The Mike Ride: 7500mile Cycle from Dubai to Yorkshire

By Anya Gilbert

Mike Callis hadn’t been on a bike for years, but with a comfortable saddle and a “why not” attitude he embarked on a 7500-mile journey, cycling unaided from Dubai to the North of England.

The trip known as The Mike Ride took Callis through 12 countries including Iran and Kurdistan and over four months to complete. During an evening with As One Talks in Truro, Callis explained his motivations.

“I went on the bike ride for no other reason than I thought it would be quite good!” said Callis. “I planned the route the day I was about to ride the route.”

As One brings together speakers with inspiring stories for an evening of networking and innovation every month. Callis spearheaded the February event alongside As One Director, Alex Light.

“It was me on a bike, riding from my home in the UAE, to my home in the UK in partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres,” (MSF).

MSF is a humanitarian aid organisation that delivers urgent medical care to people in difficulty because of war, armed conflict, epidemics or natural disasters. The assistance is given to anyone, anywhere, irrespective of gender, race or religion.

Callis visited some of the projects along the way as he passed through countries lesser known for their culture and landscapes and more from their coverage in the news, including Iran and Eastern Turkey. He was heartened by human kindness he encountered there.

“If someone told me I’d wake up far from home, with nothing and that I’d be lost, I’d choose to wake up in Iran,” said Callis.

“People were so good to me there and they were good to each other too. They have a real sense of community that we have lost, and you don’t hear about that in the news as a narrative about Iran.

“The happiest I’ve ever been was when I was on my own with nothing but two panniers, three t-shirts and a few pairs of shorts and a bicycle. The happiest I’ve ever been is when I had virtually nothing.”