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    Six years

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    86,209 km by bicycle

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    75 countries

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    Six Continents

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Featured Blog Post

An accidental run to Smalley Green – part one

Something stirs

It all began with an empty space.


I’d noticed it take form in my diary. A run of blank pages, cleaned of life as it should be. The weeks leading up to and after this time had been scribbled on: every day messy with reminders of tasks and presentations, shifts in A&E, meet-ups with mates. I wasn’t sure how this void came about, but sometimes I wondered if I’d made it happen.


Half-consciously, perhaps I’d cultivated a little nest of free time, meticulously positioning my life outside of it. Perhaps I needed to journey again. Perhaps I was straining to hear the call of a new adventure, like everybody warned me I would.


It had been eight months since I’d got back from cycling around the world, a time in my life that felt more like one place than a string of them, fenced off and unreachable, with a shimmery and yearnful quality. It’s extraordinary how divorced I feel from those years, considering they’ve only just passed. I get a misty-eyed, hollow feeling when a trawl through my photos on flickr. I feel oddly bereft for a life that dashed and breathed and died.


At home the sense of physical pursuit has faded and the mental pursuit of authorship has heaved into its place. I’ve tried to embrace the writing life. Mainly by living on crap food and being broke. But I can’t afford to rent a garret, and I’m not suicidal. There’s still some way to go on these fronts.


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Stephen Fabes

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Like most decisions of great consequence my plan to cycle the length of six of the earth’s continents was made in a pub, beer in one hand, mini-atlas in the other.

It took six years to complete the loop, crossing 75 countries and six continents. I visited remote medical projects and hospitals along the way. This blog is the story of that ride, a resource for adventure cyclists and a repository for my articles and musings – about a world made massive by my bicycle, and the thrill of adventuring through it.’

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An epic challenge
Bear Grylls, Adventurer
Extraordinary
Ranulph Fiennes

January 2010: I waved goodbye to my family and friends from outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where I worked as a medical doctor, and set off on my bicycle. My plan was to cycle the length the six continents. On that first day, I didn’t get far. I peddled off. I made a quiet U turn. I headed to the pub. And then I hunched over a pint, fraught with self-doubt, whilst my loved ones supposed I was pedaling towards France.

Hours passed. The world I’d pedaled into was too big. I was unfit and underprepared and feeling ungrateful for breezing away from a profession I loved, interesting friends and a comfortable life. Several curry houses knew me by my first name. I enjoyed a frappe.

Eventually, without coming up with a good excuse not to go, I set off into the night, and the dawning of the coldest European winter for thirty one years. 86,209 km (53,568 miles) later I emerged onto Westminster Bridge having cycled a distance equivalent to more than twice around the planet or 89 times the length of Great Britain.

 

 

High Times

Cycling The Six: High Times from Stephen Fabes on Vimeo.

A six year journey across six continents and seventy five countries by bicycle

Tough Times

Cycling The Six: Tough Times from Stephen Fabes on Vimeo.

The more testing bits from six years cycling around the globe

  • Home! More calf muscle than man. And there’s life after cycling.

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  • Dispatches from two crossings of Europe: from riding over the Alps mid-winter to cruising along the Danube

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  • Asia: wildly diverse, always perplexing, full of hospitality – from crossing Mongolia mid-winter to edging through the deserts of Afghanistan

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  • Blog posts from cycling Australia’s east coast with Claire, to hiking across the Pacific island of New Caledonia

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  • Blogs from US and Canada: bears, bacon doughnuts, big ass trees and a journey up the Haul Road to northern Alaska

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  • Blogs from South America: sublime Andean landscapes, 5000 metre passes, salt flats and jungles, and the Carretera Austral

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  • Blogs from Central America: Mexican deserts, beaches galore and sliding down volcanoes

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  • Blog posts from Africa: life-affirming, human, full of adventure

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  • It begins: a U turn to the pub, before riding into the coldest European winter for 31 years

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