Almost 28 days in!
The adventure is well under way as I write here in Ceduna, nestled on the southern coast, half way across Australia. Our first 2,000km in the legs, another 2,000 will see us hit the west coast in Perth.
What’s life like on the road?
Was it all that I anticipated to date? What has been the most challenging thing so far?
Life on the road.
Adapting to this way of life, like any change in life, is challenging. You’ve to develop new routines, new disciplines and find your rhythm away from what we’re were well adjusted to. Ritual work times, allocated eating times, alarm clocks, the comforts of having most things at hand and protected from all the elements, is now a distant thing. We have freedom in our days work, the sound of the birds wake us up, if we like it or not! The heat of the sun warms us up...or not! And we have to adapt to the day as it is presented to us. The mornings are the hardest, trying to rise from the warmth of the sleeping bag when it’s below freezing temperature or very close to it, takes one hell of a push. Packing away the tents and gearing up the bikes for the day in such temperatures is a test, with zero heat until the sun sits a little higher in the sky. You get to your work. Some mornings, the very few, you’re questioning the decisions for being out there. Then as soon as you sit on the saddle, you are reminded why. The freedom, the adventure, and the beauty in just travelling into the unknown with your best friend, is absolutely liberating. Knowing your making a difference to the charities attached by taking on such an adventurous challenge is rewarding and fulfilling. Receiving messages from families that have been looked after and cared for by both charities, thanking us for making a difference. It’s pretty moving, and it amplifies the purpose, in what we are undertaking here. This stuff is non comparable to the challenges that are dealt with on a daily basis in the children’s hospitals. I am truly grateful to be given the opportunity to represent such organisations and the people supporting us.
The days sets off and it really depends on the weather and the landscape, in how much effort and energy you have to apply. If the winds are against you, which they have been predominantly, you have resistance every turn of the cog, the stronger the winds, the more you endure. It’s been a fascinating process learning about different factors. On the open plains here in Australia, you feel every ounce of the speed that the winds come at you. There’s no shelter, no wind breakers, and you are out there alone with the elements. Take the same wind speed that you’ve to fight against, into a forested area , or a little hill or mountain close by and they break the winds for you and have a lesser impact. So some days are good, and other we are asked to give that little bit more. The beauty in bike touring, you feel it all, you hear it all, you embrace it all.
Temperatures play a factor too, when it’s cold you’ve have to work harder to stay warm and your more prone to calorie deficiency with the body worked a little harder that morning to regulate body temperature, so on the cold days you’ve to be conscious to take a little more on board than usual, and the same applies when the winds are strong because it’s of more an excursion. All part of the fun!!
Our day consists of packing up, getting on road and stopping every 30km for a snack and half way point for pre made lunch, of peanut butter and jam sandwiches, carbs, proteins, sugars and good fats all in the one hit, seems to be working wonders and it’s cheap and cheerful. Some days we would be lucky to have a town and we would treat ourselves to a lunch, grab some supplies before heading off out into the wilderness again. Supplies consist of fruit, rice, tuna, chocolate, bread and peanut butter and jam. We have supplements, a green shake as we call them, with all your greens, multivitamin tablets with some zinc and iron. Thankfully to date we haven’t been effected by any deficiency’s in any area and both are feeling strong out there.
We clock up our 100km, there or there abouts. And then it’s time to set up home for the night. Strip down the bike, set up the tent, make your bed just in time for dinner. We have brief chats in the evening before the cold sets in and we retreat to the auld reliable sleeping bag. It’s been this on repeat for the last 4 weeks. We’ve been busy around the clock getting the swing of things, over the last few days, temperatures have risen as we get more to the west, we are being more efficient with pitching and taking down camp, we are feeling stronger in the legs, so hopefully with all these factors we can create a little more time for ourselves in terms of training for the ultras, a simple read, or keeping up to date on the website.
It has been all that anticipated and more, by a country mile. The time spent on the bike, out in nature has been as rewarding as it had been challenging.
It’s the little things that make it everything. The conversations with strangers in rural towns. It’s watching the kangaroos running into the outback at dawn, it’s been woken by the birds, watching hawks feed on roadkill, it’s seeing flocks of the parrots in sunrise and sunset. Stuff that makes you feel alive, and part of something bigger, something that we can only ever contemplate about. Accepting the beauty all around us for what it is.
We initially thought we would have more downtime on the adventure for self development, but we have been grinding it out since the 4th of August, maybe there’s enough of the self stuff done, or it’s part of the journey. Something tells me, what we give in life from here on out, will be more satisfactory than any individual development.
Next challenge is the Nullarbor Plain, 1200km of nothingness. Flat road, Barron landscape and a whole load of road trains, which I haven’t talked about! We will be posting some gear to Perth to allow room in our panniers for 12 days of supplies as we cross the desert. Our biggest challenge will present our biggest reward. I look forward to the night skies and just experiencing the solitude of it all.
Thank you for your interest in reading this and following our journey.
Will update when arrived Perth, safe and sound.