Pete & Keara Brennan, a brother/sister team are now half way through their 12,000 km cycle touring adventure from India to Ireland. Over the past 3 months, they have cycled 6,000km through India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey and are on their way home to Ireland via a few hills in Europe. The intrepid duo have encountered many challenges along the way, all documented in their blog – www.indiatoireland.org. Icebreaker have generously sponsored Pete and Keara a wide range our outdoor clothing and they are very excited to be testing our new line of cycling shorts along their journey.
The pair are trying to raise $1 per every KM cycled and will be donating all proceeds to Room to Read, an effective, transparent charity that works to improve child literacy rates in the developing world. Room to Read works with local communities to create school libraries and foster the development of childhood education, enabling kids to reach their full potential and contribute to their community. Keara and Pete aim to raise $12,000 and build a library in honour of their cousin who passed away in 2007.
Here’s an update from Pete and Keara as they are are halfway through their adventure:
“India proved to be as chaotic, dirty and inspiring as we expected. The daily fusion of animals, crazy drivers and people from every caste and creed kept it interesting on the bikes. Pakistan threw up a few hurdles after the police advised against riding bicycles through our planned route to Iran via Quetta, a Pakistani taliban stronghold. We were given a heavily armed guard to secure safe passage to the Iran border via bus and train.
The Iranian people were by far the most hospitable people we’ve ever encountered. Everyday locals offered us food, water and accommodation….one eager teacher stopped us three times throughout the days ride to invite us in to his home. It wasn’t all rosy in Iran though, it was bitterly cold with ferocious headwinds and some frustrating encounters with local police. It all started at the Pakistan/Iran border, when the border guard failed to stamp Keara’s passport. We normally check our passports as soon as they are processed, but our passports were handed between about 10 different officers who escorted us via taxi to the next major city due to recent kidnapping incidents.
When we got to the next town, we checked our passports and a plethora of officious border police had failed to notice that Keara’s passport was missing an entry stamp! So back we trekked across that dangerous stretch to get the little stamp! A few days later, a small town cop told Keara that she wasn’t allowed to ride a bicycle…..because she’s a woman. We are both peaceful, non violent folk, but this very nearly pushed us over the edge.
After a few white lies to our parents, we took a quick detour through Iraq to see how the Kurds were doing post-Saddam. We were surprised to see a productive, proud and peaceful community with a great infrastructure, lots of jobs and more 2011 Toyota pick ups than you’d see in Japan.
Our Icebreaker gear has been performing superbly, Pete keeps on hearing that people think he’s from Italy…. he has never set foot in the country and can only presume that it’s due to his chiq Icebreaker merino gear !
Eastern Turkey has seen a lot of war in recent times and the despair was evident in local faces. Young kids would aggressively beg, others would throw stones at us, we never took an eye off our bicycles whilst stopped in town. As we travelled westward, social conditions improved and we soon arrived at the beautiful Mediterranean. Cycle touring paradise with wide flat roads, long sandy beaches and regular gas stations with clean Western toilets ….and Magnum ice-creams!
We are now in Greece and have about 6,000km left before we roll into Donegal town. Our efforts are shifting towards increasing our charity donations. On the 24th June, we’ll be arriving in Dublin for a large fundraising party featuring a slave auction. Rumour has it that Pete’s Icebreaker cycling shorts will be auctioned off …..watch the website for more details.”