Over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of cycling, and I have found myself largely alone on this bicycle adventure (I haven't even seen any animals).
Sure, I've met a few Grey Nomads and the occasional fellow traveler, but no other cyclists – nobody to share in my suffering on the road (or tell me how they deal with the flies). People I meet along the way are fond of telling me that “the Japanese are always biking around Australia,” but I have yet to meet any 日本 brethren.
Despite my love of escaping from the world in remote and faraway places, the people I meet whilst in these places are many times highlights themselves.
But my luck changed today in Coober Pedy, South Australia where I finally found some fellow “crossing Australia on a bicycle” peeps.
I first meet an Italian who appears to be far less thrilled by the prospect of running into another cyclist.
He tells me that he's just finished riding “from Europe to Asia” – whatever that means – and after crossing Australia will be flying to Alaska to begin a ride south across the Americas to the southern tip of Argentina. I get the impression that his entire life is bike touring. Since I am a legitimate rookie in this field, I feel that my current undertaking is chump change to him.
Still, doesn't mean he needs to be a dick.
However, it's good to meet and interact with these kinds of people. This guy actually does me a valuable service by checking my attitude and ensuring that I don't treat people at the beginning of their own paths to adventure this way.
It doesn't matter if it's bike touring, hiking, speaking another language, or learning to paint, we all start from the beginning, and we all have the potential to progress and improve ourselves. Thinking you're better than someone else because you've committed more hours of your life to doing some arbitrary activity is not a very attractive quality.
Unless you're a falconer. That shit's awesome.
Later on, whilst searching out wifi somewhere in this sleepy desert town, I find my second cycling brother, Scott from Sydney.
He's also heading north through the middle of the country, but instead of stopping in Darwin he's hanging a left and heading out around the western coast to Perth. Despite having a much more ambitious plan than my own, he is very much on the same page as me; I've finally found a friend in this martian land known colloquially as the Outback.
Scott's girlfriend is accompanying him on the road – except she's riding a motorcycle. I am a bit confused by what it is she does all day while Scott is riding (reads? sudoku? geocaching?), but they seem to have a system worked out. As long as they're happy.
They're leaving here today, but I'll hopefully catch up to them somewhere on the road.
For now, it's time for another night of underground accommodation and my second shower in a week (this might be a new record).
- DAY OFF IN COOBER PEDY
- DAY'S DISTANCE: 0 mi / 0 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 1,037.2 mi / 1,669.21 km