Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Have I packed too much? Have I forgotten something?  Only time will tell.

The bags are packed and I'm ready to go.  It feels good to pair down one's life to the essentials, and to assess the value of every possession by the standard "Is is so important that you are prepared to carry it up every hill you encounter for the next siz months?"   

The last day in Melbourne was also a test of the technology I'll be using to keep in touch with the world.  Unfortunately it also confirmed the wisdom of the late Douglas Adams who once said :It's called technology because it doesn't quite work properly",   It was all a bit frustrating, but I remembered his more famous advice and did not panic.

As part of my last day in Melbourne I took the bike for a test ride with full tour load and enjoyed lunch in the city.  As I ate I watched people walking by and do double takes as the passed the bike.  The solar panel on the back really turned heads.  There's something about the panel that inspires wild imaginings.  Whilst it is enjoyable to watch people try to figure it out, I suspect many conversations over the next six months will start with an explanation that the solar panel is only there to power my devices and that there's no hidden motor.  That could get frustrating.

It's getting real folks.  The big adventure is about to begin.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


Before every big trip comes the goodbyes, and ours where hosted at the Burke and Wills cain in Royal Park.  Big thanks to all all who braved the winter chill (or arrived later once we'd moved on to a pub) to see us off.

The Burke and Wills markers are traditional starting point for these rides. Both Maree and I started our respective rides from the marker - long before we even met. They are a warning against hubris. Burke and Wills provide other lessons too:

1) Pack light

2) Be nice to the locals, and

3) Sometimes even the best plans can go horribly wrong.

Friday, 26 June 2015


On Wednesday 1 July 2015, Maree and I will depart Melbourne for six months to tour Australia by bike.  This is my second big bike tour.  The record of my first For details of the first trip visit the big, unedited text file at: http://cheshire.iinet.net.au/simon/bike.html.

I intend to post here and on twitter as @FunOnTheUpfield I'll be out of mobile phone range and charging devices with solar / bike dynamo power - so I can offer no guarantees on how frequently the updates will come.  All I can promise is that I will attempt to create a bit of content every day and upload it when I am able.

This time around I'll have the ability to take attach photos to the narrative. The last time did a big ride, digital cameras weren't really a thing, now they are - so that means more pictures of "Ants ... I really like ants". 

OK, perhaps I should explain that in-joke.  Back in 2008 when I rode around Australia alone I'd watch the ants collect drops of moisture spilled from my nightly cook up.  For me, ants had become a much admired symbol of water discipline. Add a few reflections from the novel 'Dune', and this nightly ritual of watching the ants became totemic.

Eventually I arrived in Perth and met my sister a few days before her wedding.   She'd just had her hen's night where one of the games involved guessing personality traits based on the guest's favourite animal.  (dogs = loyal,  cats = independent ... that sort of thing) she asked my what my favourite animal was, and my response completely weirded her out.  

"Ants ...." is thus a short-hand for the opportunities for introspection in the desert, but also the way time in the desert turns you into some Nietzschian figure who feels they have some profound understanding that can't be explained to people going about their daily town life.

Perhaps the photos will help ... They probably won't.  You'll need to experience it yourself.  Hopefully the photos will inspire you to do so.