Can the Bicycle Save the World?

There were 45 of us, brave souls all. Under an optimistic blue sky, we stood with our bicycles on the shores of the Bosporus on the Asian side of Istanbul, posing for the camera, helmets strapped on. The date, August 4th, 2007. In 15 minutes, we would embark on what some regarded as an impossible, even a foolish, expedition — a 10,700 km journey that followed the legendary Silk Road. A three and one- half month trek across Asia, ending in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Difficult? Certainly. Foolish? Perhaps. Impossible? Not a chance.

Indeed, it was not the first such epic bicycle journey that I had undertaken. In January 15, 2003, I and 32 other adventurous spirits embarked on the inaugural run of the Tour d’Afrique — from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa in 120 punishing days.

That very first day, in the shadow of the Pyramids, the question I posed to myself was: ‘can this really be done’? Can we cycle every meter — later acronymed and defined as EFI or (Every F…ing…

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