The pandemic years are history – hopefully for good. So it’s high time for a large bike trip. All the way from Switzerland to Iran has been on my bucket lists for a many years. Soon, I should be ready to hit the road together with my loyal partner, Yellow Jeff. Office mate Suppino asked me a couple of questions about this journey.
So, it’s for real, Mark, you’re going to Tehran?
Nope, dude, I’m not going, I’m cycling, C-Y-C-L-I-N-G.
Okay. But why on earth did you chose Tehran?
Well see, Taipeh and Tokyo are simply too fare away from Switzerland. At least for me. (Twinkering with his eyes.)
Would you mind giving proper answers?
Sure, Suppino, would you mind posing smarter questions? (Office mate Suppino is rolling his eyes big time.)
What made you chose the capital of Iran?
Frankly, I don’t care about Tehran, it’s the country. I heard and red from so many cyclists that Iran is stunning – in terms of landscape as well as the hospitality of it’s people. The same applies for Turkey, Armenia and Georgia. I’m truly hoping I can make it, the right knee is my weak spot.
But then, why don’t you fly to Istanbul or Ankara and start cycling there?
There you got a point. But you should not underestimate the beauty of starting a biketrip right in front of your house. The second reason: I’m very curious about the countries in the Balkans. In the nineties, I worked a couple of years in Sarajevo. So, I want to go back, Sarajevo holds a special place in my heart.
It’s an epic trip to Tehran. Are you in shape to ride some 6000 kilometres?
My daily workout happens in the indoor swimming pool. But see, there’s no need to be in a good shape before you start. The good shape comes while you’re cycling. There’s no rush, my bike trips are not about getting there. It’s all about being on the road, it’s about nature, meeting people, food and it’s about the flow. I confess that I’m addicted to the flow as much as I’m addicted to winter swimming in the river (mostly the Aare in Berne). By the way, it’s possible that I’m taking a bus if the weather is bad or I’m exhausted. (Office mate Suppino recalls silently that Mark stressed C-Y-C-L-I-N-G at the beginning of this interview. But since he’s a nice guy he keeps it for himself.)
Talking about people. You’re travelling alone.
Correct. Cycling alone offers two great things: Firstly, you deal intensely with yourself, at the same time you’re open to others or to be approached by others. The countries I’ll be passing, people are warm hearted and they are not rushing through their lives as most of us do in the Western world.
Six years ago, you cycled from Berne to North Cape. What are your learnings from this trip?
I learned a lot, indeed. But what counts is something else: Cycling is freedom.
You’ve got your on company. How do you handle it while you’re on the road?
In fact, this bike trip is a gift since my company turns 20 this year. Business colleagues in my network are taking care of some of my clients, other take a long summer break. Keeping things «on hold» for a while shall be a win-win situation.
Pictures from Marks bike trip will be posted on Instragram.