About Richard
The Journey
World Friends


Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004
From: Richard

Dear Friends,
It is going to be a very down to earth new year this time around, for most of you, knowing how in tune you are to the pulse of our planet.

Very few of us can ignore the plight of those countries suffering in the wake of the tsunami of 26th Dec, nor those Caribbean countries devastated in that succession of hurricanes. Some of you who I'm writing to, are actually in those areas.

Most of you are, I'm sure, thinking of your brothers and sisters in the midst of tragedy, not so far away across the internet connected Earth. Even if you don't know them. So, of course, I would like to wish you all a happy new year, but if I did, it would ring hollow and trite. So this year I dare not put it that way.

But I really don't know how to put it. The magnitude of what has happened, and is happening, is beyond me; the sorrow, grieving, fear, pain; the rupture in everything that everyone holds dear. I just hope there will be some kind of healing for all this. I hope that it brings peoples together in some way. Wake people up to the futility of hatred, violence and war that still, today for godsakes, gets in the way of serious attempts to protect the vulnerable poor.

I can't help comparing the billions of dollars sunk into the Iraq war, with the meagre millions that we think we are generous in giving to the Tsunami stricken regions.

Call me an idealist. Call me political. Not want we want to here in the festive season. But I have to say I'm not enough of those things.

I'm angry with myself. With my generation. I've just turned 41, and although I'm glad to have reached and passed 40, I'm appalled at how ineffectual and impotent we've been. The Rwandas, the Haitis, the Bangladeshes, the Kashmirs, the Chechnias, the Sudans, etc, etc, are still happening; the malaria, the cholera, the AIDS, the grovelling starvation, etc, etc; the contaminations, the extinctions, the waste, the excess consumption, etc, etc, are still going on.

Where did I and we lapse in our dreams and plans for an end to all those blots on our landscapes, or, if we can help it, on someone else's landscapes.

My understanding of pain jumped to a much higher level, recently. To a level which I had only ever tried to imagine before, unsuccessfully. I fell from my bicycle on a slippery road in northern Venezuela, and broke my femur bone in my left leg.

But even though now my mind can grasp real, serious, full-throat-scream agony, and the feeling of being helplessly crippled, far from home, I am not even close to imagining the anguish in Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Thailand, southern India and all those other places right now. I read that the Maldives has lost 42 islands. What kind of a statistic is that?

I could have been left on that lonely road, but three men stopped their vehicles, picked me up, put me in one truck and loaded my laden bike on to the back, and I was driven to the haven of a hospital. I should say three incredible heroes.

There were other heroes in 4 hospitals, 3 flights and several ambulances, after that, but telling of them would go beyond the scope of this e message.

Now my worldcycle journey is, somewhat prematurely, halted, and I am back at my parents' house in Sheffield, England.

And here I was, about to tell all that the World I have pedalled through for the last fourteen years, is still wonderful and beautiful and miraculous..........

This tsunami has rendered any upbeat message I had, pathetically irrelevant.

But I tell you what; at the first opportunity, after time for them to recover some, I would go back to Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, or the others, like a shot. The last thing we should do is to abandon them just because it is a little more dangerous to go there. Travel and tourism has always been risky. But we have the privilege to be able to do it, so if we would have gone there before, we should go in the future.

Taking that little extra perceived risk, is just something else we can give.

I so hope I will get the chance to go again.

May Peace and Strength be yours in 2005.

Love and Respect, Richard (suspended InterContinentalBicycleMan)


Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004
From: Richard

I'm now in Sheffield, UK, back at my parents' house, and I'm recovering as expected without any real surprises. I guess I'm feeling a bit frustrated at the slowness of progress, even though the physiotherapists seem to think that I'm well ahead of what they would expect. I've just got to get used to my freedom being curtailed.


Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 00:55:45 +0800
From: Kenneth M. Davis

We just learned through Jennifer's brother Nico that Richard had an accident in Venezuela. He was cycling down a long hill near Carupano in the eastern part of the country as a light rain started to fall. As he rounded a bend while passing a truck, his bike slid out from underneath him. He landed on his left hip and elbow before sliding a good distance down the road. After coming to a stop, he found that is right leg was limp as he struggled to get off of the road. The truck stopped, and the men got out to help him. At first Richard did not want to be moved as he assessed the situation, that is, until he realized that he was sitting on thorns.

With the help of the men from the truck he was successfully loaded into the truck cab and carried to the nearest hospital. X-rays revealed a broken femur. Richard lay on a stretcher in the hallway of the small hospital through the night, and the guys from the truck took care of his bike and gear. The next day, he was moved to Caracas to the Centro Medico Hospital where he underwent surgury to install a plate and screws to realign and hold the bone. It is not exactly clear how much soft tissue damage he has, but the doctor says that the prognosis is good for full recovery. . . . some excellent news!

Richard seems to be in fairly good spirit and is extremely thankful for the support that he has received from everyone who has helped him in Venezuela. His main task right now is dealing with the pain as his physical therapy begins. He'll stay in Caracas another day or two until he is able to travel safely and will most likely then fly back to England to begin the healing process.