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17 November 2011
In 2004 two Estonian students started a tradition of doing bicycle trips around Europe. By 2010 all the countries in Europe apart for the select few had been visited and the university studies were completed as well. It was the perfect time to go further, to gather inspiration for future life and to continue the tradition. So a few months before the set departure date for the around the world trip two Martins showed up at the doors of Estonian Scott dealer Hawaii Express and told their rather amusing story of their desire to make the trip on Scott bicycles. The guys had been using Scott bikes for all the previous yearly trips and hadnt let the fact that the carbon frame of one of the bikes never supported panniers... instead they had made their own out of wood. However going around the world was quite a bit more serious project than trottling around in your own backyard that is Europe and for that some serious improvements were needed. Together Martins and the Hawaii Express team set out to work on the bikes. The core of the bike was 2010 model of Scott Sportster P2. It was desirable not to have the fanciest bike nor the lightest but the most robust whilst not sacrificing on quality. When the choice of the bicycle was made came the customization ranging from handlebars, saddles, panniers etc. And then the deadline they had come. On 10th of July 2010 Martins set out on their journey from the central square of Tallinn where relatives, friends and media waved them off. Two and a half months later they had reached Lissabon. Having diagonally cut through Europe from the north-east to south-west. And there was the ocean. To make the journey more epic they opted to try to cross it on water rather than in the skies. After a week of running through shipping agencies in Lissabon they did not succeed in toppling the local shipping bureacracy. However they heard about a ARC regatta starting from Las Palmas and going to St.Lucia in carribean. So they went to Africa. Cycling through stints of Sahara desert. When they reached the city of Laayoune which is also the capital of West-Sahara – a country fighting for its independence from Morocco, they were barely let into the city as the city was engulfed in riots and rebel activity. After having seen the sky get black from all the burning of rubber tires and hearing the sirens and occasional shots they cycled on to the ferry which only left once a week. In Las Palmas the idea of hithcing a ride on a sailboat was a very popular one amongst the adventurous youth. Martins faced a bit tougher task having to also get their bicycles across. A week of haggling in the local hotspot which was the Sailors bar had produced quite an akward solution. One sailboat to take Martin`s on a one month sailing voyage and another to do the same for the bikes. As the boat with the bikes crossed a few weeks later Martin`s had to sit in carribean island of Martinique to wait for their aluminium friends – never had the waiting been so enjoyable. Luck followed them and just days after receiving the bikes and celebrating christmas and new year they found another and bigger sailboat to take them on another month voyage through all the islands all the way to Fort Lauderdale. In U.S they went from Fort Lauderdale through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington and then on to Canada and British Columbia. In the process racking up another 9000 km. Martin`s still look back with awe at the American nature as Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe and Oregon coast were all something to cherish and remember. And then back to Eurasia. This time with a plane from Vancouver to Beijing. On to Mongolian plateau and then through Mongolia itself with its non-existant roads. Both bikes had to have their rims changed and considering the weight on the bikes it was a miracle that they did not break down in the middle of nowhere in that most sparsely populated country in the world. And then came Russia. The country so vast that looking at your progress on the map after a days journey is pointless and after a weeks one still insignificant. After the Baikal region Russia proved to be quite repetative all the way until the Ural mountains got crossed. Surprisingly Martins reported that crossing the latter mountainrange wasnt nearly as serious as crossing for example the Sierra-Nevadas. But after the Urals it was Europe again and with that knowledge the additional power flowed into the feet and the daily mileage increased even further at an average of over a 110km per day by then. Through Moscow and then the last 1000km to Tallinn and back to the central square and just as they had started they finished at 12 o`clock with their healths and bikes intact and their spirits high. Ready for your next bike trip? Check the entire Sportster line here >