In August 2017, I will begin an adventure which will be my biggest, longest, coolest, most passionate and exciting challenge to date.
I am going to ride an Elliptigo across Australia.
Yes, Australia, that sandy, hot, huge country!!
And you are probably thinking 'what on earth is an Elliptigo?.' well, its one of these...
Beginning at the furthest point accessible to the west and travelling along the southern coastline to the furthest point east. I will pass through some of the most isolated places I will have been in my life, to some of the biggest, busiest, built-up cities. The distance is approximately 8,000km and I will be towing all of my equipment in a trailer behind me.
This is going to be a challenge and a half!
Beginning in the small town of Denham, Western Australia, my journey will follow the southern coastline as much as possible all the way to Cape Byron, New South Wales. I will pass through four states and experience a huge variety of environments. Passing through large cities like Perth and Sydney will be an overload to my senses compared to the barren emptiness of the Nullabor Plain. When mapping out the trip, I have calculated it to be about 8000kms but this could be much more or much less. This is based on following the coastline pretty closely which is my goal if however there are any problems or time restrictions this could be shortened. On the other hand, if I am covering more distance than anticipated then I can take a longer route and visit more places.
Below is a neatly formed list of the places that I will be passing through. This list gives a rough idea of where I will be at the end of each day. This is based on riding 100km per day, so it really is just a rough estimate. On many days I believe I will cover a much further distance, especially in the areas where there are no towns, e.g. the Nullabor. On other days I may cover less if there are a few schools that I can speak in, if I fancy a rest day, if something needs fixing or if I fancy chatting and eating cake all day. It really is a flexible plan but also a guideline to make arrangements in advance.
My aim is to begin the adventure at the beginning of August but as I don't have flights booked yet I don't want to put estimated dates. I would imagine if all goes to plan, day one would be approximately August 7th.
Some of the places listed below may be nothing other than a fuel station on a road, or not even that. They are just listed to give an idea of the area I'll be in.
It's going to be so big that I actually have four main goals of the challenge:
Physical: To be able to ride from one side of Australia, some 8000km plus, to the other side is going to take some effort. I will be self-supported, carrying all the kit I need in a trailer behind me. I will have my own camping and cooking gear to enable me to stay wherever possible and be self-sufficient. I will ride on average 100km per day and the weight in my trailer will vary depending on far it is between each town. Some may be very close and I can get away with carrying very little food but at other times I may be carrying up to a week's worth of food.
It is believed that riding an Elliptigo should improve your fitness over a long duration and make you stronger. I am interested in testing this out an would like to run as many 5km Parkrun's as possible during the journey. This way I can evaluate my fitness with the times for completing the run.
Also, did I mention that I've only been on an Elliptigo once, so this will be a new skill for me to learn and a way of pushing myself physically in a different way than before.
And... If all goes to plan I should achieve a Guinness World Record for 'longest journey on an elliptical cycle in a single country'. I have applied for it and I have the criteria that I will be working through while on the adventure. I have to create a logbook, track everything using GPS and get witness statements from people I pass. All of which should add to the fun.
Charitable: The charity I have chosen is One Girl and I aim to raise as much money for them as I can. I've set my target as $10,000 but really I would love to go much further than that. I've chosen a charity that has very similar principles and beliefs as I do. I am very passionate about Africa and have been ever since my first visit in 1995. One Girl works to provide education to girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda. In these countries, girls are more likely to be sexually abused than they are to go to high school. What a shocking statistic! I have written a whole page about the charity and my reasons behind choosing them, I'd love you to read it - Charity page.
To make a donation click here.
Social: It's important to me that I make an impact on the country that I am travelling through, not only the one that my fundraising will assist. On my journey across Australia, I will be going into schools to give talks to young people about adventure and participation in sport. I believe that participation in sport at a young age teaches us so many life lessons and valuable skills. When I was in high school, I almost went down the wrong path but I was fortunate that I found a sport to focus my energy in a productive direction. Through my chosen sport, running, I learned how to motivate myself and reap rewards for my hard work and dedication.
Personal: All of the above goals should fit under the personal heading as I will be undertaking them all myself but there is also something more personal. For many years I have had a fear of public speaking. My desire to try and make an impact on others has driven me to face this fear. As I travel across the country and go into schools to speak with students I will be tackling my own challenges and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
For me travelling to less touristy places is something that really excites me. Even though Australia has many fabulous tourist attractions, this challenge will allow me to see parts of the country rarely visited. And I have no doubt that they will be just as beautiful as the more established places.
Throughout my time of tackling adventures, which is becoming quite a few years now, some challenges have been for charity but much more just for my own personal goals. ElliptigOz is the biggest challenge that I have taken on in three years and it means a lot to me. I know there will be times when I struggle, and I know there will be times where funny events will entertain people that follow the venture. Everybody needs help at times in their lives, and some more than others. I have been very fortunate to have people help me when I need it and I want to be able to return that gift. For these reasons, during this adventure, I have chosen to raise money for charity.
I've spent a lot of time in Africa over the years and have seen various charities doing incredible work. I have chosen to fundraise for One Girl as they provide education to girls, in Sierra Leone and Uganda, who would otherwise not have access to it.
Did you know that over 60 million girls around the world are denied education?
Shocking isn't it!! I want to make a change.
My donation page is open and active... go here.
If you are not in a position to donate, don't worry there are so many ways that you can help me out. I've put together a bit of list here for you to consider but if you have any other ways in which you would like to help then feel free to be creative.
How can you help?
One thing that always happens when I plan a challenge is that I struggle and struggle to do everything myself, and then, once the adventure is over people say to me 'oh, I could have helped you with that' or 'oh, I know someone that would have given you one of those/done that for free/lent you one' etc etc. You get the idea.
So this time I am putting it out there to the world that I would love your help. If you want to get involved in a way that isn't listed below, please use the contact page to tell me your thoughts. The more people that get involved, the bigger an impact we can make. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- If you are in Australia and you know of any schools that I could speak at (that I will be passing), please tell them about my adventure and tell them I am keen to speak to their students. Share some links and get the to contact me.
- Do you live in the way? (map coming soon) If you want to offer me a bed for the night I probably won't say no.
- If you know any companies that might want to donate any camping gear, bike trailer, kit etc please let them know that I am in need of kit (I recently lost my tent on a flight!).
- Do you know any businesses that want to support the trip? I can advertise their business name/logo on my clothing and website in return for funding.
- Donate some dosh. One of the most satisfying things when working hard on a challenge is to see money going to the charity you are trying to help. When we struggle, this spurs us on. Donate here.
- Share my story. Tell your friends. Share facebook posts. Share on Twitter and Instagram.
- Comment on my social media post and blogs. It's always nice to know that people are interested in your journey.
- If you see me pass on my Elliptigo, be friendly, cheer, wave, blow kisses, smile, come and say hi! Offers of cold beer or cake also welcome!!
- Have a cake sale at work where all donations for the cakes go to the charity.
To many people that have never undertaken their own adventure, trying to comprehend how it all works is somewhat confusing. I think this is why so many people doubt that it's possible. Often these doubts can be detrimental to the first time adventurer and in many cases, other people's doubts will prevent someone from even starting. Please don't let other people's worries stop you from taking on your own challenge. Break everything down into bite-size chunks and get started.
Where will you sleep?
I have a tent (well, I currently don't as it went missing at the airport, but I will have). Tents are incredible in the fact that you can put it pretty much anywhere. And its cheap.
Where will you get food?
At shops. Just like you do. Apart from crossing the Nullabor, I will go through a town every few days. This means I need to buy food when I pass each town that will last a few days. When I'm in the town I will buy fresh foods and then for the next few days while not near the town I will be eating mostly dehydrated food that I'll cook on my camp stove and it won't go off.
How will you carry everything?
In an awesome trailer. This is the number one item on my shopping list for the trip. Everything I need for the whole journey will be carried in this gorgeous little trailer and towed behind my Elliptigo.
Throughout the ElliptigOz adventure, I will have a tracker on me which will send my location to the internet every half an hour. I will have a map created so that you can track my progress. This will not be set up until the adventure begins so you'll have to wait for that.
If you want to follow my planning and preparation then make sure that you have liked my social media channels: