The idea began as a hypothetical situation - what would happen if a few friends attempted to bicycle from their home in South Africa to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia in time for the annual Hajj pilgrimage?
Word soon began to spread of their plan, and their story caught the attention of local radio stations. Once their journey began, those stations kept in touch with the riders, calling them periodically to check in on how the ride was progressing, and reporting back to listeners in Cape Town.
But it was at that border that Haron and Cairncross faced their first major obstacle of the trip. The two had planned to travel through Ethiopia and into Sudan, but border authorities denied their exit from Kenya into the east African country, leaving the friends temporarily stranded, and without a plan.
They spent the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan traveling through Turkey, from Istanbul and Ankara to Gaziantep, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.
"At the Tabuk border, we ran into three generals at the border post, and they were very impressed with our trip," Cairncross said.