Cycling nude into perspective
After seeing the nude Peruvian cyclists article I casually scanned Google Images for 'nude cylists' (as one does) and somehow came upon this photo:
He is fully dressed for cycle touring. I think the reason this came up was because he mentioned on his blog that he'd posted a nude cycling photo of himself then thought better of it. Moving on though... this is an excellent photograph*.
Vagamundo is his nick name, a CONTINENTAL DRIFTER from Tasmania, with travels on six continents over 25 years. For example:
We've been as far south as the road will take us to the tip of the South American continent. We walked for 2 days towards Cabo Froward, the southernmost point of the continent but had to turn back just shy of the cape. I had a fall and injured my knee, and we had some long waits at deep rivers for the tides to turn. The river level was nipple deep on me, chin deep on Jude. Also the weather was miserable... so we didn't quite make it. But after a 12-month and 13,769km journey, crossing 68° degrees of latitude I think we've come far enough. Nada mas!
He is not pre-occupied, as we often seem to be, with errant motorists parking in cycle lanes, or the price of derailleurs, or whether it might rain this afternoon. Not that these things are completely trivial – they affect many cyclists; Vagamundo and his friend Judy are just a lone pair on the bank of a swollen river – but there's something gutsy about cycling across continents and it seems to put my own day-to-day cycling into perspective. It's probably because, being a wimp, I can't conceive doing that sort of thing myself.
Of course there is always a lot of unsung transcontinental cycle touring going on in the world. I remember 'The Long Way Down' on TV and Ewan McGregor saying he'd met lone cyclists plodding up through Africa in places where it is allegedly dangerous for a westerner. 'Allegedly' would be enough for me, although people will tell you the suburbs of British cities are actually more risky. He'd also met a man and wife – Dutch, I think – who'd been cycling the globe for six years. Six years must require a degree of sacrifice most people would not be ready to make but I am a little bit envious when I see photographs I might have taken myself if only I'd been there, like this:
If you're reading this, Vagamundo, amazing!
Oh well. It was dry this afternoon so after cleaning my chain I rode the usual 25 miles around Heapey and Brindle in Lancashire. Just dreaming, not complaining, as I'll be cycling in Snowdonia in April and Germany in May, then France later in the year. It doesn't quite have the same ring to it as Tierra del Fuego.
*I emailed Vagamundo for permission to reproduce his two photos, but as yet no reply. I've gone ahead only because it occurs to me it may be a while before he reads the message.
Incidentally, Briton Ken Roberts returned in February from his round-the-world tour after 20,000 miles cycled since September 2009. Fully dressed. He had originally intended to cycle 45,000 miles over four years, taking in South America and Africa as well. I can imagine why he decided to come home. Still, some achievement.