Lanxess AG : 17.000 kilometers, 43 punctures, 3 new tires, 1 new spoke and thousands of impressions.
11/16/2011| 05:41am US/Eastern
2011-11-16 | Company News
17.000 kilometers, 43 punctures, 3 new tires, 1 new spoke
and thousands of impressions.
After an epic journey through Europe and Asia Jon Lee and
Micheil Gordon received a very warm welcome at their
destination in Hong Kong. We talked to them after they
crossed the finishing line
HongKong - LANXESS: Welcome to Hong Kong! You finally
arrived after 17.000 Kilometers. How do you feel?
We feel extremely happy and excited to have completed our
dream of cycling all the way to Hong Kong. Finally arriving
and seeing our friends and family for the first time in
nearly 9 months has been an exceptional feeling!
LANXESS: On your journey you have travelled across "exotic"
countries like Usbekistan and Turkmenistan. Did you ever
have situations where you had a bad experience?
Yes. Throughout Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan the quality of
food was a problem. Food poisoning became such a regular
occurrence we began a strict diet of bread and snickers,
the only two types of food we knew would not make us
sick! We must comment that the people we met along the
way in these "exotic" countries were only kind, helpful,
friendly and welcoming.
LANXESS: Can you put your trip into some figures?
In total it was 259 days of cycling, a total stretch of
almost 16.000 kilometers, 43 punctures, 3 new tires, 1 new
spoke and thousands of impressions.
LANXESS: On your journey you must have seen some pretty
amazing things. Could you list your three highlights of
To experience the hospitality of both the Turkish and
Iranian people was a major highlight of our trip. To
experience such generosity and kindness beyond anything we
thought possible from complete strangers was very
While cycling through the Taklimakan desert we felt
privileged to be travelling through areas only seen by a
select few. One camp side that stands out was when we made
camp in a cluster of sand dunes and ate our dinner on top
of a dune as the sun set across the desert scenery. This
was a moment that reminded us why we set out by bike!
Cycling along the edge of the Pamir Mountains, some of
which have peaks of over 7000m was a day to remember. We
followed the mountain line for the whole day and we could
not draw our eyes off these monsters soaring up into the
sky and dripping with snow. The scenery was so dramatic
that at times we mistook the peaks of these mountains for
clouds. We ended the day with a 3736m pass before a long
downhill stretch to the Chinese border.
LANXESS: Which were the weirdest places you stayed at and
who where the most interesting people you met?
In the Iranian desert between Tehran and Mashhad we spent
many nights camping underneath the motorway bridges. A
strange place to be, but relatively sheltered from the wind
and not visible from the road. These bridges were often
quite cramped and also hot as the concrete radiates the
heat from the day but one of the safer options.
Throughout the trip the reaction we have received from
children has always been great fun. Particularly in the
rural communities we would often be chased by 10-20
children running, laughing, shouting, and waving at us.
This was always a great moral booster. We were also amazed
in China to find that many of these children spoke a small
bit of English which was quite refreshing and a surprise to
have an eight year old translating for us!
LANXESS: Your bicycle tour served a purpose: Collecting
money for "WaterAid". How much did you collect in the end
and what is going to happen with the money?
We have raised 18,520pounds to date although our
fundraising is still very much going on and we hope to
reach our original goal of 20,000pounds within the next
month. The money will fund projects in communities making
sustainable means of providing creating safe drinking
water, sanitation and hygiene education. WaterAid use local
resources and local people to implement these systems to
make this sustainable and financially efficient.
LANXESS: After such a journey it will be difficult to
settle back into your "real" life, I can imagine. What are
your plans for the future?
(Jon) After spending a few weeks back at home catching up
with family and friends, I shall move to Austria and find
work teaching English. After the work in the schools back
in February I am keen to work again with children as I
found the response very rewarding and having spent a year
living in Innsbruck I have decided to return here to enjoy
the mountain life.
(Micheil) At the moment I plan to come back to China in
January, this time to Shanghai. My tutor from University
has recently taken a job at a Shanghai University and
kindly offered me a place working with her on a variety of
sustainability projects. With the Mandarin I have been
learning during the long hours on the bike I will have
small a head start!