Cycling has always been part of the Australian Story. On the 5th of June 1899 Arthur Richardson set off from Perth to become the first person to circumnavigate Australia by Bicycle. He described the weather on the Nullarbor as “1000 degrees in the shade!”
Many have followed in Arthur’s tracks; shearers, rural workers, station hands, adventurers, miners and priests. The bicycle replaced the horse and camel as a reliable means of transport.
Small seemingly inconsequential events can be the catalyst for lasting change .
1. Start at the end then work back: Our objective or mission, is to ride around Australia one day at a time in a continuous rolling celebration of cycling.
So what would a touring cycling adventure around Australia look like?
My vision of rolling along through bucolic rural scenes on quite country roads with a light tail wind has proved to be at odds with reality, but none the less enjoyable .
Practical considerations that were considered:
What time of the year to leave and in what direction to travel?
Whether the weather is a limiting factor.
Average temperatures and wind direction are factored in.
How long might it take? Maybe a year.
What about work, family and friends?
Not to mention the cost!
Can we afford to do it, or to put it another way, can we afford not to?
In assessing the risks, we conclude more people die from inactivity than cycling. Although the chance of mixing it with a road train is limited if you are sitting on the couch at home.
Getting older means physically the window of opportunity is limited. This is another reason to go sooner rather than later.
2. Monitor and Adjust: Celebrating milestones along the way is important. As we walk the tropical streets of Darwin, enjoying a couple of rest days, we marvel at how far we have come, almost half way, having cycled over 6000 kilometres and with some daunting and remote days ahead.
I’ve been changed and transformed by our journey. Physically, the change is obvious we are noticeably leaner and stronger as a result of our exertions. Some other changes are more fundamental but subtle, almost imperceptible. Australia, its people and environment have moved us. Cycling itself has become a way of life. The old, normal seems a long way away.
3. Keep cycling