Lauri and Antti, two 20-year-old students are out there somewhere, cycling around the world. We built them bikes for the journey and follow their journey with enthusiasm. Here's a brief talk we had with the guys before they took off.
How did you came up with the idea of cycling around the world?
Lauri: The idea came originally from a book about a worldwide sailing trip, and after that I wanted to know what kinds of different ways have been used traveling the world. Turns out, people have been walking, cycling and using all kinds of vehicles. Since then, I've wanted to travel the world with a bike and after finishing school it was possible.
How do you know each other? Have you got any previous experience of bike traveling?
Lauri: We first met at high school. Antti has been cycling in Estonia with a one-wheel bike, and I've done a three-month trip through the Baltic countries, Poland, Germany, UK, Ireland and France.
What kind of expectations you have from this forthcoming world tour?
Lauri & Antti: We don't expect too much, but we also don't have any prejudicions. We've heard some negative reviews of the east, but we're looking for meeting the ordinary people and culture beyond tourism.
Traveling the world on a bicycle isn't a thing for everyone. Are you nervous?
L & A: Not that much, but of course there's some positive excitement. As we sleep in a tent, there's a chance that we encounter some wild animals, but hopefully nothing serious.
How much you've planned the route before, and how do you navigate?
L & A: We've looked at the map on a bigger scale, but nothing too detailed yet. We've decided to avoid Moscow and navigating is done old-school with a map and a compass. Eventually we probably have to purchase maps pretty often, because the trip is very long and local maps do not cover vast distances.
So how long do you estimate you need to go around the world?
L & A: The first goal is to reach China in about four months. We will spend three months cycling Russia, then one month through Mongolia to China. After that we don't have specific plans, but we'd like to maybe go to Alaska. Also, one of the goals would be to visit every continent.
We don't have the resources to just cycle until the end, so we need to stop somewhere to work and save money for the remainder of the trip. One idea is to stay in Australia for maybe half of a year and find a job.
What kind of budget you have for the first part of the trip?
L & A: We sleep in tents and cook our own meals, so it will be very low budget traveling. We intend to use approximately ten euros per day for food and necessary items.
Does either of you speak Russian?
L & A: No, but we've studied some basic words and sentences and the Cyrillic alphabet. Body language works if there's no other mutual language.
Lauri is riding a Pelago Stavanger and Antti rides Pelago Airisto. Both bicycles are equipped with Tubus racks, Ortlieb bags and Brooks saddles. You can follow Lauri's and Antti's journey at www.riversanddeserts.com. Every now and then you can also find their photos in our instagram feed.