Ready for continent number 1… Europe

I’ve pestered my good friend and freelance travel journalist Henry Wismayer into writing up a desciption of my route around the planet. Here’s continent number 1…

“St Thomas’ Hospital forecourt – Monday the 5th of January 2010. It will probably be drizzling, but Steve will have to get used to that; he is about to tackle all that nature can throw at a man – wind, snow and rain. Peaks and troughs. Coldest tundra, hottest desert. The whole spectrum of human discomfiture. Steve will say cheerio to loved ones then start peddling – he will be peddling for the next 1,700 days. London to Dover; ferry to Calais and continent number 1. This is the easy bit: a few short months of smooth asphalt and accurate maps; relatively small and summer-holiday familiar, Europe is the proving ground. Cycling-Round-the-World Module 1.He could have chosen a flatter route mind. Exhibiting the mixture of optimism and masochism that will either cradle him or kill him on this lunatic endeavour, Steve whizzes south-east to Switzerland and into the Alps. In mid-winter.

Over Italy’s Dolomites and onto Slovenia’s karst plateau, then through the Balkans – Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia. Bulgaria next, followed by that patch of Turkey that’s not Asia. Then Istanbul and the part that is. Cue obligatory handycam pan from one side of the Bosporus to the other. Steve’s voice off camera: “Europe…Asia…Europe…Asia.” Europe done. Well not ‘done’ exactly. He will be travelling this axis again, with five more continents in the bag, on the final push for home.”

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