Only recently Melbourne was restricted to a 5 kilometer radius and 1 hour of outside time due to the coronavirus. I loved it! Being forced to work within certain boundaries can trigger a sense of creativity as John Cleese explains in a lecture on said topic.
I acquired a newfound appreciation for my neighbourhood whilst carefully finetuning a "best of" of the streets straight on my doorstep.
Without any desire to return to "normal life", I played with the idea of the other extreme once the radius and time restrictions were removed: A multi-day bikepacking adventure. But where, when and for how long, I asked myself. And my mum: "Why?”
Not being bound by places or times to go, working without any restrictions was a bit challenging. And my mum's question was definitely the hardest.
After a bit of researching, an executive decision was made: A 10-day bikepacking adventure across the Australian Alps, inspired by Curve’s flashpacking ride, departing from my doorstep.
Apart from riding and surviving, I decided to document each and every day to keep me distracted from potentially all-consuming thoughts on where to find food, shelter and water and other inconvenient experiences from my previous bikepacking adventure.
Recording videos and documenting, I thought, would help me reconstruct my memories of my sensory experiences of the foreign landscape and my daily routines on and off the bike in a new life of not being at home. In particular, “after” the adventure. And to then share it with my mum to hopefully answer that “Why?” question.
So … 10 days of pre-ride planning, 10 days of riding, 10 days of post-ride creating daily diary videos. The opportunities in these 30 days seemed endless. Trying to do the gift of time justice.
To me, the planning felt like tilling land. The riding like planting seeds. The documenting like fertilising soil. And creating these daily diary videos felt like time taking control and seeing the plants grow and sharing a garden of memories with my family and friends. And you. And you can watch it all on YouTube, or check out the route on Strava.
SUSUWATARI & STUFF
Accompanying me was my mascot "Susuwatari", a Studio Ghibli anime character. Its name roughly translates to "Wandering Dust".
Apart from this heavyweight, the rest of my stuff was:
- Curve GXR Titanium Frameset
- Curve GXR Carbon Fork
- Curve Race 700C 30x30 Wheelset
- PanaRacer GravelKing SK 700C 43mm Tyres
- SRAM Force 1x HRD 38T Chainring and 10-42T Cassette
- Pro Stealth Stainless 142mm Saddle
- Zipp Service Course SL Seatpost
- Zipp Service Course SL 80mm Stem
- Zipp Service Course SL 420mm Bars
- Rapha Brevet Bar Tape
- 3 x King Cage Titanium Bottle Cages
- 2 x King Cage Titanium Many Things Cages
- Rapha Explore Waterproof Rear Pack
- Rapha Explore Waterproof Frame Pack
- Rapha Explore Waterproof Toptube Pack
- Rapha Musette (functioning as a daytime shopping bag and nighttime pillow case)
- 2 x Sea to Summit 4 Litre Dry Bags
- 4 x Voile Straps
- MSR Hubba NX Solo Tent
- Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Sleeping Mat
- Sea to Summit Micro MCII Sleeping Bag
- King Gee WorkCool Hi-Vis Reflective Shirt
- North South Tech Tee
- Rapha Giro Helmet
- Rapha Randonnee Shorts
- Rapha Cross Shoes
- Toms Canvas Shoes
- Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
- 2 x Maap Team Bib Shorts
- 2 x Rapha Merino Wool Base Layers
- 3 x North South Socks
- Colgate Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Cancer Council Sport SPF50+ Sunscreen
- Sea to Summit Hand Cleaning Gel
- Sea to Summit Pocket Towel
- 2 x Medical Face Masks
- 360 Degrees Furno Stove and Pot Set
- Jetboil Jetpower Fuel 100g Canister
- Bic Lighter
- Sea to Summit AlphaLight Cutlery Set
- Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filtration System
- 6 x Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dried Meals
- 6 x Oats Sachets
- 12 x Cliff Bars
- 2 x 850ml Curve bottles and 1 x 600ml North South bottle
- iPhone SE
- Quadlock Case and Mount
- Belkin BoostCharge 10K Power Bank
- Kmart Telescopic Tripod and Bluetooth Remote Control
- SPOT Global Satellite GPS Messenger
- Cards and Cash
- Lezyne SV-11 Multi Tool
- 2 x Schwalbe Inner Tubes
- 2 x Lezyne Tyre Levers
- 2 x Lezyne CO2 Cartridges
- 6 x Lezyne Patches
- Hiplok Z Lok Combination Lock
- Curve Derailleur Hanger
- Pro Performance Pump
- Squirt Chain Lube
- SRAM Chain Link
I’ll be honest. I have had a love-hate relationship with my Curve. I thought about selling it several times.
I’m a beginner at this bikepacking thing. And it’s tough from time to time. Although there are amazing sources on the internet to prepare for these adventures, once you’re out there the pieces of advice are as distant as your doorstep. Time to hit that steep learning curve. Pun intended.
The conditions my Curve is most in its element are tough. Australia is tough. A sun-burnt country. Dusty roads. Rocky roads. Scarcity of water. Risk of bushfires. And I’m the weakest link in all of this.
I hate that it takes me on out-of-my-comfortzone experiences. But I love that these experiences appear to turn into my most favorite memories. A new currency with compounding interest rate over time.
In particular, the creative process of putting these videos of this adventure into something of a story allowed me to reflect and cash in on the reward.
I’m sold. My Curve is here to stay, like my memories.
You can watch the full “Wander Dust” documentary on YouTube.