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hey guys, bit of a different video, i wanted  to talk about my book two years on the bike,   which is about my trip from  vancouver to patagonia. it released   in november in europe and it's going to be  available worldwide end of the month, I'm   selling signed editions from  my website, only a small batch   also available with a beautiful big map of the of  the entire route, drawn by Alex Hotchin, you can   see the two is in italic, which refers to my first  journey, which was from amsterdam to singapore   the book one year on a bike, there's also a  documentary, available through the same channels i got into bike travel about seven years  ago, i had a full-time job, i lived in a city   freelanced after that, but  i had quite a regular life,   nothing to complain about, really, i think it's  a good life, i'm very grateful for it, but at   the same time i was just missing a lot of things,  i missed the connection with the natural world,   being in the city, i missed working with my  hands and using my body, and i missed getting   physically tired, instead of mentally tired, from  watching screens all day and sitting inside ,and   it just dulled me down, also, the the continuous  rhythm of everything being the same at some point,   like five days going to work, then there's a  weekend and monday everything starts over again,   the same place, same kind of people,  i needed to break the pattern. i think the bicycle is a great  way to travel, because it's   sort of fast enough to to take you somewhere,  you could easily do 70 to 100 kilometers per day   and it carries all your luggage,  you got nothing on your back   and you can go on the big roads, you can take  small roads ,you can just park it next to a cafe when you take a break, and it's just a very  flexible way of traveling, it really spoke to me you're more connected to nature, obviously, because you're outside all the time   and i was fully independent, so meaning i  had a tent, sleeping back and everything,  i could sleep in the wild, wild  camp, life became just very simple   i would cycle every day, and take photos and write  a diary, and that that was what i was doing every   day, but the thing that changed was the location,  every day i was in a new place. so, fast forward i finished the trip to singapore, it took  me a year, i came back to amsterdam and i   made a book about it which wasn't the plan at  first, first i wanted to make a movie, because   at the time i was more into videography, but i  had so many photos and and all of the stories,   so i compiled this book one year on a bike, and  when that was finished i just got back into city   life, which wasn't bad because i was refreshed and  i had just another perspective on life, and i was   just more grateful for what i had, i think it was  one of the things i took with me from my travels   but after a year i was kind of getting  back into the the old life and i thought, let's do it again. this time i wanted  to do it differently, i would try to  

also have my working life on the road, so  i would bring my laptop and the hard disks,   and keep my freelance contacts sort of warm, so when there was work to do, i would take a break i had a very rough idea of the complete  route but you can't plan it in detail ahead,   it's just impossible, because it's simply  too much, i knew i had destinations,   like the salt lake in bolivia was on the list,  i knew about a mountain bike route in ecuador all of the national parks, the desert and  utah, the redwood forest in california,   those were things that were on my list, so i knew  it would need to be on the pacific side, of both   of the continents but i made small plannings, the  first destination was san francisco, i didn't look   further ahead, after that i started thinking  about how to go further, and because it was   after summer, it was actually very good to go into  the desert because the temperatures were nice but   otherwise i planned a bit like by these distances.  when i reached mexico city, i got to know a lot of   people and they were saying, you should go here,  you should go there, and that's how i planned the   route, so that's how i planned mexico, and after  that, you know, that's kind of how it worked out   so i moved to vancouver, i got a new bicycle there and started to gather all of the all of the gear   i needed, a lot of the gear i used from my my  previous journey, and yeah, i was getting ready it was quite a different bike from the one i had  to singapore, because that was more of a classic   touring bike, a surly long-haul trucker, a very  simple bike, but sturdy built, a lot of gears   but like normal, old-school, v-brakes this one  was also a bike from surly but it's the surlu ecr,   i think it's they don't sell it anymore, but  the one which is very similar is the ogre,   yeah a big bicycle, because it has thick  tires, three inch, eight centimeters,   it was a 29er, so 29+ is what they  call that. there's many ways to   rig a bicycle, but i think there's roughly  three categories: endurance racing, traditional   bike traveling with panniers, and off-road  bike packing. these two are similar in style   of packing, but here the focus is on being as  lightweight as possible, because it's about   speed and performance, i met guys doing the  trans-am ,which crossed america from east to west   on these kind of setups, you're still independent,  you bring a tent and everything, but everything is   just focused to be as small and lightweight as  possible, if you want to cross bolivia on such   bike, it might be more tricky, because it's  less robust, i've never seen these kind of bikes   in remote countries. this is the classic bicycle  touring setup with panniers, and it's just focused  

on being comfortable on your bike and being  able to bring as much luggage as possible   i think there's advantages to the panniers,  because you can easily take them off, for example   when you check in a hotel, you just click off the  bags and you have everything with you, and you   can store your bike somewhere, with these kind of  setups you probably have to bring your bike in the   hotel room which i've done very often as well, i  think there's also an advantage of having the bags   and your luggage quite low on the bike,  it makes you very steady on the road   but when you go off-road, it could become a  problem and that's why these setups are very high,   so when you're doing trail riding and  there's bushes and all kinds of things,   you have a lot of clearance  on the underside of the bike and also with this setup you're not able  to lean back, for example if you're doing   a trail and you've got a very steep downhill,  you need to lean back to disperse your weight   and that's the reason i fell one time  in peru where i wasn't able to lean back this setup is called bike packing,  but i think everything is bike packing   but it's more focused to being  off-road, mountain biking   with luggage basically that's what it is, i  think my setup now is sort of in between those,   because i need the back panniers to bring all  my stuff, but on the front i've got the racks let's start on the front, here i got my camera in  this handlebar back my camera and one lens which   is easily accessible, because these are magnets,  so i could flip it open and take out my camera,   basically i could take photos while cycling. this  one contains my macbook, drone, hard disks, wires   all the electronics and all the  valuable items are in these two,   also, these two backs have quick-release so  they're easy and quick to take off, for example if   i go in a supermarket or i have to leave the bike  alone outside i always take these two bags off you can see there's two, how do you call these... handlebar stems, usually this one is attached   to the handlebar, but then it would sit quite  high, so i've added a second one so it's more   in line with the bicycle, the saddle and the  handlebar which i think is just more balanced,  on the front here this is my tent, some extra  shoes there's racks here which fit these   dry bags, they're on both sides one has my sleeping bag and   the other one has clothes and the jacket i had a rain jacket or a wind jacket on top,   so i could easily take it out these touring bikes  have a lot of ways to bolt on and braze on racks which is basically the main difference from  a normal bike, so you could screw these in,   but these are actually leaning on the rack, and i  just zip tied it on there, you know, with zip ties   there's a lot of ways to strap things on the bike when you're building the bike you'll find a lot of opportunities to   because this is not designed, i was just building  it up, i found this rack and i thought, okay,   the tent could go here, yeah, that works,  this is resting on the tent otherwise this   could dangle a bit, it's kind of a trial and  error here i got a rain jacket, i believe,   then there's a tripod here, the two panniers  they carry clothes, food, more camping gear,   tools, some spare tools will be in here, like  allen keys, because you need these very often to   secure things, there will be snacks  in here, my sunglasses, sunscreen   in here there could be food and all kinds of other  things, on the bottom i had two liters of water   and there were two liters on each side here, so four liters i could bring comfortably,   and then underneath these bungee cords i  could put more water or just other things day five, not so beautiful here on  the pacific coast, yesterday was nice,   but today it's raining, and tomorrow probably too,  so it's cold now, i'm making some breakfast here six eggs..! i'll bring some with me. the beginning of such a journey is always hard your body is getting used to all of the physical, everyday cycling i got a pain in my back, pain in  my my right knee, it was always   kind of hurting, so i needed to take it slow  because it's not a contest, everyone can do this   if you just start in your own pace when i had the  bike finished i started from vancouver, route 101,   is where i started which is sort of the main  highway from north to south on the pacific coast   there's little traffic up there it's  very quiet, you got the logging trucks  which are dangerous though! because they  pass you just very close on the bike I met another cyclist, a young girl from...  where was she from? new orleans, i believe   yeah she was 23, she was cycling from  seattle to san francisco. there's a lot   of people doing the the pacific coast route in  summer, so i met a lot of cyclists on the way   staying at couchsurfing addresses, or warmshowers,  which is basically like couchsurfing for   the cyclist community, a very big community which  you see all over the world, which is just amazing   from the us to... in iran there's a lot  of people on warmshowers surprisingly,  

but also in malaysia, and in thailand and  basically everywhere i met a lot of great people,  if you don't have time to travel or you're bound  to home, because you have a family or a job,   you could sign up to and invite travelers to your home,   it's a way of traveling too, meeting people from  all over the world, without leaving your house. my first goal was san francisco, and i thought  i would follow the coast straight away, but   pretty soon i made the decision to go inland. in  portland people were mentioning the painted hills,  

which are some beautifully colored hills in high  desert in oregon, so i headed inland through the   columbia river gorge and then you climb up in  the desert, because the desert is much higher   in oregon, about 1500 meters, and it's a complete  change of scenery, you got the dry yellow grass   it's very quiet, there's a lot less people living  there, it's very dry, and quite warm as well, and   i went through some ghost towns, i think silver  mining that was being done there nobody living   there, and then i reached painted hills, where  you have mitchell, it's a small western town,   it looks like you're cycling through a movie  set, but it was an actual town where people   were living, there was a church that welcomed  people who are cycling, because there's a lot of   cyclists from the trans-am passing through there,  then i continued back to the coast via crater   lake a beautiful ride, and descended to crescent  city which was the beginning of california the redwood forest were a big highlight  for me with those giant trees, i mean,   they're so incredibly large, and when you see the  cars, like toys, disappearing in those forests,   it's mesmerizing... i think it took like three  days to get through these forests. there was this   couple living deep in the forest, they were the  parents of some some people i knew in portland and   i visited them, it was quite a climb up the hill,  they had a huge amount of land, with beautiful   old grown forest, they made a living there about  35 years ago and they lived there with their   child, completely independent, and this guy...  kent was his name, i think he was 73 at the time,   and they slept at the little bed on a vide...  how do you call this? a mezzanine? and he had   a letter to climb up there, but when he was  younger he would always swing himself up there,   so he was trying to impress me, and said,  "yeah i think i still i can still do it" so he   took off his shirt, jumped up, grabbed the beam  and he swung himself up there. he was so strong.   yeah, beautiful couple. he passed away last year   they're one of the people that really  inspired me to live off the grid san francisco! on a misty  afternoon, beginning of the evening i was just up there, on hawk  hill, the view got worse and   worse and now it's just very gray and misty it's beautiful, we made it i've got very strong memories to san  francisco, it's such an enchanting place...  

i arrived over the golden gate bridge, it was  foggy, very rough weather, and i had a place in   bernal heights, on a hill overlooking the city  it's a beautiful place, you could see over the   mission district, and then downtown, you could  see twin peaks in the fog, it was always foggy...   and the victorian houses everywhere, and the  steep hilltops — san francisco has its own vibe   i had a bit of work to do , so i had to stay for some days   and i needed to take a break, and one day i went  to this cafe, cafe deluxe, a jazz cafe there was   a great band, and i met this girl, her name was  rachel, and she was living in the castro and   we started hanging out, and pretty soon we were  all over the place, we went for some road  trips we went to the coast, camped on the beach,  visited yosemite, did some hiking trips   at some point i was just going to work  every day, i'd rented a desk at wework   which is a co-working space in downtown, and i  went to work every day, i had made other friends   and we went out and, i just had a life in the  city and almost forgot i was on a bicycle trip at some point rachel needed  to leave the city for work   and also my work was kind of finishing up so  we made plans to meet each other again in utah   because we both wanted to go there, the season  was great summer was almost over, it was the end   of august and the desert would cool down, which  would be perfect for me to cycle through wow, a bend the road... finally, look at that i came from a little town up on the  hills there, on the end of the road you can't see it, of course, it is about 26 kilometers from here one straight end,  it's going down for a long bit and then slowly it   goes up, and now i'm climbing up over these hills  and then there will be another part like that so, not much happening here heading to utah, there was about  2000 kilometers of desert ahead of me   and leaving from san francisco, i was looking  forward to it, i needed to clear my mind   and get things into perspective, about my  life goals, about the goals of the journey   why i was doing this, what i wanted from it, i  thought the desert would be a good opportunity to   internalize things, and take  the time to be quiet, and i can tell you i got plenty of time for that,   maybe a bit too much, because  it's an overwhelming situation... the scary thing about the desert is not the  silence, it's not the fear of having no water,   the drought, and it's not the thunderstorms, it's  the lack of control over what you're going to do   because i've been in the desert before  this, but it was usually with a car,   and it was exciting, you know, because  it's dark, and it's super quiet, and you   go on the side of the road with your car, you turn  off the lights, and you just take a deep breath   and there's just nothing there, but you and  the stars, and it can kind of freak you out   but then you get back in your car and you  put the radio on, and you just drive and   within an hour or two you're probably  somewhere on the grid, where people are.

with the bicycle you don't have that choice,  i was just in the middle of the desert,   it took me two days to cycle to a place, and i  camped there and there were those thunderstorms,   and you are physically very alone and if  you freak out, you don't have the choice   to get in your car and put radio on and just  drive, because it will take you another day or   two of cycling to get back in there, and that  lack of control is sometimes very frightening it's gonna come..! this is such a big  storm, i'm excited and a bit nervous the lightning is... it's big  lightning, so it's not safe  but i have no choice, i can't go anywhere brace for impact! it was crazy, because it was nothing  like i've ever experienced before   because in the distance you could hear the rumble,  it was just like a firework show, very far away  you could see the lightning and the thunder   and it, was everywhere around  me and slowly it closed into me and i was in this flat desert, there was nothing  there, just me and my bike and my little tent   it's this pretty scary night, i'm in a desert,  it's a really beautiful place but far from   anything, but there's thunder going  on, i don't know if you can see it   look at that..! it's kind of  all around me on the horizon it's scary you know, because i'm so exposed here, because i'm  the highest point in this desert look at that it's amazing, it's beautiful too, but it's scary  if you see those big beams of light getting down i'm a little bit excited and i'm also  scared, here you can see it in the background in my tent i don't like this... i'm gonna stick my arm out,  see if you can see something how does that look? all right...

the one solution here, just go drinking,  drink yourself nuts, that's what i'm gonna do

2022-01-16 19:51

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