Czech cycling couple - one year on the road

29-04-2003

A year ago we reported on a brave young Czech couple who decided to conquer the world on their bicycles. Lucie Kovarikova and Michal Jon told their bosses they were taking a three-year holiday, packed their bags, got on their bikes and set off on May 1st last year. First they headed north, to Germany and via Denmark they carried on to Greenland and then they cycled through Scandinavia. In Russia they said good-bye to Europe, rode through Mongolia, China, South Korea and Japan and then took a flight to Australia and made a short stopover in Tasmania. Having been the first Czechs to cycle around Greenland, the couple still have a few Czech records to achieve: Lucie is planning to become the first Czech woman to cycle around the world and they both want to be the first Czech cyclists to ride into the Antarctic. Two days before the first anniversary on the road, Pavla Horakova caught on with the couple in Wellington, New Zealand and asked Michal Jon about the toughest part of their journey so far.

"Well, the most difficult part so far was maybe the moment when we got arrested in China, that was a very bad moment on our journey..."

Why did you get arrested?

"We got arrested because China is a country where individual tourists are still not allowed to go even though you can get a tourist visa. Some places are not open to foreigners and we were so "lucky" that we cycled through one such place which was closed to tourists, so the foreign police arrested us for thirty hours. We had to pay a fine and we had to continue across this forbidden zone in a bus."

Did you ever think you might just give up?

"No, I think there was not a single moment when we would have this idea."

And what was, on the contrary, the most beautiful or interesting thing you have seen during the year?

"There have been many moments since we left Prague which we could say were the most beautiful. Well, just to choose one would be very difficult. I could maybe say something about the nature or countryside. Every country has beautiful parts, it only depends on the person who travels if they able to find some beautiful places in that country."

Can you tell me what is still ahead of you? Where are you going next?

"So, currently we are in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. From here we are continuing our New Zealand journey. It will take us three weeks to get to Auckland, to the north. Then we are coming back to Melbourne, Australia, and after finishing Australia we'll fly to South America and then we'll go on to North America, Africa and finally Europe."

We wish Lucie and Michal many happy kilometres and please excuse the quality of the phone line from New Zealand.

29-04-2003