“I always wanted to travel after my degree,” Cody explained, “but I would have probably followed the script and done what most people do.” It’s nearly 10pm there, and he’s just finished playing ping-pong with his South Korean hosts. The line is glitchy, but I can see his warm smile and curly hair just fine.
It is slightly surreal speaking to him from so far away because the space between us represents a staggering 5,500 miles travelled. Cody didn’t reach South Korea by conventional methods – by plane, or train, or even by car – he cycled there.
It was a drunken encounter at a party changed everything. “I got into a conversation with a friend about flying and how it’s kind of hypocritical for me to fly around the world considering my stance on fossil fuel.”
His friend had a point. Known at university for his eco-activism, mindfulness teachings and short dreadlocks (now chopped off), his whole persona revolved around doing good. A hefty flight across the world really didn’t fit.
It’s kind of hypocritical for me to fly around the world considering my stance on fossil fuel
“I had a revelation. I was just like, fuck, I’m not going to fly to New Zealand, but I just really want to go to New Zealand. How the hell can I do that? And then just out of nowhere I just thought, you could actually cycle to New Zealand?”
There was a problem, though. Cody had never cycled long distance before. Sure, he’d got around by bike – “for the utilitarian purpose of it” – but not enough to warrant a journey around the world.
“I was a bit naïve about what goes into cycling across a country”, he laughs. His first taste of what was to come was when he cycled his newly bought bike from Bristol to London. The 140-mile journey took him 14 hours.
And yet, on the first day of 2018, he left his family home in Surrey and set a course for the Dover crossing. Now fourteen months into his journey, he has crossed 17 countries and two continents.
“It was really hard to begin with,” he admits. “I kind of threw myself in at the deep end by leaving mid-winter in Europe, which was pretty harsh actually, especially in the north of France. It just rained, like every single day.”
Finding company along the way, he found the winters never got easier. “It’s been like -18C in China. It turns out, if you’re in the mountains mid-winter in China you just don’t want to be there. My eyelids were freezing shut at one point, and our breath was freezing as it came out of our mouth.”
I think even if you put the Dalai Lama in that situation he’s going to have a hissy fit
Despite the hardships, though, Cody remains relentlessly cheerful about his experience. “I’d spent a lot of time in my life prior to this working on being positive, just creating a happy mentality, my external circumstances don’t really affect my equilibrium,” he explains.
“For sure, there’s some points where it’s just unbearably challenging and you have these little breakdowns. But that’s the funny thing, I think even if you put the Dalai Lama in that situation he’s going to have a hissy fit.”
Positivity and people, that’s what has gotten Cody through. For the first seven months of his trip, he didn’t pay for accommodation once, relying on friends and strangers to take him in. “I feel like everywhere I sleep is my home,” he adds. “That’s a philosophy I cultivated before I left.”
His philosophy won’t remain a secret, though. When he’s home, Cody plans to write a book about his journey, and the things he learned along the way. “It will naturally touch on a lot of things because that’s how I write. Everything is related to everything. The world feels incredibly connected in certain ways.”
“I still hold true to the belief that seeing a country by bicycle is the best way, because you are on the ground and at a pace at which you can connect with the locals.”
Now, the next step for Cody is to catch a boat to China. Flights are a no-go, so he’s been hitching rides on freight liners along the way. It’s not something many people have done before, but he’s managing it somehow. After Japan, there’s only Australia left before his final port of call, New Zealand. After that, all that’s left is to turn around and find his way back home.
Follow Cody’s journey here: codysfullpowerbikeride.com