Mantova • Campo Canoa
june 7-9 2024

Mantova • Campo Canoa
june 7-9 2024

4 months, 15,000 km: Josh Reid’s epic journey from China to the UK

Thursday, 16 February, 2023

A love practically a lifetime long. That’s Josh Reid’s for cycling.
On the other hand, with a fanatical two-wheeled father (journalist Carlton Reid, the same Carlton Reid who in the 1980s rode a bicycle to Israel and spent a year visiting the deserts of the Middle East on a mountain-bike) it was virtually impossible to escape a “destiny” of bicycle travels. 
And so from an early age Josh has spent as much time as possible in the saddle.

And when there is a need for a new bike what do you do? You order it and pick it up in person. And if the order was placed in China? No problem: you take a flight and then come back home pedaling for 15.000km!

With this in mind, could we not interview Josh?
Here’s what he told us!

Is it true that your first solo bike ride happens when you were only 7 years old?
Yes my first bicycle tour on my own bike was when I was seven. But I was not alone. My Dad took me on a trip around Luxembourg. 

In 2019 the big challenge: 15000km in 4 months to get home in Newcastle Upon Tyne from Shanghai. How long did you take to plan this solo adventure?
As for the ride home from Shanghai I tend not to plan too much. I did a bit of research into the geopolitics of the countries I was visiting to see if I could travel safely and be able to get visas but other than that I kept my journey malleable. Other cycle tourists and locals would provide me with inspiration on which routes to take. For example I made a detour in my route to take the Pamir highway in Tajikistan, one of the world’s wildest, highest roads, at one point reaching 15,000ft in altitude. 

What do you bring with you?
The bike I got from the factory was a Giant Revolt gravel bike with a carbon frame and tubeless tyres — no punctures en route. The bags were from Arkel of Canada. A blow-up Robens sleeping mat from Germany kept me comfy at night in my bivvy and the photos and video were shot on an iPhone, a GoPro, and a DJi Spark drone.

And what have you take home, that you didn’t have when you left home?
I bought a Chinese rice hat and carried it all the way back using it once or twice in the desert. It now hangs on the wall at home as an art piece. 

Next destination? We know that you are planning a bike ride from North Alaska to South Argentina…when is it going to happen? Are you preparing yourself? How?
I’m currently sat on a train to Marrakesh to race the Atlas Mountain race so that’s the next adventure. Top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina is definitely a trip I’d like to do but not got any plans yet. 

What are the main differences between ride solo and with some mates?Solo rides are never always solo you meet people along the way and you’re more approachable so that’s nice. But riding with mates is just fun and someone to help with taking photos or filming. Both have merits. 

If you could define your life or how you ride the bike with a motto what will it be?
With all my experiences on the bike and travel the main thing I’ve learnt is to appreciate the kindness of strangers.