When we arrived at the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory we noticed a young fella on a push bike doing what we thought was probably a video diary. We waited until we thought he was finished and wandered over when he immediately gave us a brilliant smile and offered to take our photo. This is Mathew and he was very professional about it all, taking a variety of shots until he was happy to have captured ‘a good one’. He was also heading to Kulgera too so we offered to buy him a beer when he got there.
We arrived nice and early, time for a walk and noticed they had happy hour over at the bar attached to the roadhouse. Mathew had arrived and had enjoyed a very cold swim in the pool. A beer later he came in and shared his story with us.
Mathew’s only real riding experience came about just mucking around with his mates dirt bike riding on the odd weekend but that didn’t deter him and so he decided to ride his $300 Giant bike from Melbourne to Darwin. He had started out about a month ago and is doing roughly 100ks a day. We thought that his biggest problem may have been punctures but apparently it’s the spokes he has the most trouble with, 7 or 8 have suffered from wear and tear. These are quite difficult to change and I still have no idea of the technicalities involved even though he explained it very well. I also thought that finding campsites would be relatively easy as from our car window the land seems fairly flat. Unfortunately the ground is very rocky and the rocks are very sharp, there are also termite and ants nests to contend with. He often has to search for a good spot and then try to put tuffs of grass under the tent to soften the ground. Once his tent is up that’s all you can do but some nights he finds lumps sticking into his back, despite all of that he gets to sleep really well but at times wakes up with a sore back. He also finds he can do about 4 days peddling before he needs to take a break. Mathew is now enjoying the hospitality at Kulgera before setting off again. He has about a month of riding to get to Darwin and reckons he will never want to look at a bike again. I hope Mathew makes it and I hope he remembers to let us know when he does. Inspirational!