The Ride. I guess it’s the only thing I can call it for now.
Inspired by Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright’s antics in their Sufferfest videos… I began thinking of how I could do a pretty low budget, low impact, “old fashioned” adventure.
I really just wanted to have a challenge that is wildly out of my depth, a challenge also accepted by great friend who can share in the suffering. All the while documenting the kind of pain that will later be fondly remembered, alongside the genuine camaraderie and humour that comes with a friendship tackling an epic together.
Slowly my plan evolved, from motorcycles back to England, to riding bicycles to Kathmandu via Lhasa (so much trouble with entering and crossing Tibet as a foreigner…) to finally riding my custom bamboo bike from Chengdu, China to Sydney, Australia solo. Solo isn’t ideal, but I’m not backing out for anything!
In beginning to really think hard about the trip, I thought what does riding my bike for a few months and several thousand kilometres actually do for me? It can’t just be all about me! So I will be inviting the crazy people I know for legs or if someone can come from start to finish, they can. Yet, I wasn’t done thinking. Now, importantly, I feel that not giving back in some small way would be a crime. Whether highlighting any issues with health, environment, or supporting sustainable tourism. This trip is sustainable trip, using a handmade bamboo bike and bringing money into the local communities buying goods and sharing their lives to a wider audience, which may highlight any issues we can help with.
As these thoughts blossomed, development of the documentary started processing in my mind. You can’t just film aimlessly for weeks and put it together. It’ll be absolute shit.
So a new challenge arose, what would the purpose be of filming my trip, if it’s just me riding a bike week after week? So again I had to search for a better reason than just me, my experiences and development will still be a large part of the story, but it has to appeal more widely. Too much thought was going into the creation of a story to tell with the documentary, and it was obvious the whole time: How to have an adventure and deal the challenges faced while doing it with a whole lot of cultural education.
Showing people the process before undertaking something, that you don’t need to spend ridiculous amounts of money, that a lot of planning still goes into simple ideas, and the fact the adventure comes from just pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Combine with these ideas with my own personal story, my self-development alongside my friends who will (hopefully) join me for legs or the whole tour… and also the fun interactions and dramas that come from remote challenges in other cultures… That’s where you get your entertainment!
My goal with the documentary is to help show others what little is required besides some effort and a little confidence (I’m still not so confident in my cycling stamina), share experiences, and to educate viewers on the human issues, cultures and places I cross. In addition, I will share the sights that only are found in Nat Geo… Drone shots, action shots and pieces to camera. And even live streams are possible with a little phone data and a drone!
My goal with the trip is to challenge myself completely, be completely out of my depth from start to finish and then also to see what it takes to complete this trip. Along the way I want to explore other people’s reasons for trips like this, through conversation with friends accompanying me or with other souls that are making similar trips! See if maybe I can develop a philosophy for myself about life and fulfillment.
Now maybe, these reasons aren’t strong enough for some people to accept as for why I want to do something like I’m doing. But it’s what I want to do, and being able to find a deeper meaning and purpose to a challenge like this, to me, is better than “Because I want to”. I’m still figuring it out for myself, but that’s all part of the adventure.
In a few months, when I’ve planned more thoroughly, you can expect a better description and pitch with a link to a kickstarter page. I reckon I’ll just need enough to cover the millions of SD cards and paying someone to edit for me. But it will be a visually beautiful documentary considering where the trip will take me and my current vision.
Few shots from other adventures… Italy and a lot of China.