Republic of Ireland (Summer 1998 for about 10 days)
This was my first touring trip: It rained most of the time, but I really enjoyed it nevertheless. Took a ferry to Rosslare (East of Ireland) and cycled to Killarney (South West of Ireland) via the following towns:
Rosslare, Kilmore, Bridgetown, Carrick, Wellington Bridge, Ballyhack, Waterford, Dungarvan, Youghal, Midleton, Cork, Macroom, Inchigeelagh, Ballingeary, Killarney.
Also did a couple of circular rides: from Ballingeary; and from Killarney to the gap of Dunroe. Took a train back to Rosslare.
California, U.S.A. (3/6/99 - 20/6/99)
This was good trip - my first time outside of Europe. We flew to Los Angeles, spent a day cycling around the city: from Inglewood up to Hollywood and along Venice beach, then after missing our intended bus to Bakersfield decided to take a bus to Merced which is inland of San Fransisco. From there we cycled East over the Sierra Nevada mountain range (through the Ysoimite national park and over the Tioga pass (10,000ft)) to Mono Lake and then South to Mamouth lakes and finishing in Bishop where we took a bus back to Los Angeles. We did a cracking bit of mountain biking (with luggage) close to Mammoth mountain down a track called "rocky creek".
Spain (Summer 2000 for 2 weeks)
Flew to Madrid, then cycled south to Ciudad Real via Toledo. There was a heat wave at the time and it was unbearably hot so we took a bus south east down to Murcia. From here we traveled along the Costa del Sol (horrible), then we went up into the Sierra Nevada mountains, which was the best part of the trip, before coming back down to the coast and flying out of Malaga. On the whole the trip was a bit of a disappointment - it just did not compare to California.
South Africa and Lesotho (30/12/2001 - 17/01/2002)
I flew out to Johannesburg, South Africa and then took a flight in a light aircraft to Maseru, Lesotho. Lesotho is a small mountain kingdom landlocked by South Africa. I cycled through Lesotho via "Blue Mountain Pass (2634m), Mantsonyane, "Mokhoabong Pass (2880m)", Mokhotlong, "Sani Pass (3000m)". I stayed in the highest pup in Africa on the Sani Pass and then crossed the boarder into South Africa and made a massive descent out of the mountains via an amazing dirt track to Underberg. From here I took a lift in the back of a pick up to Pine Town which is on the outskirts of Durban. I then cycled up to St. Lucia on the coast and then doubled back to Richards bay and flew out to Johannesburg and then home. This was my first time in a developing country and arriving in Maseru was quite a shock. After I realized that just because somebody is dressed in rags and lives in a shack made of flattened out oil drums and other bits of scrap, it does not necessarily mean they are less honest than anybody else, I started really enjoying myself. The whole of Lesotho was amazing.
Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile (29/06/2003 - 2/12/2003)
A 4000 mile trip through the Andes. Highest pass: 5059m. Most difficult section: Cycled across the largest salt lake in the world - Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and through the deserts of the Eduardo Avora national Park and into Chile (on one section I had to carry 5 days worth of food and water (21.5 liters), and most of the time I was riding in soft sand). I climbed to the peak of Huayna Potesi (6000m) near La Pas, Bolivia with ropes and crampons up ice walls and across crevasses, and hiked along the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. The trip of a lifetime.
Me in the steam engine graveyard Uyuni, Bolivia.
Morocco (29/12/2004 - 15/01/2005)
Cycled from Maracesh across the High Atlas mountains to Oarzazate and back again in a circular route. Short but sweet (6 days of riding).