Looking Back: The Cycling Days

I have never been much of a looking back into the past guy. But things change when you have kids. My girls are 8½ and 6½ years old now and they have many questions about my past adventures. So, for this reason, I have used Instagram and Facebook to write a bit about past travels.

With Charlie in the Sahara 1987

What has been your hardest Expedition? This is a question I get often. Most people believe the answer will be Siberia. It was tough, but you don´t have all the possible killing diseases there. One can as easy freeze to death. SO, I would probably say cycling through Africa. I have to say, adventure cycling is highly underrated in the world of adventure and Expeditions. Climbing Everest gets way more attention, and even though I am sure it is hard, but can´t compare to two years on a bicycle through Africa. Deserts (here crossing the Sahara from north to south), Jungle, no roads, wild animals, lack of food on many stretches, and malaria and other diseases. But than again, also the best people on earth. Never a boring day. And cycling means mixing with other cultures, behave socially and caring for others. for me, climbing is just sport, nothing else. You don´t have to be to intelligent to perform. But on a bicycle you need to have some intellectual capacity and empathy for others. So hail long distance cycling! 

In the Gulf Savannah, Australia, 1989

Unexpected hardships! On my third journey over two years, from New Zealand to Cairo I was a quite experienced long distance cyclist having done Chile to Alaska, around 2 years, Norway to Cape of Agulhaes, 2 and half years, and thought that the going would be dead easy until jumping from Darwin to Bali. But the Gulf Savannah and the Northern Territories with the bulldust, forest fires, eternal flies, off road roads, dusty roadtrains and the extreme heat, it was harder than I thought. But lots of great stuff as well, as the Australian flora and fauna, the aboriginals, all lovely snakes, like big pythons, (almost hit one with the bike, in a forest fire) the reddest of red earth and the sunsets. 

Somewhere between Arusha and Dodoma 1989

2500 nights in tent. I have made that note somewhere. It is really a healthy living. Well, maybe not in -60 in Siberia, but otherwise the sleep is great, even though you sometimes get less hours of sleep due to either visiting elephants, vombats, robbers or just your own horses licking the salt off your head whilst you sleep with your head against the fabric, one feel rested in the morning. It is also the place where it is a feeling of home, recognition, where you best feel at ease. Sometimes one can also take the bike inside the tent as I did here in the Sinai back in 1996 on my last leg from New Zealand to Cairo after almost 2 years of pedaling. That said, it still takes a few nights to get comfy again, once you have been out of it for awhile. I have always prefferred a big tent, for comfort, since it is one´s home, instead of a small, lighter one. It is better to train to be strong, to be able to carry the extra weight of a comfortable tent. I also say that because all these people I have adviced throughout the years who wants to become adventurers, explorers and have set out on journey´s, they normally give up after 3-6 months because they feel to uncomfortable in the tent when weather is bad. I miss the tent! 

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