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bike - various ideas

It’s not really about the bike.

Heinz Stucke departed Germany in 1962 on his 3 speed bicycle and has ridden it through 193 countries since, clocking up more than 550,000km along the way. His bike has been stolen, then recovered, 6 times and the frame has broken 16 times. Quite a few component replacements are suspected.

Antonio Graceffo rode a 3 wheeled rickshaw 544km across the world’s second largest desert, the Taklamakan Desert in China back in 2003.

The rickshaw salesman asked me, “What kind of rickshaw do you want?” I gave him the one criteria I insisted upon. “Give me a red one.” I also had a choice between large and small. Since at this point I still wasn’t sure if I was just playing an elaborate practical joke, I bought the smallest one they had, to save money. This way, if I got two miles out of town and quit, I wouldn’t be out so much cash. The problem with the small sized rickshaw, however, was that it fit me like a clown car in the circus. It was hilarious seeing this 87kg, (200lbs) Caucasian with a New York Yankees cap trying to ride a tiny, three wheeled bicycle, with a barbie doll camper in the back.

An hour later I had loaded up the rickshaw with food, water, and my gear. The whole hotel staff came out to see me off, and to get a look at my crazy vehicle. They were all laughing and smiling, but still suggested. “Wouldn’t you be more comfortable riding the bus?” They just didn’t get it. I made it about three blocks, when I realised I didn’t know how to get to Kashgar. So, I rode back and asked directions. A truckdriver drew out a map on the back of a cocktail napkin, and off I went again.

I met Ina when I was heading off to Arkaroola. She rode to Australia from Germany via the Ukraine, all the ‘stans, Tibet, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Then 24,000km around Australia, almost half on unsealed roads. Her bike has no gears, despite her claim that it is a three speed: stop, go and stop.

A reliable bike helps.

Motivation and tenacity. That’s really what’s required.