Tribute to cyclist travellers Peter Root and Mary Thompson: It takes an enormous amount of courage, physical fitness and an unflagging sense of humour to ride across the world on a bicycle. Mary and Peter from the British island of Guernsey had all these qualities in spades. From July 12, 2011 they rode through 23 countries, through Europe and Central Asia. But I’m saddened to tell you the couple were killed in a crash in Thailand last week, as they cycled on a main road in eastern Chachoengsao province.
According to news reports, a truck driver swerved and hit the couple. He was arrested and charged over their deaths. Police found their bodies, bicycles and their belongings scattered along a roadside, along with the pick-up truck that crashed between some trees.
Mary and Peter’s adventures were well documented on social media. Many bloggers followed their odyssey. They blogged, filmed and tweeted their extraordinary journey on www.twoonfourwheels.com Sometimes I checked in to read about their adventures and I was in awe of what they did: they camped in Asian deserts, braved blizzards, ate fried tarantulas and other weird stuff in Asian street markets, slept rough, rode hard and had the time of their lives.
But they also found Vietnam was hard going.
“Two of your finest ice cold Vietnamese Bia Hois please Squire, I’ll take one glass half full and one half empty thanks. The latter, brewed with outrageously dangerous driving, distilled with hoteliers who have an apparent loathing for all tourists and kegged with the liberation of our cash, is a hard one to swallow,” they said.
They also cycled through a region on the brink of armed conflict in Tajikistan. By the time Mary and Peter got to China, they had cycled 15,800km. The couple, both aged 34, were living an adventurous life to the full.
While the front page of their website remains, the contents have been removed – no doubt out of respect to, or by, their grieving families, and to deter morbid fascination. The cover image of this post is water lilies, a flower common throughout the east. I could think of no better flower to pay tribute to their extraordinary journey. They will be deeply missed, and we extend our deepest sympathy to their families.