I just watched a documentary on ABC's iView. It was about a British gent named Dominic Gill who cycled form the northernmost tip of North America, down the west coast to the southernmost tip of South America.
Big deal, you might say, although you wouldn't because it's a bloody long way. But if you did, add to this feat the fact that Dominic completed this little journey on a tandem. Why? To meet people along the way of course. And meet people he did; approximately 270 of them.
He started in a place called Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. When he arrived at the next town, 800 km away, he found a pub that has a tradition of requisitioning girls' panties and blowing them up. The publican then hung the largest remnant from the roof.
His passengers rode with him for varying amounts of time; some less than an hour (notably a politician), some for a few weeks. Plenty of people heard about his adventures on the internet and organised to meet up and ride with him that way. Others just hopped on along the way, such as a kid who was wagging school (and he only got on because there was no surf that day).
His passengers made some memorable quotes;
"I imagine this is what it would be like to walk along a massive wedding cake...and you were really tiny." (On riding across salt flats)
"It's just so sinsitive [sic] and sore." (A New Zealander, on his arse)
"I am tired...from my arse." (A Spaniard, on his arse)All in all, Dominic pedalled, pushed, heaved and hoed his 100 kg of bike and gear 28 412 km. He picked up about 270 passengers. He went through three pairs of forks, eight tyres, six chains and three pairs of shoes. He dealt with about 150 punctures. He lost his wallet. He was sick for ten days. He even got himself an interview on Chilean TV which resulted in the thirty members of "Los Cyclistas Furiosos" Cycling Club joining him for the ride all through Chile.
They left him to deal with the snow of Patagonia by himself. Argentina presented him with ice and then clay-like mud, rendering cycling impossible. Around this time, Dominic had this to say; "This trip is dying a very slow death."
As opposed to being some adventure junkie, Dominic comes across as a fairly normal guy who simply wanted to do something interesting and challenging. I think he managed to succeed in those areas. Oh, and he was also raising money for Hope and Home for Children...nice one Dom.
If you want to check out the doco, get a move on as it will only be on iView for another 9 days. You can find it here. You can also check out Dominic's website here.
I've always thought about going out and doing something mad like this. I'd say that many have. Dominic went and did it and for his efforts he's got himself a great story that's sure to inspire many. Respect.