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When Will pulled into the Guatemalan town of Huehuetenango a month ago, his eyes met those of a tall, lanky man who’d just stepped out of a minibus. The man was wearing a giant rucksack, which led Will to assume that he was a backpacker. However, when he immediately pointed to Will’s panniers, acknowledging with a smile that he travels with the same make and model, Will knew he’d met a fellow cycle tourist.

Every conversation with another cicloviajero usually starts in the same way: where have you come from, where are you going, what are you riding. It soon became apparent that this chap was unlike the other riders we’ve encountered. Something of a legend in the small and curious world of long-distance bicycle touring, Lorenzo Rojo set out from Spain 17 years ago, and his odometer is currently around the 190,000km mark. (We think that his panniers – Carradice Super C, handmade in Lancashire – have travelled the whole way with him.)

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Next to such epic endeavour, our journey looks like a quick dart to the grocer’s. Nonetheless, 20,000km, which we passed yesterday on the road south of Mérida, feels like a landmark worth noting. It came three days after another round number: our 500th day on the road. As the title of Ruth’s Twitter account makes plain, we’d expected to be coming home around now, but we’ll be away for a bit longer. Our last day on this trip should be number 658, which means we still have a touch over five months to go.

 


 

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We’re not much for philosophising in public about the whys and wherefores of taking a trip like this. Our reasons are no more interesting or unusual than anybody else’s, and are certainly unworthy of broadcast here. However, if you’ll indulge us for a paragraph, 500 days and 20,000km seems an appropriate moment for a little on-the-road evangelism.

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If you’ve ever considered, debated or dreamed about doing this or something like it – dropping everything and taking off, on a bicycle or otherwise, whether for weeks or years – then we would encourage you to think about whether it’s time to stop considering, debating or dreaming and start doing it. For better or worse, for better and worse, the experience will be extraordinary, incomparable, life-changing. It may be the hardest choice and the best decision you’ll ever have made. We are beyond delighted that we made it.

from Muná, Yucatán, Mexico