My short bio: Hi everyone, my name is Patrick Martin, I'm a 29 year old cyclist from Germany. For the last 10 years I spend most of my time travelling, mostly by bike. I also hike, backpack and hitchhike, depending on the countries and tour I'm doing.

I often post on r/bicycletouring and do photo stories on Imgur. A couple of examples: My latest visit to India, seeing the root-bridges of Meghalay, Sri Lanka, or a month in the Middle East and, if you have a ton of time, going from Germany to Japan and back, which included the Trans-Sib railway in winter and the silkroad in summer.

I also cycled from Germany to South Africa, and from Argentina to Canada.

By now I've visited every country in Europe, in North, Central and South-America, Australia/NewZealand, all countries in Asia except 5 conflict zones, and half of Africa.

Please ask what you like, about budget, gear, routes... I love helping people get on the road. I'll stay and answer as long as questions are being asked. :)

My Proof:

You can find more info on my tours on my website;

a ton of pictures on Facebook

or tour updates on Twitter.


Meph aka Patrick Martin

Edit: Late at night here now; I'll head to bed but will be back tomorrow answering more questions. Keep them coming. :)

Edit: And back answering more questions. :)

Comments: 561 • Responses: 99  • Date: 

flammablepenguins28 karma

How much does your ass hurt from that much riding?

Meph24854 karma

Not at all. I'm Iron Ass.

amirbiskandar5 karma

Eisen Hintern?

Meph24858 karma

At least I've been told I have one.

Butt seriously, if you have good bike shorts and a good saddle, its not a huge issue unless you sit more than 10h on the bike in any given day.

lost_in_life_3419 karma

How many of them have you had sex in with the locals?

Meph24839 karma

Far less than you might assume, since sex-before-marriage is something almost exclusive to first world countries.

canadian198720 karma

How many wives do you have worldwide then?

Meph24817 karma

I was offered several marriages, I had to decline all of them. Mostly in third-world countries.

7h476uy18 karma

How do you afford to travel like that?

Meph24838 karma

I rent out a house in Germany, I program sometimes (more precisely I run a game mod), I get equipment sponsored by outdoor/bike companies; and I sometimes do odd jobs if they sound interesting.

Travelling like this is far, far cheaper than living in a first-world country.

McNasti10 karma

15 Bucks a day puts you at around 450 Euro per month give or take. Compared to here (also germany, Grüße aus Berlin!) Tjat is incredibly cheap.

Does this estimate account for traveling costs (such as crossing rivers on a boat) ? Or are those things counted in a an extra budget?

Do you have family? I could afford this style of living too but I think my fiancee and my dog wouldnt like it that much but im really jelly of your experience!

Meph24811 karma

That is my travel cost, minus occasional flights/boats. These are very rare though.

No pets, I did have a girlfriend for 5 years, who came with me, but we broke up, unrelated to travelling.

meon_bar13 karma

How much does all of your gear weigh including tent and food? How often do you restock with food and supplies?

Meph24813 karma

Restock several times a day.

My current setup is around 12kg, almost 4kg of that are electronics. I barely carry food, 2-3L of water and 1 meal, thats it. So with consumables I get to 15kg max.

Voltronlove11 karma

What country completely changed your opinion of it after having visited?

Meph24828 karma


I was really looking forward to it; I ended up disliking it a lot.

That is partly the governments fault with their strange laws, super-blocked internet and dislike of foreigners (like the travel policy for Tibet or visa policies), and partly my own fault. There is barely any English being spoken; there is not infrastructure for independent tourism, so it was up to me to learn Chinese and figure everything out.

If I would have put in more effort, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

Mulan_7 karma

That's interesting, I read this blog on a man who cycled the silk road in 2004 and was also disappointed by China.

Meph24811 karma

Happens. Other people love it. For example I liked HongKong a lot, Taiwan too... but the people spoke a lot more English there. The mix of better communication, a more open government and better infrastructure does it, I think.

AfroAnton10 karma

Do you have been robbed in one of the countries?

Meph24830 karma

Yes, a few months ago in Lebanon. A soldier (?) robbed me at gun point while camping.

I wrote a lengthy piece about it, but its on gofundme because I asked the internet for help. If you want, I can post the link but I dont want to make this AMA about fundraising.

TheDudeSA11 karma

Did he just take your money or like everything?

Meph24843 karma

All my cash, most of my electronics. Didnt find the laptop, which I pushed under my mattress. Worst was the HDD with my pictures, I lost a couple thousand photos... should have done a backup earlier.

ledzepnpizza8 karma

What is your diet? I spend more then $15 a day on just food.

Meph24815 karma

I eat anything. :D

Depends on the country and what I'm doing. If you are in India and a full meal costs between $1-3, its hard to spend $15 a day, even if you exclusively eat in restaurants.

I'm very German in my choice of cuisine usually. Lots of bread, muesli, energy bars...

Arthur___Dent7 karma

I'm currently doing research in India. The food is awesome here. Be honest, how many Samosas did you eat?

Meph24821 karma

All of them.

dylmye7 karma

What keeps you motivated?

Meph24818 karma

Different things, but I don't really believe that I need motivation to do this. It just happens to be something I love to do.

Some obscure countries are boring, yes; but for the most part its either fun or a challenge. I like challenges, for example the two Sahara crossings I did, or the camping in Siberia in winter.

Michafiel6 karma

How did you start? I'm an aspiring traveller too but just 18 years old. I'd love to travel the world but I don't know how to arrange it. This summer it wil lbe the first time I'll be going without my parents to Iceland and I'm absolutely hyped for it. You said you've been travelling for 10 years which means you started when you were just 19 years old. So first question:

  • 1: Hoe did you arrange it when you were younger?

Myself, I just bought a 75L backpack for a two-week groupvacation to Iceland, together with stuff like DEET, a fly bag etc.

  • 2: What are some accesoires you take with you that other might t forget or not think about?

Some random other questions:

  • 3: What is the best/worst unknwown food you ate while in a foreign country?

  • 4: What's your motivation?

I'm eager for you answers, I have been following you on Twitter and Facebook for a while and I love your stories and pictures :)

Meph24810 karma

I started when I was 19; my first trip was a 1-year round the world tour.

How did I arrange what exactly when I was younger? I had a huge backpack, like you, and tons of unnecessary stuff, and just went with trains through Europe, then buses through the Middle East, then in South East Asia it got a lot easier. Sorry, without a specific question I can't give any specific answer.

Gear: Here is my three-season gear list it includes everything I take for any tour, except deep winter.

Best food: Sushi in Japan (lots of unknown stuff on/in it), or grasshoppers fried with mint and soy sauce in Thailand.

Worst food: Ugali/Nschima in central Africa.

Motivation: I just like what I do, I don't need to be motivated. If I dont want to ride when I get up, I dont. If I do, I do. Its rather... simplistic. Only real deadlines I have to follow are visa timings.

Michafiel3 karma

I wasn't really looking for a specific answer, I just love to hear about travelling and other experiences.

That's a very big trip for such a young age though! You must've had an amazing time I can imagine. With arranging I also meant like, how did you arrange the money at such a young age, how did your support you in travelling that much at that age etc. etc.. Because I just started travelling without my parents, I'd love to hear what problems you encountered 10 years ago and how you solved them. :)

I will look into your album of packed stuff soon, it's kinda late but thanks for the long answer!

Meph2486 karma

I sold my Magic the Gathering card collection. I played professionally on tournaments, won money, invested in more cards, rinse repeat. In the end I sold it for almost 10k. And I saved the money from my military service. Thats how it started.

Szed5 karma

What's the most friendly place you've visited so far?

Meph24818 karma

Middle East... Sudan stands out, just like Iran.

Szed3 karma

Did any of the locals there or anywhere offer help with your journey such as food or water or offer to accompany you?

Meph24812 karma

I barely spend anything on the tour through Sudan, the locals constantly offered my accommodation, food and tea. I had to decline most of it, otherwise I'd still be there. :P

Same in Iran. You have to decline invitations to stay at someones house and have dinner with the family almost every day... or you agree every time, but you'd need to 3 month visa in that case, the 1 month I had wouldnt have been enough. ;)

Szed2 karma

Haha sounds like everyone was pretty welcoming and helpful :) I've got some more questions sorry :') I've got a friend who is going backpacking through Europe soon, I know you cycled but would you have any tips to offer? And have you had any troubles trying to across borders before?

Meph2485 karma

No tips without more infos. :P Europe has tons of countries and I dont even know what your friend likes.

Troubles with borders, yes. But only in Asia and Africa, the places with dictatorships and no tourism. Rest of the world is easy.

Sarting5 karma

What were the worst mechanical breakdown you experienced while riding about? And how were the natives during your breakdowns?

Meph24850 karma

I never had a complete wipe-out, but brakes, gears and hubs fail now and then. I once cycled 4000km with only 1 brake; or 3000km with only the front derailleur; which brought me down from 27 gears to only 3. It was fine.

The people are super friendly; if something happens, they help.

One very memorable occasion was in Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. I had a lot of punctures because I was riding off-road with 25mm road tires. One of my tubes of vulcanizing fluids was empty, the second one dried out in the heat. I had patches, but no glue, so to speak.

I had to walk with a flat tire through 20km of dirt track in the heat till I got to a village. 10-20 huts, no electricity, real bush. No cars in the area, locals come by on motorbikes or bicycles; obviously they have to know how to fix tires. They also speak Portuguese, which I can just barely understand.

They instantly knew what was going on and helped me fix it... with tree sap. They literally dragged a big branch of a special tree to the bike, cut it with a knife, and used the sap as glue to put my patches on the hole. I wish I'd taken any pictures, but I had other things on my mind back then. :D

AfroAnton5 karma


Meph24861 karma

Or because I do like cycling. And countries. And people.

thenewlove5 karma

How do you find your way around? What sort of maps do you use so you know a route is bike friendly?

Meph24812 karma

I have a Garmin GPS with maps from OpenStreetMaps, it's like wikipedia for maps.

I don't really care if a route is bike friendly, I take whats available. In many countries you only have a very limited selection of paved roads anyway.

thenewlove3 karma

Sure, I get that, but somewhere like India, unless you stay in Delhi or Mumbai or something, you could be miles and miles and miles from suitable accommodation. Do you camp, at all, or do you stick to big places you know you'll be able to stay somewhere in?

Meph2487 karma

I camp a lot. Big places are trouble for bike tourers and I dont know a single one that enjoys them.

Snoop_dawg5005 karma

Where do you sleep for the night? How long on average do you stay in one country?what country are you in currently?

Meph2486 karma

I think you double-posted, so I copy+pasted the answer:

I sleep either in a hostel, a hotel, my tent or with a couchsurfing/warmshowers host. When I camp, I stealth camp somewhere, I dislike camping sites.

Average stay is around 2-3 weeks, but it heavily depends on the country. Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein? 1 day each. Australia, Argentina, India, USA? 3+ months each.

I'm in Germany, my most recent tour was to India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. I'm currently planning my next step, which will be some mountaineering in the alps, before heading to West Africa in winter.

Snoop_dawg5003 karma

Do I delete this one?

Meph2484 karma

As you like, its your post. ;)

flammablepenguins4 karma

What is the worst thing a bird has done to you on this trip?

Meph2489 karma

Death glares from Cassowaries?

Nothing really; never got shit on, if thats your question. :D

Michafiel2 karma

Meph2485 karma

I saw penguins, but I'm sure they wouldnt appreciate being set on fire.


What are your go-to touring foods? Do you consider macro nutrition or calories?

Meph24813 karma


If you have long days and end up with 12h+ of riding time, each hour burning between 400-700 calories, plus your 2000-2500 base need... you end up with a daily requirement of almost 10000 calories.

So go with fats. Nuts, muesli, chocolate, peanut butter, energy drinks, chocolate milk, protein bars, carbs from pasta... sugar and coffein are always good to do a few extra KM, but obviously not a good long-term food source.

Day_stripper3 karma

How do you choose which country are you goint to go to next? Edit: How much time do you spend in each country?

Meph2485 karma

Good question.

I'm thinking about West Africa, because its a large region that eluded me so far. Other than that I'd have to fly a lot to get to islands... Safety is also important, I'm not going to Yemen or Iraq next.

Day_stripper1 karma

Are you going blind into each country? Or do you have your route/activity very planned beforehand?

Meph2484 karma


I read a lot about the history and the culture, and I know the maps very well; but I dont plan a specific route. I ride in, look around, talk to people, if I like it, I stay, if I dislike it, I ride on.

You really only need to plan the next couple of days; and within these days you plan to ones after that. Step by step.

Day_stripper2 karma

What are you going to do, when you'll ran out of countries?

Meph2485 karma

I can always visit the same country twice. :P I havent seen everything there is to see in each one.

But really, hobbies change, and I do love reading, programming and playing PC games; I might start writing or start my own company. I have lots of ideas, not enough time for all.

Day_stripper1 karma

Great to hear that! Thanks for Iama by the way. What region would you reccomend to fly to with the most attraction per square inch? Besides Europe.

Meph2482 karma

Legoland! :D Only place I could think of that has attractions measured in inches.

South East Asia for sure. Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia...

Marbi_3 karma

Have you tried to organize such trips for others ?

I know there is a niche in tourism for example, where one traveler which already visit a country organizes a trip with and for other 10-20 people to tag along and using his experience to guide the others.

Meph2484 karma

I did not try, but I would. The issue is the payment. People that want to do such independent tours are usually low-budget travellers; I'd feel bad for taking their money.

Marbi_3 karma

ask yourself if you would pay someone and maybe avoid that military person who robbed you at gunpoint at one time.

Meph2483 karma


Desert-Mouse3 karma

Most people aren't like you though. Which of course you know, or you wouldn't have sponsorship and interest in your travels.

Meph2483 karma

If I'd pay someone to plan my trip or camp with me, he/I would still have gotten robbed. ;)

Its hit or miss, and I had one bad experience like this out of thousands of good ones. The amount of hospitality I've gotten outweights the stolen items by far.

Sence3 karma

At what point did you decide you couldn't just wear regular clothes and had to upgrade to the ridiculous spandex outfit?

Meph2485 karma

At day 1?

Regular cloths offer too much wind resistance and no padding on your bum.

zealpeal3 karma

What do you think of people crowdfunding trips like yours? I know you are looking for donations, but what about people like Eric Hites "Fat Guy Across America" who seems to stay in motels more often than not and most def not on a $15/day budget.

Meph2483 karma

Tough question, but one of the better ones. :)

I did crowdfunding twice: Once travel related after I got robbed. I didnt get the idea myself, it was suggested by a fan on facebook. I thought I might as well give it a try, got 1000€ in 3 days, bought most of the missing gear back, and continued travelling. Very nice, I was glad that it helped.

I've been stolen from before, once my bike get stolen, another times 400€, another times some gear like a passport, camera, etc... but I always replaced that myself.

The second crowdfunding is a Patreon for my game modding, which has $120 in it for the content I produce, I think thats an entirely different thing.

I'm not into the big PR stuff where people "sell out" their tours. I mean... its strange to me that people pay for their tours. Once I met a Swiss guy, in his late forties. He had wealthy friends and sold post cards on the site: "Buy me a day and get a postcard, 45$", "Buy me a week and get two postcards, 315$". He didnt even spend 45$ a day, but got a lot more money that way than he spend on tour. His entire trip was for free, payed for by his friends.

On the one hand I think its a bit of a scam, on the other I'm a little bit envious. ;)

GalacticCow2 karma

I can imagine getting visas to restrictive countries like Belarus and North Korea (and a lot of the middle east countries) is really difficult. Any stories about troubles trying to get into or out of countries?

Meph2484 karma

Sure. Belarus only gave me a 48h transit visa; North Korea only with an organized tour group. Never been to Tibet since they dont allow independent tourists either.

Eritrea didnt give me a visa; and when I was in West Africa the borders were closed due to Ebola, I had to cut that loop short and never visited the Ivory Coast or Ghana.

Lots of silly things like this... but mostly Africa and Asia, the other continents are easy. Central Asia is tough, I had to rush through a lot due to how my visas were lined up; I could have done that a lot better.

pt_Hazard2 karma

Were you ever worried about being robbed or theft? Some of the lesser-traveled roads don't seem like the safest places. and where would you put your bags when you went to a restaurant or to sightsee? I get that you could lock up you bike but surely you didn't carry your supplies around all the time.

Meph2482 karma

No, not worried. But I've been robbed, does that count?

Restaurant: With me inside, or I sit next to the window with my bike outside. If I go sightseeing, the bags and bike are in a hostel room or with a couchsurfer.

zuqui232 karma

What was your favorite country while in south america?

Meph2486 karma

The Guyanas. Guyana, Suriname and French-Guyana.

zuqui231 karma

thanks for the fast response! what did you like about them?

Meph24811 karma

At that point I've been to South America for almost a year and its all Spanish, machismo, same same...

Suddenly, I'm faced with french-speaking white people, dutch speaking carribbean-africans, and creole-speaking indians. All within a few hundred kilometers.

And since they are remote and have barely any visitors, the people are super curious and treat you as a guest. Not as a tourist that leaves money everywhere, like they do on the Gringo Trail, trying to sell you tours, hostels and stuff no one needs. The Guyanas were very relaxed, off-world... I like that.

ukeian12 karma

What the fastest speed you have ever gone on a bike?

Meph2483 karma

80kmh with a fully loaded touring bike.

bjorn19942 karma

How do you get by with a $15 day budget?

Meph24812 karma

I do get a lot of the equipment sponsored and I fly only 1-2 times a year. That means I only have to spend money on transport, accommodation and food. Since I ride a bike, I pay next to nothing for transport. Since I camp or couchsurf, I pay next to nothing for accommodation. That leaves food; which is the biggest part of my spendings on tour.

Another big factor is the country. While I'd buy food in supermarkets and cook myself in Europe, I can easily stay in a hotel and go to a restaurant 3 times in really cheap countries, like India or Bangladesh.

bjorn19943 karma

Interesting, thanks for the AMA!

Meph2488 karma

No worries; that's why I'm here. ;)

I know of a couple that cycled a year through Europe. While on tour they spend 4€ a day for food, bought nothing else. Others spend $50 a day; its mostly up to you.

MattyD1232 karma

What was the most surprisingly beautiful location you visited? And conversely what was the biggest let down?

Meph2483 karma

Biggest let down... terracotta army in China (?)

Surprisingly beautiful... well, maybe I'm not that often surprised anymore, but I really did like the view whenever I get up a high pass. Andes, Alps, Pamir...

Imposter123452 karma

Worst country you ever cycled through?

Meph2483 karma

Worst for cycling... the UAE? Kuwait, Bahrain, that area...

Worst country? Venezuela/China, due to their governments. I dont like them much.

Imposter123452 karma

The last person who AMA'd about touring said Sydney (my city) was the worst for cycling he's ever been to. Any opinion on that?

Meph2483 karma

Sydney is not that bad for cyclists... try the Maldives. I ran out of paved road on the second day.

maxresdefault102 karma

What is one story you are afraid to tell people because it's so crazy they won't believe you?

Meph2484 karma

There is a millionaire living in Kenya with a private island on lake victoria. He gets a supply boat once a week, and when you stay on the island, thats the only way to get there. You can stay for free and you have all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink and all-you-can-smoke.

But there is a catch: You can only get on that island if you are in the guest list, and you only get into that list if someone who has been on the island recommends you.

Marbi_2 karma

do you keep a checkbook or something to write down all your expenses ?

Meph2485 karma

I did for the first year; I do now and then on specific sections; but I stopped doing it... maybe got a bit lazy on that front, I certainly spend less when I keep an eye on it like that.

Thanks for the reminder. ;)

banditx192 karma

With $15 dollars a day, where do you sleep at night? I'd like to travel the US but I don't understand to to overcome that. How frequently do you shower?

Meph2486 karma

I spend 6 months in the US and Canada. I spend $6 on transport, $0 on accommodation and the rest on entry tickets for national parks, museums and food.

I stealth camp and use couchsurfing or warmshowers for cities.

online442 karma

What are the top 5 countries you enjoyed?

Meph2487 karma


New Zealand.


Sri Lanka.


Not in any particular order. Also Korea, Japan, Tajikistan, South Africa...

NyanCatNyans1 karma

What was your impression of Australia? I couldn't blame you for liking NZ more, they also have brilliant mountain biking so I'll be back for a bike tour eventually. Smaller country with more variety in landscape over shorter distances, and possibly nicer people is my take.

Meph2487 karma


Long distances and heat and flatness.

Sorry, New Zealand wins by several landslides. :P

ooxlxoo2 karma

How feasible would it be to take a hammock instead of a tent for camping?

Meph2483 karma

Only ok-ish in regions with temperate climate. Just google "pamir highway" and you will see that there are limits to what a hammock can do.

I'd never take one instead of a tent, it would limit me too much.

harris0nn2 karma

Do you have a recommendation for an entry level bike? I recently started going on bike rides lately (~20 miles) and I really enjoy it. Just looking to replace my shitty mountain bike haha. Thanks!

Meph2483 karma

Entry level bike for what and in what country? I might recommend you an entry level road bike from a UK brand, and it turns out you want to go mountain biking in Colorado...

MattSR301 karma

I opened your Middle East album hoping Qatar would be there, and the very first picture is of the Corniche!

Growing up there, I know that Qatar is notoriously bad for it's roads and sidewalks/pavements, so much so that biking there seems like such a foreign concept. So basically:

  • What was your overall experience of Qatar like? How long were you there, were you only in Doha? Obviously given not being able to get into Saudi, you didn't physically bike into/out of it, so how'd that work?

  • What was it like cycling in the country? Seems like it would be a nightmare.

    Edit: Having seen there was a Part 2 to your Middle East album, I see some of my answers in there. Feel free to ignore something if you've already answered it in your album.

Meph2482 karma

Qatar was actually one of the better countries in the Middle East for cycling. Out of the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait, I'd even say Qatar is the best. You have actual bike trails, one of them going to the airport, which was awesome and a rare sight for me.

I also met another cyclists from Poland in Qatar, he made it his base for the region.

That being said, there is not that much to ride to, so I just spend a few days riding around Doha, sightseeing, and thats it.

I did fly in from Bahrain with a folding bike in my luggage.

davorzdralo1 karma

How reliable is your electronics? How do you charge it? I'm a freelance programmer myself, I could tour for long periods of time if I could reliably have my laptop battery charged every evening. Is this realistically achievable?

Meph2483 karma

Dynamo hub charges everything EXCEPT the laptop. Sure you can do long-term travelling and programming, I have a fancy laptop and program myself, but you wont do it in your tent much.

If I stop to program, I either sit in a cafe or a hostel. Or you rent a place for a week or a month.

Wagamamamany1 karma

what kind of education and jobs have u had before you started touring? I only ask because id be scared about doing this kind of thing before going to university.

Meph2485 karma

I did Abitur, which is 13 years of schooling in Germany, what you usually do before going to university. I did do 9 months of military service too.

Thats it. Sadly I'm an uneducated buffoon, only fluent in three languages and no fancy papers to prove it. ;)

AfroAnton1 karma

What kind of bike do you use?

Meph24812 karma

Seven different bikes so far. All here:

Hardtail MTB, city bike, rigid hybrid bike, cross bike, road bike, FS MTB, folding bike.

I love trying out different setups; otherwise I'd be doing the same thing all over again. I like to challenge myself and my gear.

window51 karma

Is there much open space in India? While biking between cities in that country are there still villages and people everywhere?

Meph2482 karma

Yes. There is a backpacker circuit, but if you travel with your own you get to a lot of remote places. I especially liked the area around Cheranpunjee and Shillong.

FecklessFool1 karma

I want to do what you do eventually. Even if it's just around Asia.

Why'd you go with a folding bike and the tiny wheels and not a touring bike? Though IIRC you got mugged or something in a tent, or maybe that's just my bad memory. Was it due to that or is it something else entirely?

Hope you manage to hit your goal safely.

Meph2484 karma

Folding bike because I never toured on a folding bike before; because they have their advantages, and because I was going to visit a lot of island states on that part of the tour. I used other bikes too. ;)

Yes, I got robbed in Lebanon a couple months back. Mostly electronics stolen, the guy even picked up my folded folding-bike to check for valuables underneath it. Idiot, the bike is worth 3000€ and by far the most expensive item I had with me.

joeybear-1 karma

if he robbed you of your bike what would you have done?

Meph2485 karma

Continued by public transport.

I once had a bike stolen, on the 4th day of my tour to South Africa. I was still in Germany. I bought a new bikes (well, a used bike) for 100€ and kept going... till I reached South Africa.

ImWatchinUWatchinMe1 karma

Are there any countries that you can't/refuse to visit? Why?

Meph2488 karma

North Korea (I only stepped across the border at the UN building that is half/half north/south Korea), because it is only possible by organized tour that costs a lot. The money would go mainly to their government, which is nothing I'd want to support.

I cant visit Saudi Arabia, since they dont do tourists visas. I'd have to find a job there, or convert to Islam to get a pilgrimage visa.

Snoop_dawg5001 karma

Where do you sleep for the night? How long on average do you stay in one country?what country are you in currently?

Meph2482 karma

I sleep either in a hostel, a hotel, my tent or with a couchsurfing/warmshowers host. When I camp, I stealth camp somewhere, I dislike camping sites.

Average stay is around 2-3 weeks, but it heavily depends on the country. Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein? 1 day each. Australia, Argentina, India, USA? 3+ months each.

I'm in Germany, my most recent tour was to India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. I'm currently planning my next step, which will be some mountaineering in the alps, before heading to West Africa in winter.

Its_God_Here2 karma

Hey dude. When you say 'stealth camp' what do you mean exactly? I think I get it but I'd still like to hear an explanation of the kind of places you like to camp, and some weird ones.

Meph2487 karma

Different people call it different names, road camp, stealth camp, wild camp... it just means that you go to some public property and pitch your tent.

Can be the side of the road, a field, a forest, I even met someone who camped on a traffic island in the middle of a round-about. Its technically illegal in most countries in the first world, but the police never bothered. Once I got relocated by the Argentinian police because a dog was barking and that bothered the neighbours, but they just drove me to their police station and told me to camp on their front lawn.

Snoop_dawg5001 karma

How much money did you save for this whole trip?e.g border passing hotel/hostel stays

Meph2481 karma

I saved 12.000€ before I started, but I also have a passive income due to rent. I spend about as much as I earn through it.

Mulan_1 karma

Do you read on the road, if so, do you use an ebook reader and what are you reading at the moment?

Also do you have any book recommendations about travel?


Meph2486 karma

I often quote my kindle as my most important piece of gear. I freaking love reading. Last thing I read was Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (of Neuromancer fame), which I finished 2 days ago.

Curiously enough I dont read travel books, so no recommendations on travel books, sorry. But try Olaf Stapletons Starmaker or Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson.

Mulan_1 karma

Thanks for the recommendations.

Interesting that you don't read travel books, have you considered writing your own book about your travels as others have done?

Meph2481 karma

I do consider writing one, but I'm not sure if it would end up a good one. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so if I ever decide to write one, I might not publish the end result, because I myself deem it not good enough. :/

I guess travel books are more boring to me than most other people, because its a long list of "I've been there, I've done that".

SmugSceptic1 karma

What kind of tires does your bike have?

Meph2483 karma

Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Mondials atm.

sussinmysussness1 karma

Hello. At what point in your life did you start referring to yourself as a cyclist rather than someone who rides a bicycle? Please explain the transition. Good luck on your journey 😊

Meph2487 karma

I don't usually refer to myself as a cyclists. Its just for convenience sake, that I put that in here. Shorter title and all that.

Usually I label myself an adventurer or uneducated buffoon, depending on the audience. :P

desidimitri771 karma

How do I start touring? Lived in a city, dubai, my whole life, never been camping or hiking or anything exciting like that. Looking up info online makes me think theres a lot of preparation to be done for adventures like these and I have no idea how to start

Meph2481 karma

Puh... Dubai, thats a harsh one. I've barely ever seen a place less set up for cycling.

Come by r/bicycletouring and start reading, ask questions, people will help.

If you never did tour or camp, I'd advice on getting cheap gear to test and to do a short trip, but there are no good destinations around you... Oman might have some good tours, but other than that you'd have to fly.

If you truly never hiked or camped, maybe try finding someone to tag along with.

MissionContr0l1 karma


Meph2485 karma

Vietnam I liked :) Crazy traffic though, and a shame that Saigon is not called Saigon anymore. :D

The boat cruise through Halong bay was my highlight for Vietnam, sorry if that sounds very touristy.

urban_kid1 karma

how do you overcome the language barrier?

thank you for the very inspirational AMA btw!

Meph2485 karma

Thank you :)

In most places you find people that speak some English, for Latin America I learned Spanish. I'm in the process of learning French for West Africa, my last visit there was hindered by my lack of understanding.

Hands and feet and pictures and google translate work well too, but only to a limit. Getting by, getting food and water and a place to sleep, no problem, but anything above that requires some more effort on your part.

With English, Spanish and French you can almost cover the entire planet though.

urban_kid1 karma

German not any useful? ;))))

Meph24813 karma

Our great iron chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, had a distinctive dislike to the habit of colonizing people, so we never did. Only a little bit in Tanzania and Namibia, both speak English now.

Brdspnths1 karma

My brother is currently cycling through the 'stans at the moment. I noticed those were the countries you were heading to now and wondered when you'd be there?

Meph2481 karma

I've been there, came through there last year. :) Beautiful places.

Brdspnths1 karma

Yeah, he seems to be really enjoying them, if a little hot! Where are you off to next?

Meph2481 karma

The European Alps for mountaineering. :D

Next bike trip will probably be in West Africa: Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast.

topitsky1 karma

Have you ever given up? Like, "fuck this im going home".

My dream is to cycle through Japan someday. Do you have some simple tips for me?

Meph2482 karma

I had a few streaks of homesickness etc, but I only went back once. I was on a tour with a friend, friend cancelled after 2 weeks, I didnt want to go on alone. I went back home for 2 months, then did another, bigger tour on my own.

Cycle to Japan from where?

Zasma1 karma

is it lonely? I mean I'm sure you are meeting a lot of people, but in the end these are only shallow short-termed relationships.

Meph2481 karma

Sometimes. I travelled about 50% alone, the other half with people and/or my ex-girlfriend.

It mostly depends on the country, first-world countries are seldomly lonely, third-world countries can make it harder to connect to people, because your backgrounds are far too different.

Max_Carter1 karma

What makes for a good day's ride? Are the good days dependent on the weather, scenery etc.

What was the best day you've ever had in the saddle?

Meph2483 karma

A good days ride? A 2 at the start of your daily distance. :D

I dont think that scenery and weather are that important, unless you lack the proper clothing. Of course there are pleasant days with 20°c, sun and a nice road with no traffic, but the more memorable days are the tough ones.

Best day for me was from Carlsbad to Amarillo. 513km in 22.5h. :)

mopizza1 karma

When I first saw the thread title, I read it as "IamA cyborg...". So let's imagine that you had a chance to become a cyborg, what one thing would you enhance and why?

Meph2483 karma

Mh... first I'd wanted to say legs and arms, like Adam Jensen, but after giving it some thought it would make a lot more sense to get a better brain and/or replace all the vital organs with something that lasts longer.

So I'd totally be up for cybernetic lungs, hearts, livers, kidneys, that sort of thing.

Or we go the Shadowrun-route and I'd like some monofilament whips grafted into my hands please.

Teh_B002 karma

how do you find time to game on top of it all?

Meph2483 karma

Because I have 24/7 free time, I can chose myself what I do? If I want to hang around the hostel a week and game, I do. If I want to cycle a week through a desert, I do.

I read a lot, I'm addicted to Marvel movies and Game of Thrones like most other people, and love gaming. That has nothing to do with travelling, except that I sometimes have to wait a few weeks or months till I find a place with sufficient internet.

Ih8YourCat1 karma

Is there really only 194 countries in the world?

Meph2483 karma

Depends who you ask. There are 194 united nations members.

Ask the US if Taiwan is a country, they say yes. Ask China, they say no. Just as an example.

Ih8YourCat1 karma

TIL. It just seemed like a low number to me.

A real question thought - after traveling to nearly 75% of the world, I'm sure you've came across some countries you really enjoyed. If you had to choose one to relocate to, which one would it be and why?

Meph2483 karma

Germany. Super good social security, high wages, politically stable, speaks my mother tongue... or Switzerland, for pretty much all of the same reasons.

I also like mountains and countries that have seasons... 12h day, 12h night, 30°c all year long, like in the tropics, gets boring after a while.

Ih8YourCat1 karma

There I go assuming again. I thought Germany was your native country. What is your native country if you don't mind me asking?

Meph2482 karma


I would move to Germany, if I could pick out of any of the countries I visited.

uncertainhope1 karma

Who has the best food?

Meph2485 karma

you'd probably have to arrange a deathmatch between India and Japan for that.

uncertainhope1 karma

What place would you most want to move to?

Meph2481 karma

If I want to move to a place, I do. :D

So... none, really. The places I really wanted to see and spend time in, I've already seen and spend time in.

uncertainhope1 karma

Where has language been the biggest difficulty?

Meph2481 karma


Bok_Globule1 karma

When you are in the countryside and there is not much in the way of supermarkets around, how much food and water do you carry with you and how do you pack enough calories into your backpack? Do you keep multiple days worth of food and is it stuff that you need to cook?

I have never gone on a bike tour or even backpacking before but Id like to give it a try. Ive been living in France for a few years and have pretty much no money thangs to my English teaching jobs. Do you have and advice for getting motivated and also financially prepared?

I know it can be dont on a small budget when camping and so on but I would still need to buy equipment.

Meph2482 karma

2-3l of water, 1 meal worth of food, thats my go-to amount. I ride a lot, usually 150-200km a day, I cant remember the last time I didnt see a town, restaurant, supermarket or gas station in any given day.

I dont carry cooking gear or a stove either btw.

English teaching job? THATS PERFECT! You can make so much money with that in Korea, Japan, Taiwan... they give you a free visa, free insurance, free flight(s), free apartment and pay you around 2000$ a month that you can put aside.

My advice: Apply for English teaching in Asia. Korea and Japan seem best, if you want more money, go to Dubai or Qatar.

planet-x-zero1 karma

Are all areas navigable by bicycle? For example, have you had to turn back and find another route because the way forward couldn't be ridden?

Meph2481 karma

Bicycles can take roads that are impassable by car, so no, never had to turn back. But step of the bike and push or carry it, yes. Mostly due to sand.

bicyclethief201 karma

which countries have you been in in South East Asia?

Meph2481 karma

All of them.

StuckOnTheWallAgain1 karma

Where was the hardest place to bike, and where was the most rewarding?

Meph2481 karma

Hardest.. either winter in Russia or summer in Sudan.

Most rewarding... anything with mountains. A hard 200km on flat terrain gives you the same view, hard 200km on hills offer you lots of new vistas.