Topics:  bicycle, europe, riding, tandem, travel

Where there's a Will, theres a ...

Laura Hegarty, Ashley Weyman-Jones and Will stopped roadside in Herefordshire, England.
Laura Hegarty, Ashley Weyman-Jones and Will stopped roadside in Herefordshire, England. Contributed

FORGET planes and cruise ships, when Laura Hegarty and Ashley Weyman-Jones decided to travel the world they did it on a tandem bicycle.

Laura, a former ABC journalist, and surveyor Ashley set off on a transcontinental tour of Europe and Asia on a green two-seater bicycle called Will, complete with weather-battered tent and a paraglider in tow.

"The idea for this journey really started at the window of a real estate shop," Ashley said.

"We took one look at the ridiculous six-figure numbers they were asking for a small apartment in the city and thought we'd rather live in our tent for two years. So we quit our jobs, put our furniture in storage and took off on our bike."

Four months later, they have travelled more than 5500km through England, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia.

Now riding through Croatia, the cyclists plan on crossing Bosnia and Montenegro and eventually taking in the sights of another 16 countries before returning to home soil in 2014.

The adventurers said it was hard to choose the highlights of their trip so far.

"We can't say that one country, city or place has been better than any other," Laura said.

"We have good and bad times, but often it's the small things that make our day: roads with plenty of verge, warm showers, the generosity of complete strangers and a full stomach at the end of the day.

"The weather has at times been our greatest enemy.

"We had almost three weeks of solid rain crossing the Alps.

"Getting to the top of a tall mountain doesn't give you the same sense of accomplishment when all you can see are misty grey clouds at the top.

"Sleeping in a wet tent has very little appeal. The rain can also make the roads slippery and caused us to crash coming down a mountain.

"We are now waiting for some ferocious winds to die down near Split, Croatia."

But the good times far outweigh the bad.

"We love waking up every morning and knowing we don't have to go to work and we don't have bills to pay," she said.

"We get up and we pedal. We eat when we're hungry, sleep when we're tired and live in the present.

"We're learning so much about the world."

To read more about Laura and Ashley's cycling and paragliding adventures, visit their blog on http://www.theflyingcyclists.com.



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