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66 year old grandfather undertakes epic cycle trip to the East

Posted By Marilynh / March 20, 2018 / 4 Comments

You’ve Earned It met up with Elred Lawrence,
an intrepid adventurer,
who has just embarked on a daunting
12,000 km, 7 month cycle trip
from Singapore to Hong Kong via Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China



Elred and his bike



Elred, why are you doing this?


I am retired (well, sort of!), and according to social norms, I should be taking it easy, but I have this ongoing travel bug and the desire to cycle the world, and so I keep planning new adventures!

I have always loved travel and especially cycling when travelling.  My first cycle adventure was 1100 kms and 12 glorious days of cycling on the Camino to Santiago de Compestela in Spain (links) – the freedom of cycling alone through beautiful nature hooked me.

My second adventure was a more challenging 2500 kms over 6 weeks through 4 different countries on the pilgrim trail, Via Francigena – from Canterbury Cathedral in the UK to the Vatican in Rome.   In my experience, there is nothing as glorious as cycling small back roads, single forest tracks, canal tow paths, past vineyards, rice-paddies, tomato  and corn plantations, seeing the little creatures, listening to the birds and breathing clean crisp air.  Life’s worries and concerns just fade away and the day’s problems are reduced to 3 simple needs.  A place to sleep, food to eat and a place to wash body and laundry.



Elred Lawrence


Tell us about your new expedition bike


When I decided that the next adventure was a trip through South-East Asia, I extensively researched what kind of bike I would need.   I settled for the renowned Thorn Nomad from Bridgwater Cycles in Somerset, England.  After much correspondence, I finally completed the specification and ordered the build.  It was with great anticipation that I travelled to Bridgwater to take delivery.  It is an expedition bike.  An expedition bike is steel-framed, strong and robust.  Designed to be ridden, fully laden, off-road and on-road in all weather conditions over thousands of kilometres – just perfect!  It is designed with S&S couplings so the frame can be split for transportation.

I took it for a 7 mile test ride before finalising the purchase.  I was very happy – it’s so easy to ride notwithstanding the weight.  I then immediately set off on a 3 day “shake-down” ride before packing it up and bringing it back to Cape Town.  My son’s father-in-law accompanied me and we had a glorious 3 day ride in Somerset, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire following country roads and tow-paths along several canals before it was time to head home. 



Elred and bike - 2


Tell us about the training for this epic adventure?


Actually not a lot to tell!  Practice will be made perfect when I am on the road.  Having said that, I did get some miles into the legs and on the saddle earlier this year when I went on a ride to Saldanha Bay for four days with my brother-in-law. 

YEI will update you on Elred’s progress on this epic cycle adventure.  He left on 8th March, when he flew to Singapore with Qatar Airlines. The actual road trip started on 13th March.


Two recommendations from Elred, if you are planning a trip of this nature:



Qatar Airlines allows one 45kgs of luggage in economy class and the bike was included in the allowance. 

Travel insurance for adventure travel:

World Nomads – Travel insurance for independent travellers and intrepid families. You’d rather not think about all of the things that might go wrong on your trip, but things can and do happen.


Elred - journey map


If you would like to follow Elred’s journey,
click on his blog, I see the world, and the world sees me



A YEI reader sent in this comment and image


Good evening.

Judy and I (also from Cape Town) met up with Elred at Raffles, Singapore for a farewell (Virgin) Singapore Sling the afternoon before his departure North. We took a couple of pics. Elred is wearing his SA flag cyclists badge. He was in fine spirits. We are currently traveling through SE Asia by train, bus and tuk tuk … and we are maintaining contact with Elred through social media. Things seem to be going well for him. The weather has been very hot and humid – thus Elred is in our thoughts a lot.

It was great reading your article. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Judy and Gerry


Raffles Hotel, Singapore


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  • Elred Lawrence
    March 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Awesome article. Follow my journey and please comment.

    • Linda Daubermann
      March 20, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      Wishing you an awesome trip

  • Elred Lawrence
    March 22, 2018 at 2:12 am

    Just a note – you can find my blog easily at http://www.cyclefoodfun.com
    I’m on the island of Tioman in Malaysia – my blog will be updated later today

    May 17, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Such an inspuring adventure.

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