Archive for March, 2011

Monday, March 28th, 2011

In alice springs. Still tired from getting in and that was the other day. Cycled in with Adam from Ti Tree and we did a nice 200km day through the dark then into a bar, then a casino. Will write more soon because I have explain sitting and eating mcdonalds in the back of an ambulance in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/3457109

I did a search on the jesus loves nachos and somebody else took a photo, obviously there camera had not been soaked through and broken (the second one…) Saw it on a water tank in the middle of nowhere, but anyway have a look through her set as its a good idea of what I am riding through at the moment.

 The backpackers I meet think i’m mad as ‘there is nothing out there??!’, that is where they are wrong, snakes, kangaroos, bush pigs, more birds than I can even begin to describe, lizards and dingo’s that track you as you cycle down the road.. A car comes past once every ten to fifteen minutes and with my mp3 player now completely dead it is slowly becoming a relaxing ride. Bit hot at times and the head wind can be a killer but its worth it just to meet some of the people up here.

 I stopped in at the Daly Waters pub (6 pounds a pint…) http://www.dalywaterspub.com/main/page_side_folder_gallery.html and was treated to free food and coffee by mark who is working there. Mark is an aussie that has cycled from the uk to istanbul and is set to go back and do istanbul to daly waters. Do it mate :) Nice to meet you and the rest of the staff, thanks again for the food it was very much appreciated.

 Should be in tennant creek in 3 days, adam if you are reading this I will be at the back packers mate.

 

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

“Jesus loves nachos” seen on the railway bridge coming into Katherine. Next to the Lord will ********* what was scribbled out I have no idea… (Plenty of the lord is returning signs nailed to tress up round here? Australias bible belt?)

“Hey mr, do you get paid to do that?” Little aborigional girl of about 7 watching me try and pedal up a hill into town…

So Katherine, I have to be very quick as it is very expensive here. So expensive that it makes you want to weep, but after 3 days I am in Katherine with the fun of; 1 crash lying in the road waiting for a road train to finish me, 1 punctured thermarest mattress that involved having to sleep on my clothes as the chinese superglue i had did not work.. thats a surprise isnt it?! 1 evening spent listening to the dogs on the radio in my tent “wheres me bundy takes the lead…” :) 1 encouter with a snake that was very much alive and very much bigger than I had ever seen. 1 morning thinking about crocs after seeing one squashed on the road, near to where I had camped… what else? 2 meat pies and then a painful afternoon as the calories tried to defeat my urge to pedal.. 100km’s between water. Its like the desert in China just without an affable uruguayan and the bad food.

Oh and water, lots and lots of water. The storms come in fast so you end up cycling in a thunderstorm in a shirt and shorts trying to ignore the looks the people in the cars are giving you as they go the overway. There is talk that the next stretch from here is flooded out but I will give it a go… Never thought you could be dehydrated in a thunderstorm but its possible… :)

Oh and crime, all the backpackers are scared to death of the locals. Apparently Tennant Creek is a war zone and Alice Springs has more police than France… I am guessing all this is nonsense but we shall see…

Oh and heres a game for all you at home, see the map above, see the little dot that is Darwin, follow the line and that dot  is Katherine… ok, that is 200 miles…. :)

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Taking planes sure makes the line move a long a lot quicker…

So back in OZ with the hippo bins, neon work shirts, op shops and people who speak english. No more drawing pictures, no more playing charades at last you can hold a conversation with a stranger for longer than a minute without getting tired. Happy to be here.

I landed after spending a small fortune on excess baggage charges. Considering that I met Keith  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=3951&v=5IP at singapore airport who had just lost his passport and then caused a pile up on the motorway coming in, all things considered I got away lightly…

Despite less than a week in sterile singapore I was a bit sad to leave. After Wit showed me the best library I have ever been in it was the perfect antidote to the million and one shopping malls which offer air conditioning if nothing else. A massive thanks to both Tim for shouting me some hideously expensive drinks and Wit (who I originally met in Rotterdam when I was walking like a crab because the cleats of my bike had been set up incorrectly) who took me round Singapore over more than a couple of days. Wit who works for http://www.dpa.com.sg/ (how good is that website?) gave me a nice tour of their offices, a guided tour of the architectural highlights of Singapore and the Thai concept of uncle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etiquette_in_Asia  Good luck making your first million on the old import/export scheme, hope to see you again soon pal.

I arrive in Darwin only to have a camel hunter called Peter help me fix up the bike outside the arrivals lounge. I then cycle into town as the sun comes up, get a bed in a shiny hostel with a swimming pool and the best breakfast I have ever seen in an hostel and then ride round the block to the local bike shop.

A mini explosion or organized chaos? Keith the guy that runs is a legend. I had lost one of the spacers that adjust the handlebars on the headset, as he fitted a new one it was tightened a bit too much meaning the whole thing stuck fast then started spinning. Cue some bush mechanic style ingenuity with a cold chisel, monkey wrench, screw driver and finally an angle grinder. Hitting the remnants of the star nut down into the steerer tube with an old pedal axle the new set up was finished with a new marathon xr back tyre, two new inner tubes and another bottle cage which takes me up to 5 bottle cages on the bike now… all this was carried out whilst he is telling joke after joke..

This is why I wanted to come back to oz, to meet the characters :)  

Tomorrow I stock up on food and water and whilst the sudden increase in price makes you want to cry, everything and I mean everything you need is available in a single shop. Then I start cycling south the day after.

Singapore is a ‘fine’ country (sorry…)

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Singapore is sterile. I am not saying in anyway this is bad, just that everything is a bit too German. Everything works, everybody waits for the green man to cross the road… its that type of place.

If you do business and have a materially driven lifestyle then its a dream. For me its all a bit strange. I have this overwhelming desire to start running round with a marker pen but then the last time somebody from the UK did that they ended up with interpol after them…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Fricker

It is like being back in Iran when you suddenly wanted to start drinking, just because somebody has told you that you can’t. childish I know but it is simple psychology. They say no, you do it just to prove that you can. If on the off chance that you are in Iran I recommend the following recipe for making your own brew…

http://www.blacktable.com/gillin030901.htm

Have fun.

Singapore is a ‘fine’ country

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Cycling training alone, is truthfully, pretty tough. Long runs done to prepare for marathons are definitely lonely, but hanging onto the handlebars of a bike all by yourself and pedaling on and on is a much more solitary undertaking. It’s the same movement repeated over and over. You go up slopes, on level ground, and down slopes. Sometimes the wind’s with you, sometimes against you. You switch gears as needed, change your position, check your speed, pedal harder, let up a bit, check your speed, drink water, change gears, change your position… Sometimes it strikes me as an intricate form of torture. In his book the triathlete Dave Scott wrote that of all the sports man has invented, cycling has to be the most unpleasant of all. I totally agree.

Haruki Murakami

It was a slog here, but I got here. On a different topic it would appear that if you want a functioning website it is best to pay the fees to the right people… that and if they send you emails its probably best to read them…

anyhow :) Singapore. 25 dollars for a singapore sling at Raffles but it had to be done.

20,000km and the end of this bit of land, OZ lies ahead and thats it, done. Flight is booked for Monday to Darwin and only a big sand pit, customs and finding the stuff to pack up the bike stands in my way…

Chinese state TV appearance is here: http://english.cntv.cn/program/rediscoveringchina/20110127/102651.shtml

I retract every word, the food is rubbish :)