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Can We Push The Ashes Back a Couple of Months?

March 12, 2010

If I phoned up the International Cricket Council and asked them very politely to delay the start of The Ashes so that I could get to Brisbane in time, I think I know the response I would get.

Ever since I was delayed waiting for a package that took it’s time to make it’s way to me in the Middle East, I have been conscious that I am falling further behind my very loosely planned schedule – perhaps I should have done more research, but half the fun was setting off into the unknown. Having previously been excited about the African leg of the journey, I have found myself worrying that it will contribute to a rushed second half of the expedition.

Rushing around the world on a bike is not what my journey, Cycling To The Ashes, is about. I’m not good at rushing. So far I have been taking my time and I have got so much out of the people that I have met and the places I have seen. I am in Khartoum now, and if I stuck to my initial plan of cycling all the way to Mombasa before sailing to Mumbai I would certainly miss the Indian Premier League in India, during which I am hoping to piggyback on India’s zest for cricket, and, with help from expedition sponsors Betfair and Mongoose, organise some events to help with fundraising and awareness of the expedition. I would also possibly miss The Ashes.  

So I have made the difficult decision to get to Kenya as quickly as possible by any means so that I can cycle around fulfilling a few engagements at schools and cricket clubs there. I will be there for just over 2 weeks, before flying – thanks to main sponsor Betfair – across to Mumbai to begin the sub-continental leg of the journey at the beginning of April. India is a land of cricket lovers. My whole route was tailored towards being able to spend at least 2 months there discovering and enjoying their thirst for the game. From Mumbai I intend to head south-west until I hit the Indian Ocean. From there I will continue north up the east coast to Calcutta and beyond. I hope to make it to Bangladesh before the monsoon season makes cycling impossible. After Bangladesh I have another big decision to make because Myanmar doesn’t allow independent travellers in  by land, but I will tackle that problem when I come to it.

To add to my relative woes, while enjoying a game of 5-a-side football at the British Embassy in Khartoum last night I felt a twinge in my right thigh. Moments later I attempted an ambitious turn and shoot – I was never good at those. I felt the thigh go and hobbled off  the pitch to sat by the embassy pool pressing ice against the tear.

Twenty four hours later, and I am sitting in a house in Khartoum, sweating in the oppressive heat and feeling sorry for myself because of my temporary disability. But my mood was lifted earlier today. We are staying with five Eritrean girls who, 2 years ago, walked for 9 days and nights from a refugee camp close to the Eritrean border. One of the girls, Samha, a smiley, bubbly girl who speaks perfect English, was interviewed by the Australian government a while ago, and yesterday received the news that she has been waiting for. Her and her fiancee have been accepted for sponsorship to move to Australia. To see how happy she was after being told that she had the chance to make a new life was both inspiring and thought provoking. Her efforts, and those of her friends and family, serve to put my cycle ride into perspective.

So far I have cycled about 7,100kms through 15 countries, playing a form of cricket in all but Luxembourg, Slovakia, Jordan and Egypt. To say I’m enjoying myself would be an understatement. I am a little angry at myself because my cycle tracks, that have run almost constantly since London, will be broken before I reach Kenya. But I’m pretty sure I have made the right decision and there is to do is to look forward to the cycle across the sub-continent, South-East Asia and Australia. Only 18,000kms to go now!

I mentioned tortoises and other weird stuff in my last blog. More of that, and fantastic Sudan in my next blog. For now it’s goodbye from me though. Sorry about the lack of photos in this blog. I waited and waited for them to upload and they just wouldn’t. I hope the connection is better in Kenya.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicki permalink
    March 12, 2010 9:20 pm

    Difficult decision but sounds like you’re doing the right thing – and to be honest you could stop right now and it would still be the most amazing achievement! Proud of you Broomy, keep up the great work and look forward to hearing what you think of Kenya. Say hi to Karen (the suburb!) for me if you pass that way 🙂

  2. March 12, 2010 9:35 pm

    Hi Oli,

    You are playing a Test not a Twenty20 mate. Just play it one ball at a time and see how many wickets you’ve got left at the end.

    Keep it up – and feel proud that everyone is still following you.

    Cheers

    Barry and Julia

  3. Mum permalink
    March 12, 2010 11:56 pm

    I know how you’ve been struggling with this decision, but sometimes the hardest decisions turn out to be the best ones! Kenya awaits and then on to Australia! You must be there on time as we will be waiting for you. xxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Marian permalink
    March 13, 2010 1:00 pm

    Hard one that!! You are still experiencing far more than most of us will ever see, so make the most of it and just keep looking forwards. Enjoy.

    Marian and Liberty x x x

  5. max s permalink
    March 13, 2010 9:12 pm

    Mate its extraordinary progress to even have your bike working and lungs still pumping. Its the most inspirational journey to so many, a minor hop across a few kms is nadda. Can’t wait to hear how the next few continents go. Ps we re all turning thirty back at home which is terrifying but missing you to share the beers and tears ! M

  6. Annie permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:31 am

    tough decision ols but sounds like you’v made the right one. dave has an idea…so you can complete your tracks, take a little de-tour after australia and cycle the khartorum – nairobi leg?!
    glad you’re already loving kenya xxxx

  7. Richard Riordan permalink
    March 16, 2010 1:48 pm

    If you are late getting here Oli, you’ll probably be in better shape than your boys after Ricky and his boys have made a meal of them. Just keep going and know that it is OK to catch a lift or two along the way. Makes you appreciate the riding all the more!

  8. March 19, 2010 2:12 pm

    Iagree with barry and julie…..better to to play a chris tavare style innings rather than a chris gayle one! slow and steady old boy, slow and steady!!

    ps – got engaged last month!!! thougt about bringing the wedding forward to october this year so we could honetmoon in brisbane but all our venues are already booked alas.

    keep peddling!!
    Ed

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