A Rough Plan to Cycle Asia
The plan is, essentially, to start riding in Singapore and end in Beijing, China. This route will take me through Malaysia and the length of Thailand. The distance is approximately 4,500 miles and, at my turtle pace, should take around 6 months. I'll start in November at the end of the Monsoon season in SE Asia and, hopefully, get to Beijing in May before the suffocating smog and heat make it impossible to enjoy this great city. Everything in-between is, somewhat, up in the air.
Over the summer, I put out a call for companions and a few people expressed interest. Kathryn, aka the Baglady, bought an airline ticket. She also rides a recumbent trike and we should be quite the sight on the roads of Asia. We are both experienced travelers having each done many solo trike trips. Kathryn is also an avid hiker and has, impressively, completed the Appalachian trail. Although traveling solo is very rewarding, I feel like having company will quiet some of the anxiety of traveling. During the rough patches we'll have someone to turn to as well as someone to share the beauty with. Even though I've never had any trouble traveling solo, I know my friends and family are very relieved that Kathryn is joining me. We have been conversing through Facebook and phone over the last couple of months. It feels like we have similar travel styles and enjoy taking it slow. We'll assess each day as it comes without any concern for the number of miles ridden. I expect that 2 trikes will attract even more attention than one. We will be meeting a lot of people on this trip. 2 older women riding trikes through Asia - just the idea makes me smile.
I have spent the last 2 weeks in Los Angeles visiting with family and making last minute preparations for the trip. Flying to Asia from Los Angeles is easy and usually means there is only one connection. I'll be flying Eva Air with a stop in Taipei. As with all my international flights, I won't be putting Myrtle in a box. Since my new trike folds, I'll take the seat off, fold the trike and put bubble-wrap where ever I foresee any chances for damage.
Even though I've never had any problems or damage to the trike from air travel I'm always super nervous and looking for any advantage. It occurred to me that if the airlines were dealing with a mobility device they might take extra care. After considerable conversation on the BROL (bentrideronline) trike message boards, I've added 2 disabled placards. I was advised by a disabled rider who regularly flies with a trike to take my extensive injuries seriously to make traveling just a bit easier. Essentially, she gave me permission to use the disabled placards relieving me of any guilty feelings that I might be committing a serious faux pas. The airlines are not allowed to asked about a disability - all you have to do is claim it. This triker also suggested I refer to the trike as a racing wheelchair. This will make more sense to non-riders than calling it a recumbent tricycle. I'll be getting to the airport an hour earlier than required to give the baggage people more time to deal with the trike. On all my flights this extra time has been greatly appreciated.
I am especially eager to try out my new trike and leaner body. I've taken 60 lbs off my body reaching all the weight loss goals I set to achieve before starting this tour. Since we won't be camping, my gear kit will also be lighter. Moto-Myrtle on my last tour weighed about 160 lbs with the motor, batteries, Cargo Monster, gear and water. My new Myrtle weighs about 75 lbs loaded with gear and water. That is a difference of 145 lbs that I'm leaving behind for this tour which should make everything remarkably easier.
Woohoo - Singapore, here we come!