The luckiest person - Unfinished Business - CycleBlaze

The luckiest person

It was in 2011 that I realised just how lucky I was as I cycled east from the UK with no destination in mind. Eighteen months earlier I had a simple fall from a bicycle, snapped my tibia and fibula in half, got picked up by an ambulance and a little later was in surgery. A few days later I was back home and going 2.5 km each way to work on crutches. It happened days before I was going to have another go at cycling the 250 km from Canberra to Tathra in a day. As I lay in my hospital bed I made a pact with myself that I would have a go at it - no, do it - in 12 months’ time. I recovered well from my surgery and, even though I have no medical insurance, it cost me nothing. That is lucky because for a large proportion of the World's population this would not be true.

Canberra to Tathra in a day - 250 km
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I managed to do my ride to Tathra in a day and a few months later was picking up my new Thorn Nomad bicycle in Bridgewater, Somerset. Cora and I headed east to Istanbul, stopping in Paris, St Gallen, Vienna and Budapest en route. I then headed on alone and met Cora once more in Kunming.  How lucky was I?  I was in my early 50's and cycling wherever I wanted to go. How many people did I pass, especially in poor countries, who would never be in my position? And how many people did I see, especially in developed nations, who would be physically unable to cycle?  But there's another rung to my ladder of luck: every time I withdrew money on this ride, I had more in the bank than I did at the previous withdrawal. How can this be! The answer is Australia's long-service leave through which, after ten years’ service, one gets three months of extra vacation at full pay. In 2011, I took this leave and a month's normal vacation on half-pay. So, here I am cycling along as free as a bird and receiving half my normal salary. This was hard to spend when mainly rough camping and cooking our own food. Talk about lucky!

But, I'm even luckier. My partner, Cora, who is still working, is going to edit this blog as I send "eror stroon messerges" from the road. For, this, she deserves a photo at the very least.

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Graham SmithHi Ian, it’s great to see your much anticipated journal pop up here on Cycle Blaze. It will be fabulous to be able to see, and share, your forthcoming cycle tour as it unfolds on this site.

(Jane and I are currently in Earls Court London. Close to where my first cycle tour began in 1979 after I bought a steel tourer from FW Evans.)

Regards Graham
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9 months ago