Rebecca Lowe’s friends thought she had taken leave of her senses when she set off on a 7,000-mile (11,250km), year-long cycle from the UK to Iran.
She rode across Europe to Turkey, south to Egypt and Sudan, before flying to Oman and completing her journey into Iran.
Her article for the BBC News website, Is it foolish for a woman to cycle alone across the Middle East?, attracted a huge amount of interest from readers.
Here she tells the story of her journey in pictures.
Maud, my bike, having a well-earned rest atop the Prokletije mountains on the Montenegro-Albania border – an ascent that nearly kills me and gives me an utterly disproportionate sense of achievement.
A puncture in ice fog en route to Turkey’s Taurus mountains. One of many to beleaguer poor Maud’s paper-thin tyres after 3,400 miles (5,500km) on the road.
An informal Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border. Tents are mouldy and damp due to the rain and snow, and each one houses about 10 people.
An inadvertent detour after I manage to veer off the main tarmac road between Amman, Jordan, and the Dead Sea, despite the road being entirely straight. This is a special skill I have.
Cycling through the Sahara in Sudan in baking 40C heat. At one point I run out of water and experience severe dehydration, but am nursed back to health by a wonderful Nubian family.
Photobomb! Vendors and a rogue interloper at the camel market near Khartoum, Sudan. Around 350 are sold for meat twice a week, I’m told, for approximately £850 ($1,050) each.
Sudanese tea ladies in Khartoum, who often suffer discrimination and police harassment. In 2016, Awadiya Mahmoud (right) won the US International Women of Courage Award for establishing a tea co-operative.
Shia Muslim Bandari women from southern Iran wearing embroidered Boregeh masks.
A puncture in the Iranian mountains, near Abyaneh, as Maud’s second set of tyres deteriorate. Fortunately we are rescued by some helpful sheep farmers, who spend hours painstakingly weighing their produce.
All photos by Rebecca Lowe.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-39531836