I have always enjoyed reading books by lone travellers, who have journeyed under their own steam, be it by foot, by bike or by sail. As a boy I was captivated by a book called " Alone to Everest". It was by an odd-ball American who set out to climb Everest completely alone and without any back-up team (I cannot recall his fate).
Later I followed the exploits of the lone sailor Francis Chichester, and then later still Nicholas Crane, Anne Mustoe and Josie Dew.
When my daughter, Alison, moved to Singapore some six years ago I dreamt that perhaps, one day when I retired, I would ride to Singapore to visit her. Two things conspired to thwart me. Firstly, retirement was a long time coming and secondly, Alison moved to Grenoble in France.
However, not to be outdone, when I eventually sold my business and arranged a year later to work part-time, I grasped the opportunity of a "big bike ride". I would cycle from home to Grenoble and then, to make it a proper bike ride, carry on to Vienna to visit my relatives in Austria.
That is why, on Sunday 14th May 2000, I left home on a long ride.