriendly and dangerous for cycling. So, to complete my circumnavigation, I connected the dots and lines with either an airplane, train, bus, truck or ferry. See the complete list below.
Note: Some countries listed are given the benefit of the doubt, such as Tibet.
In addition, on separate trips I visited:
Also saw these countries from their neighbors or airports:
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