Today we are traveling with Grum from Grum Goes Global.
I am a 61 year old Grandfather of five, Father of two, married to the wonerfully understanding, Juliet, and from Hanmer Springs New Zealand. I have been a Physical Education Teacher, run my own Outdoor Education Centre, Managed an Outdoor Education Centre for a Trust, owned an Events Management business, and been a Hiking Guide for the last twelve years. Right now, I’ve given all that away and am having a 900 day adventure, cycling a circuit of the globe. And that’s what my blog is all about, reporting into my family, friends and followers, about my adventure.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
I’m a Cycle Tourist/Adventurer. I’ve traveled lots of different ways, but for me, this is as pure as it gets. A challenge every day, an adventure every day. Breathing, drinking and soaking in the experiences of the country I’m cycling through.
What’s inside your panniers? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry.
My one luxury item is a fold up chair, great for lifting you off the ground, away from those pesky insects, spiders and stuff, when you’re cooking, or just trying to chill after a hard day in the saddle. Anything else that is not needed or used regularly gets chucked away, or given to locals. No sense in carting unnecessary weight. So my panniers have only the essentials, a dry set of clothes, tent, sleeping bag, cooker, spare parts and tools for the bike.
From New Zealand to? How long are you planning to stay on the road?
Today was day 600 since leaving home. My wife has given me 900 days, so 300 to go.My wife has given me 900 days, so 300 to goClick To Tweet
Which country was the easiest for traveling by bicycle?
Any country can be easy or hard to cycle. You set your pace. If it’s hot or too cold perhaps you cycle shorter distances. Perhaps your route takes in hilly terrain, but you still want to do the kms. This makes it harder. It’s all a matter of mind set. If you’ve got the right clothes, taking in the right amounts of food and water, it doesn’t matter what the weather does. It may be uncomfortable, but that’s part of the challenge. You can always pitch your tent, or duck out of the weather into a hotel. I’ve ducked out of both heat, and cold, into a hotel room. I’ve also ducked into them as a relief from being pestered by the local population.
Which country was the hardest for traveling by bicycle?
Every country has good and bad roads Mekong Delta in Vietnam was gloriously flat, but really interesting weaving between canals, taking ferries, and riding alongside paddy fields. But in the Northwest, the Vietnam roadworks were taxing and the hills were tough. But the villages amazing, and the scenery and views, awesome.
India and Nepal were very hot, but I also cycled in snow in both countries. Myanmar and Indonesia had some really rough roads, but the people were amazing.
Traffic in India was at times horrendous, but the hospitality of the people was amazing.
How many kilometers do you usually ride per day? How many hours? What´s your budget?
On days when I cycle, I average about 100km. But I plan on an average of 60km per day. This allows for rest days. Accounting for delays, like 29 days in Dushanbe Tajikistan, waiting for a visa, and 30 days trekking in Nepal. My average kms per day over the 600 since leaving home, is 54km per day. I never know what the time is, so don’t know how many hours I cycle per day, perhaps between 5 and 7 hours.
I budget for round $30 a day. In Asia this was very easy. In Europe it’s a little harder.I budget for round $30 a dayClick To Tweet
What are you using for the route GPS or maps?
I use Maps.Me app on my phone. In some areas I’ve also carried a paper map, but just for getting an overview and route planning.
Traveling alone or with someone? Why?
I’m usually traveling alone with no friends. Now my wife Juliet is joining me in Rome, the fourth time she has joined me. I also had friends cycle with me in parts of Indonesia and Nepal and India. I’ve also teamed up with other cyclists a couple of times for a week or so. Sometimes it gets a bit lonely, but everyone has different itineraries, priorities, schedules. And it’s part of the adventure and challenge for me. Can I last the distance?
Which country did you find the most hospitable people?
Iran. The people are amazing. I was there 30 days. I camped three times, had three nights in hotels. Every other night, I was scooped off the streets and invited for meals and offered a bed. I was give food, so much that I couldn’t carry it all. AMAZING.
How is a day in your life when you aren’t traveling?
Rest, eat, sleep, mending and maintenance. And then maybe a wander around the city, not to see sights, but to soak in the atmosphere.
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
I have always enjoyed challenging others, as a teacher, instructor, event organizer, guide. But I also need to challenge myself. I also believe you should follow your dreams, but sooner rather than later. In two years I will be the oldest male ever in my family. I want to ensure I’ve done some of the things I’ve dreamt about while I’m still healthy enough to enjoy them. And when ever I’ve traveled before, I’ve always wondered what was happening down there, beneath the airplane. Now I’m finding out. And it’s fun.
Can you tell us about your longest trip?
About ten years ago, I organised a trip for a group of friends. We cycled from Lhasa in Tibet to Kathmandu in Nepal. 1000km, over ten passes higher than 5000m. Pretty awesome. That trip helped me realise just what was possible on a bike, wetted my appetite for more.
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? and why?
Tibet was more than awesome. The people, the culture, the food, the altitude, the scenery, the weather, the challenge, the company. It’s too hard to describe. You just have to go and experience it yourself on a bicycle.
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
After eight months eating rice three times a day! A loaf of fresh white bread is amazing 🙂
Has there been any challenging and bad moments?
Cycling in Turkey, within 10km, I was attacked by four mobs of dogs. Very very scary, and not something I want to repeat. I yelled, screamed and cursed, and rode like blazes to get away.
What has been you favorite destination on all the trips you’ve done?
I love Nepal! Especially after a stint in India, but my very favourite country to travel in, is New Zealand.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping? What’s the best? .
I camped in a cotton field one night, after dark. Did you know cotton fields are wet?
My tent on a quiet deserted beach, with the sound of the surf rolling up the beach.
After this trip do you already have a new trip in mind?
Juliet and I want to cycle from Alaska to Argentina. Maybe in a couple of years. Be great to share an adventure with my wonderful lady.
Is there something that you miss while traveling?
Juliet, and marmite (NZ type).
How do you finance your trips?
While I’m travelling, I rent my house. If I stay below my $30 a day budget, I’m actually saving money.
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveller should I interview next?
Steve Fabes from Cycling the 6.
Amazing story Grum, thanks for your time!
Now that’s what you call incredible – a story of a cyclist over 60 years old. Another great example of how age doesn’t matter when dealing with new and adventurous things. Let us know how you felt about this story in the comments below!
If you want to read more bicycle stories, take a look at my bicycle trip from Spain to Norway, 5 months and 10 000 kilometers. Or read Patrick Martin Schroeder story who’s been traveling more than 130 countries by bicycle.