On Thursday evening OC Angus Young (Loveday) regaled the Tom Avery Society with a talk, which essentially boiled down to “what I did in my holidays”.

‘A Mechanical Nomad: Across Central Asia by Bike’ told the tale of how Angus used a competitive travel award to fund a solo and unsupported cycle ride across 5000km of Asia from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.  Apart from the inevitable flat tyres, lack of actual road, pick pockets, filtering fetid puddles in the Gobi desert, broken panier racks  and encounters with wolves, he left us with three main messages:

  • about the generosity of the communities he journeyed through and of his fellow travellers.  On one leg of his journey he managed not to have to feed himself for ten consecutive days due to the superfluity of watermelons,  dumplings, drinks and flat bread.  No mean feat for a hungry twenty year old burning through five to six thousand calories a day.
  • serendipity. It is amazing how often help magically appears (but remember fortune favours the prepared mind…)
  • planning is a good thing, but it will always need to be flexible as conditions on the ground are rarely what are expected.

The epic journey and talk were successfully completed, after one month and 40 minutes respectively, leaving time for many enthusiastic questions and a consideration of the trusty bike which had been brought along as witness to the tale.

Dr SAH Young
Head of Outdoor Education