|what is bikeabout?|
Bikeabout is the story of two young Canadians who set out to become The World's First Canadian Couple Under 30 to Cycle Around Australia on a Unsupported Tandem Recumbent Tricycle in Under Fifteen Months.
Unexperienced, unfit, and against all odds, they did exactly that.
our route into the unknown...
Starting point: The Big Pineapple 2002
Ending point: The Big Pineapple 2003 (Eep!)
Distance: 16,300 kilometers (Double Eep!)
Timeframe: 15 months
Our basic cycle route followed Australia's Highway One (except for between Townsville and Katherine, where Highway One is still but a twinkle in the eye of the Australian Road Commissioner). We also went down to Tasmania and did a loop route down to Hobart and back.
the purpose of the expedition...
It's always been our goal to challenge ourselves and prove to others that you can do anything you set your mind to. The best way to experience life is to bite off a bit more than you can handle and let yourself rise to the challenge. In other words, No Excuses! Give it a try! Stop thinking up reasons for why you can't, and just do it! Boy, do we sound like a couple of motivational speakers! Hot diggity!
why we're cycling the hot in the hot and the cold in the cold...
Most cyclists do this expedition so that they're cycling the northern end of Australia in the cooler winter months and the south end in the summer. Due to circumstances beyond our control (ie. our alloted time in the country and a late starting date) we were forced to begin at the beginning of summer. Why didn't we just go clockwise in that case? The prevaling winds of this huge continent go counterclockwise. So they say. We thought we'd brave the heat to have the winds at our back. Dumb idea.
the bikes that are getting us through it all...
Penninger Recumbent generously provided us with a couple of recumbent tricyles. Imagine one of those really funky three-wheel baby strollers with the offroad wheels, then triple the scale and add a gear shift. Now imagine two of those, one red, one yellow. Lastly, imagine taking the front wheel off one and snapping it onto the back of the other. By the end, you've got a comfortable, lightweight, five-wheeled, tandem juggernaut sure to turn the heads of Australian sheep. To top it off, we wore a couple of flashy Colibri Sports biking jerseys and Tony's tees, which always seem to look better on other cyclists.
our daily grind...
Facing daily temperatures of forty degrees made us change our schedule so that we did the majority of our Outback cycling in the evening. This meant that we stayed in our solar-protected tent (eating, reading, writing) until around 3pm when we'd pack up camp and begin riding. We usually rode until midnight or 1am at which point we'd be about ready to collapse and quickly find a bush camp to settle into for the night. Once we hit the colder parts of the country, we went back to cycling from 6am to 6pm, with breaks along the way.
how far we've made it...
We've done it! That's it! But it was a challenge every step of the way. We managed to survive the heat of the summer, but grossly underestimated the cold Southern winter. At least we know enough people to sleep indoors occasionally.
When we began we anticipated travelling an average of 75/km per day. This worked well up the Queensland East Coast, where the weather was favourable, but once we hit the Outback, we had to drop to 50km/day. As it got cooler, we thought our daily average would begin to rise again, but we didn't count on South Australian hospitality. Ideally, we were able to cycle 70-80km per day with good weather and functioning bikes.
intake vs. output...
It takes a surprisingly small amount of food to keep us going. Our daily combined diet consists of two cups of oatmeal for brekkie, one package of two-minute noodles for lunch, and a can of tuna with couscous for dinner, with a handful of dehydrated peas on the side! Throughout the day we're also munching of plenty of nuts to keep our energy up. Is it any wonder we've lost more than 70lbs?
But while we skimped on the calories, we loaded up on the H2O. Our super-bikes are capable of carrying 60L of water (That's the most we've been able to squeeze on, so far) and boy, did we need it! On average, we drank 15L of water a day. If you do the math, that means we've got enough to survive for 4 days. Better pedal fast!
the troubles we've seen...
Aside from the odd Brush With Death, we've had a guardian angel on our handlebars for this trip. We've had absolutely no major bike problems, such as broken frames. The trek through the centre meant that our treads were melting at an average of one per week! A scary thing to have happen when it's hundreds of kilometres to the next bike shop. Armed with a higher quality tread and cooler weather, we started getting some real mileage out of our equipment again.
However, there's only so much one bike can take. By the time we reached 15,000km, they were ready to pack it in for the day. Luckily, we always seemed to meet bike experts right when we needed them. Once we replaced the derailleurs, chains and cogs on the left side of the bikes, they could have gone another 15,000km! Not that we'll be doing that anytime soon.
Check out roadtrip.beimers.com!
© 2002 Kevin Beimers & Aimee Lingman. Australia's Most Exciting Weight Loss Program.