Could You Cycle 1,000 Miles Quiz?

I’d like to break this down into a simple, two question quiz.

Question 1

Can you ride a bicycle?

Question 2

If you answered no to question 1, are you willing / able to learn to ride a bicycle?

The result

If you answered yes to either question 1 or question 2, then yes you are capable of cycling 1,000 miles (about 1,600 km). And beyond.

A couple of months ago, I cycled 1,000 miles from England to Slovakia on an old bicycle. Lots of people emailed their appreciation and for that I am grateful. However, (if you want to) you can do it too. Here are some things that you may not have known about my bicycle journey to show how very possible it is for you.

I Had Never Even Fixed a Puncture

When I left, I knew nothing about bicycles. Whenever I had a problem in the past, I let someone else fix it. During my journey, through trial and error, I learnt to fix most parts of my bike: I repaired the brakes, adjusted the gears, replaced the cranks and pedals, fixed punctures, and replaced inner tubes by simply figuring out how to do it. Having an old bike meant that this was ‘relatively’ simple.

I Had Never Cycled More Than 4o Miles

And that was only during a charity bike ride when I was a teenager. Throughout my life I have used bikes as a practical means of transport, but that normally involved a ten minute bike ride twice a day at most. Setting off on this cycle ride was far more ambitious than anything I had ever attempted before.

I Planned Little More Than Reaching Slovakia

Except for knowing where I would take the ferry (Harwich to Hook of Holland), I knew nothing about my route. We planned it as we went, sometimes finding ourselves climbing tiny mountain paths, but despite this, we made it.

My Bicycle Cost £30 and My Panniers Were Cool-Boxes

You do not need a mountain of fancy / expensive equipment. I bought my bike from an old guy in a neighbouring village and made panniers using cheap cool boxes. This may not have been the fastest / most efficient way to cycle 1,000 miles, but it works and I wasn’t in a hurry.

I Didn’t Pay for Accommodation

Each night, we slept outside and very occasionally, in the homes of strangers (people we met on the road or through CS). To sleep outside and cook food in nature was a very freeing experience and only once did we get in trouble for doing such a thing.

I Don’t Speak Languages

We cycled through Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria before reaching Slovakia. I know nothing of these languages. Despite this, I met lovely people who made my journey more pleasant. Many of them spoke English and when they didn’t, we communicated in gestures.

My ‘Training’ Was a 200m Ride Around My Village

When the bike was semi-loaded, my mother suggested that I do a trial ride. I got on my bicycle, cycled up the road, then back down it without falling off. This was the only physical training / preparation that I did for this journey.

My Main Fuel Was Desire

Whether it’s (lack of) money, experience, or anything else, if you can ride a bike, there is nothing to stop you having your own long distance bicycle adventure. I’m not super fit, I didn’t train.. I’m just like you. And if bicycles aren’t your thing, why not walk?

Adventures are not just for ‘professionals’ so if you have a desire to do something (anything, really, anything that makes you excited), jump… get out into the world and do it. The only thing that is stopping you, is you.

If you do ‘something,’ it feels GREAT.

By | 2013-12-08T18:20:08+00:00 October 20th, 2013|Thoughts and Inspiration, UK to Slovakia on £30 Bikes|12 Comments


  1. Alonso 26/09/2015 at 21:33 - Reply

    I am so glad I found this! I plan to ride next year with a small group about 700 miles from Oregon in the United States to Los Angles in southern California. It is quite a trip being 1400+ miles in total. How long did it take you to cover 1000 miles? How many miles did you do a day?

  2. TOMASO 12/01/2015 at 23:32 - Reply

    Hi Jamie,

    since I discovered your website I realized that nothing is impossible if you really want it, so I decided to cycle from Manchester to Trieste (home) this summer.
    Just me, my bike (that I’m going to buy in Manchester), a tent, for the night, and the road.
    This is going to be my very first adventure since that I have never cycled more than 30 km, and that I have never slept in a tent.
    All my friends are telling me that I wil never reach my goal because I’m not an expert cyclist. And every time they do that I show them the COULD YOU CYCLE 1,000 MILES QUIZ.

    This website is the best font of inspiration ever.

    • Jamie 13/01/2015 at 06:43 - Reply

      Thank you so much Tomaso. I fully believe that you will reach your goal and have an amazing adventure. Please let me know how you get on. My advice: Pedal once, do it again, repeat! When I started journey, I don’t know if I had even cycled 30km.

  3. Josh 27/11/2013 at 04:19 - Reply

    Hey Jamie,

    I left my home city on a bicycle back in the beginning of July, very unprepared, with 40 lbs of gear. The only thing of value was a tent & knife, plus some spare tubes. The rest I sent home 2 days in, and for the next 6000 plus kilometers I slowly added the gear I needed. I bought a sleeping bag (too proud for one before I left), wool and fleece clothing, I got a portable stove free, and some panniers for my bicycle to carry the stuff in (I had a backpack before).

    I love how you left with just raw enthusiasm! The best way to learn is through experience. Besides, most people who try to give you advice are so de-attached from nature they think a cotton sweater will keep you warm at night.

    • Jamie 28/11/2013 at 20:05 - Reply

      Overpacking is all too easy at times. But what a wonderful adventure it sounds like you had, wow. And that is often right about the advice givers: I find people who try to give advice often do their best to keep nature outside their apartment let alone experience it themselves (it is very dirty after all).

  4. Sarah 20/10/2013 at 11:50 - Reply

    Awesome article. Bit upset though because I was looking forward to doing a quiz.. 🙁 jk 🙂 Makes me want to do this! Maybe if I find a similarly crazy friend 😀 Hope you keep having adventures for a long time!!!!

    • Jamie 26/10/2013 at 15:36 - Reply

      Go for it! If I make up a ‘real’ quiz, would that persuade you?!

      • Sarah 26/10/2013 at 23:05 - Reply

        Maybe… 😀 I do love a good quiz! My biggest concern is safety… how did you plan for it on the road?

        • Jamie 27/10/2013 at 00:39 - Reply

          I tried my best not to fall off my bicycle, avoided drinking urine (even when I was really thirsty), and didn’t eat red berries..

  5. Alyson 20/10/2013 at 11:43 - Reply

    Totally with you Jamie. We all believe we need to buy stuff and pay other people to do stuff for us to make us better. Truth is, we’re all more than capable of a lot more than we realise. If we’d all just stop believing all the bullshit designed to take money ot of our pockets. Love your work. Alyson x

  6. George 20/10/2013 at 11:34 - Reply

    Couldn’t agree more. You are oh so very wise x

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