Three continents. Twenty countries. Ten thousand kilometres.

One 30-something who deeply regrets not doing any training.

“A ‘bummel’, I explained, I should describe as a journey, long or short, without an end … We nod and smile to many as we pass; with some we stop and talk awhile; and with a few we walk a little way. We have been much interested, and often a little tired. But on the whole we have had a pleasant time, and are sorry when it’s over.”

 

— Jerome K. Jerome, ‘Three Men on the Bummel’ —

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I am a journalist from London, and on July 29th 2015 I set off on an ill-advised 12-month cycle trip through Europe and the Middle East.

 

My aim is threefold: cultivate a pair of toned, shapely calves that will be the envy of all I meet; survive; and shed light on a region long misunderstood and misrepresented in the West.

 

For those expecting a feat of athletic majesty, my apologies in advance. Even salvaging a little dignity will be a challenge, let’s be honest. There will be tears, sweat and tantrums — not to mention fully fledged cheating if there’s the slightest chance I’ll get away with it.

 

In short, it will be a classic bummel (please see above): meandering, wayward and sluggishly satisfying. Which is how I’d probably describe myself in a personal ad, come to think of it. For your part, all I ask is that you try to use the wonderful word ‘bummel’ as much as possible in everyday conversation to help it finally achieve the recognition it deserves.

 

Please do follow my progress if you wish, via my blog, Twitter feed or GPS tracker. Or simply wait to marvel at my incredible pins on my return.

 

UPDATE! On Monday, June 20th, I finally made it to Azadi Square, Tehran: my final destination. Watch my late-night arrival in the city here, five hours later than planned and with a flat front tyre after a tortuous 160km bummel through the desert.

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