Final morning mum



Morning mum,

I’m back safely in the UK, after eighteen months with my wonderful Kurdish friends (who I miss already and who looked out for me in Iraq, across Turkey and beyond), and after cycling 4200km home without one accident or puncture along the way. Phew.

So many have helped me throughout the last seven or eight weeks that I’m a little wary of trying to tell you who they all are for fear of missing somebody out unintentionally. As with everything in life though I know I couldn’t have done it alone. Alone, I wouldn’t have even got out of Iraq mum. Alone, I’d be having another breakfast kebab in Erbil right now pushing 104kg.

And frankly alone I didn’t feel once on this journey. Facebook and the Blog were quite something in this regard. From Day One people were so positive, supportive, generous and funny that I never once felt lonely or bored. Everybody kept me entertained along the way and the whole experience reminded me how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. Having said that I really hope I haven’t turned into an iPhone addict now, please tell me if I do.

I’ll see you soon but there is one last thing I wanted to mention. People were so great. Kurds, Turks, Greeks, Albanians (yes Albanians), Montenegrins, Croatians, Bosnians, Italians, the Swiss, the French, the Brits, plus all the other nationalities I met along the way. From the start people I didn’t know went out of their way to help me. When a stranger simply smiled or waved at me I felt lifted, so imagine how happy I felt when they offered me food, drink, or just a a lift across the Alps. This inspired me, I won’t forget it and need to pay it forward so to speak.

Love you lots and of course I thought of you and Dad all the time,

Stuart (92.7kg), formerly known as Dancing Bear

PS It was a nice cup of tea by the way…..
PPS Back to work Monday
PPS The Royal naval college and most beautiful building in London to my mind



Rocket man bursts onto the scene

Gazientep, Antalya, Athens, Tirana, Tivet, Split, Bologna, Milan, Geneva, Paris and now Gravesend.

And what’s more Team Dancing Bear has been joined by Toby Sullivan aka Rocket Man (Mr Fitness) for the urban stretch into London Town.


Stu’s Epic Journey Home

How do you do justice to one man’s epic journey? The answer is you don’t.

Stu, what you’ve given us over all the last few weeks has been nothing short of memorable. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and all because of you Dancing Bear. So here is a little token of appreciation, to say thank you for being the truly special person you are, for your incredible fundraising efforts and for sharing your wonderful adventure with us.

Here’s to you Stuart McCarthy

Administrative points

Just sorting out some last minute administrative points before I head in to London tomorrow. Planning to arrive at Tower Bridge around 7pm where it’s open house at my sister’s if you would like to join us.

In the meantime here are those charity links if you’ve had a last minute change of heart and fancy donating……..


near Canterbury, England

Thanks to the ‘kit and equipment’


As there is only one more day of cycling I would like to say a few ‘thank yous’ tonight to my kit, for looking after me over the last seven weeks and making sure I was able to complete this unforgettable trip safely.

So in no particular order whatsoever I’d like to thank……..

1. My Brooks saddle. Basically at no point in this whole journey was my butt sore. You really cared for it and I thank you for that.

2. Kevlar tyres. Not one puncture despite 4200km cycling, and some of that (including today on the A2) over some terrible roads, untarmacced, potholed and covered in stones/glass. Brilliant stuff and a real relief as I haven’t a clue how to fix a puncture.

3. The IPhone 5. Quite simply brilliant. I’m sure other phones can do the same thing but from this phone I navigated, took photos and films, wrote posts, and managed the blog. Oh and used it as a phone of course. Fantastic.

4. My bike (technically Pompous Knob’s bike) the Cannondale tourer. I really love this bike now. It has looked after me from the start and rode like a dream. I feel surprisingly attached to it so we are discussing taking out a joint mortgage and moving to kennington together.

5. Googlemaps, I have relied on solely for navigation purposes and it has been more than up to the task. A little more information on relief would have been handy but we got there.

6. Pink masking tape. Enough said.

7. The Internet. It’s a great idea so well done to anyone involved in inventing it.

8. Facebook (and the WordPress blog) was wonderful as it not only allowed me to share the trip it also allowed to me get feedback and engagement from friends and family along the way. This made the whole trip feel considerably more social and fun.

9. My huge first aid kit. Harry, Nick, I still have it despite the fact it doubled the weight of my panniers and at one point I nearly even used it.

Looking forward to breakfast tomorrow as both Pompous Knob and Monkey Boy are joining me in Canterbury to cycle back into London. Awesome.

Finally, and not to be outdone by our European counterparts, Britain also does a pretty good line in impressive Cathedrals.


The white cliffs of Dover

From Le Touquet in France to Canterbury in the UK I’ve cycled around 105km today and was welcomed home by the white cliffs of Dover where I could imagine hearing Vera Lynn singing……….

‘There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see

There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
When the world is free’