Ian is a few hours away from getting on the train from Townsville to Sydney where he will visit with his family briefly before flying to Phuket in Thailand for the start of his (hopefully minimum) two years cycle touring trip. We picked his brain to find out what makes a ‘mature’ gentlemen decide to pack up his life and head out into the big wide world…on a pushbike!
How long have you been riding bikes?
I always had pushbikes, particularly as a kid, but it has only been in the past five years that I have seriously gotten into cycling. When I moved to Townsville I got a job that came with a work car so I sold my own car. When that job finished I went to buy a car and ended up with a pushbike. I haven’t had a car since then.
Have you done much cycle touring in the past five years?
I did my first overnight cycle tour eighteen months ago in July with Mick and Jen from The Bicycle Pedlar and Justin and Cher from Hong Kong. It was the first time I had done over 60kms in one day! I was hooked! The very next Easter I spent ten days cycle touring from Townsville, past Hervey Range, through the Tablelands to Port Douglas and caught the train back from Cairns. That trip was 850kms all up. I have done other overnight trips just out of Townsville on the odd public holiday weekend.
When did you come up with the idea of cycle touring indefinitely overseas?
Not long after I decided I had enough savings to retire! I was already dreaming to go overseas cycle touring and had started to formulate a plan of where to go. About twelve months ago I spoke to a financial advisor and realised that I could retire earlier than I thought. After that it was easy!
What are you most looking forward to about your trip?
Rice and chilli for breakfast (not really, we’ll see how that goes). Seeing amazing scenery and out of the way places. Swimming in waterfalls and getting the leeches off afterwards! Eating spiders will be interesting.
Will you camping or using hotel style accommodation?
In Asia I assume I will be staying in homestays or guest houses. I’m not taking my tent (or cooking gear) for the first part of my journey because the accommodation and food is so cheap. Once I leave Asia I will probably get my gear posted over so I can start camping and cooking.
This leads us to the next question…you are landing in Phuket. Do you have plans after Phuket, Thailand or are you seeing what happens?
In theory I will go from Thailand to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. After that I might head to the Philippines. This is all dependent on the weather and season etc.
Any final words?
It’s hard to get used to the idea that my life is going to be so different to what it has been in the past…living off a bike for more than a week, possibly for years! I’m sort of excited but it seems quite daunting and I will miss all the great people I have encountered while living in Townsville!
Ian will be keeping a blog called ‘CyclingIan‘ as he goes. Keep an eye out for his updates!
Goodbye and good luck Ian! We wish we were coming with you!