More about me - Unfinished Business - CycleBlaze

More about me

I'm a retired scientist - nutrition, physiology, ecology, who has had a privileged life thanks to being born in the developed world and receiving a good education. I’m sure that I got a good set of genes, at least in regard to health, that I have promoted through keeping fit and undermined with accidents. I have done a reasonable job of stepping off the treadmill of modern life. In so doing, I traded occupational ambition for pursuing a wide range of interests, including wood and metal work, beekeeping, travel, motorcycling, the arts, birdwatching and, of course, cycling. I ride a bicycle most days and, occasionally, tour. But those occasions add up and I have now done about 60,000 km on a heavily laden bike on rides that I summarise later. I am an outdoors person so much so that I have spent 10 % of my adult life in a tent. Twice I have camped for 90 consecutive nights, including with Cora when we cycled from Boston to northern Oregon and then down the west coast of the USA.

A couple of nice frames of honey- 2 kg in each
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A fine frame of brood; not my hands - I don't wear gloves!!
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I have a philosophy that nothing can go wrong on a trip other than a life-changing injury. The strange thing is that there have been remarkably few inconveniences to test this philosophy! I have had no significant injuries and have not been the victim of theft. But I have ridden hundreds of kilometres when very sick.  There's been a broken bicycle wheel that required a day of hitch-hiking to find a replacement and the frustration of a multiple-entry visa being incorrectly cancelled on the Vietnam-Cambodia border. So, nothing divorced from the ordinary. Perhaps much of our good fortune lies in doing minimal planning for trips. We have happily flown into places, like Hanoi, assembled our bikes, cycled into town, found somewhere to stay and then headed off. I have realised on subsequent trips that minimal planning and thus maximising the unknown is an essential part of my travel. I'm in my element when the day is getting long and I am wondering where we might camp. Somehow, it  works out. When my body is no longer fit for this type of travel then my race is run because the thought of anything organised is anathema to my travel philosophy.

Our cycling trips have taken us to so many magical places but I can't deny the feeling that arriving home is one of them. I cycled from Sydney to Canberra after a trip to Central Asia in 2019 and coming over a hill and seeing Black Mountain tower, a Canberra landmark, was simply exhilarating. Likewise, being met by Cora and a group of friends as I arrived home after cycling both directions across Australia in 2021 emphasised my ties with home. But I find getting home, especially from less-developed countries, difficult. There's the inevitable question "How was your trip?"  It's something I cannot answer because they all seem to be life-changing in some way. I probably offend those who ask me about the best thing I have ever seen because I always say "abject poverty". I'm serious. It reminds me of how lucky I have been and how unjust the world is. It reminds me to try to tread gently on the Earth. And then there's that question I find most offensive "Aren't you scared of the people over there?" Absolutely not. I find the average person good-hearted, the poorest most generous. Sure, there's a few frightening people everywhere that I hope I don't meet. But should I come to grief the likelihood is that it's on the road.

Home! After cycling from home to Margaret River, Western Australia and back in 2021 - 8250 km
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And the colourful tie and the shirt?  Why not celebrate when reaching those borders, distance markers, mountain tops, getting home or simply "taking the piss" as we say in Australia?

My celebratory shirt, my durian and I
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I have entitled my upcoming trip, "Unfinished Business" because I aim to cycle from my home in Canberra, Australia's capital, to Singapore and thus fill the missing link having ridden from England to Singapore in 2011.

Its subtitle is "The Great Indigo Bike Ride" because I hope to raise a substantial amount of money for the indigo foundation https://great-indigo-bike-ride...

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