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.

11 comments on “Cycling nude into perspective”

  1. Alan wrote:

    Prompted by this article, extensive online research has revealed that naked cyclists actually use footwear. This seems like cheating, though understandable. Perhaps there is a market for naked-foot-friendly pedals? I notice naked cyclists seem to be permanently grinning so maybe I should give it a go.

    Sadly, with its new policy on data sharing, Google has probably recorded my search and branded me a pervert on a bike. Ah well.

    Agreed, tales of epic touring are inspiring and put our issues into perspecive. Mind you, I once came across the blog of an American woman touring in GB, and it was fun to to hear about familiar places written as some exotic location.

  2. Hilary wrote:

    I love reading about other people's exploits. I don't know if I'll ever do a big ride or if I'll just dream about it forever! I'm steadily acquiring all the necessary gear just in case! Roberta has covered the equivalent distance of twice round the world (based on Mark Beaumont's 18,000 miles) but 99% of that has been on the Isle of Wight!

  3. Patrick wrote:

    One of the reads I've enjoyed the most is Peter Quaife's Occupied Territories: A ride from Kashgar to Lhasa. He's a member of the CTC forums (as PQ) but hasn't visited for a long while.

  4. Kern wrote:

    It's great fun to live vicariously through the experiences of expedition cyclists.

    For a couple of years I followed the blog of the Osmosno Brothers, who are a Brit (David) and a Dutchman (Sebastian). They had a great thread on their trip through South America, and spent years in the far east. Their last exploit was going to be a fixed-gear ride from Singapore to Shanghai, for which they had secured sponssorship from Alta bikes. Their last post was from Bangkok during the riots, except by then David had abandoned the ride and Sebastian was on his own. Their blog was taken down from WordPress, but when I checked yesterday it seems David has resurrected it, only this time with his brother rather than Sebastian. All of which is a long way of saying that expedition cycling blogs are a great conduit to dream and say "I could do that!" with no fear of having to find out if you really could!

    On a more general note, I expect there would be health, safety, and comfort issues with nude cycling, not to mention scenic distractions 🙂 . And what about helmets?

  5. Patrick wrote:

    In my case "I could do that!" becomes "I could not do that!"

    I reckon wearing a helmet, shoes, and perhaps a watch, but nothing else, would count as nude.

  6. Chris wrote:

    Is the chap recreating some famous photograph I should know about? It seems familiar somehow, but it's a striking image anyway. Yesterday morning I spent too long looking at that Kashgar to Lhasa blog. Interesting and very well written I thought. Obsessive detail (a good thing I think :smile:) listing the parts on his bike.

  7. Patrick wrote:

    I think you mean this one Chris:


    Ansel Adams around 1944 (Tunnel View, Yosemite, North America).

  8. Chris wrote:

    Er, I was thinking more along these lines:

    Leonardo Da Vinci around 1487 (Vitruvian Man, Milan, Italy).

    Okay not actually that image, although it is at least nude 😳

    Neither was I thinking of Peter Tork (?) on a beach in the opening titles for the Monkees TV programme.

    The mountain one's good, too 🙂

  9. Patrick wrote:

    Chris wrote: Er, I was thinking more along these lines

    Ah, right! I think Leonardo da Vinci also invented a bicycle. Or perhaps not.

  10. Mary wrote:

    I would LOVe to do a really really long tour, not sure if the entire world is quite what I would ride round though, not much language confidence (deafness coupled with stupidity and ignorance – a dangerous mix)

    Such a tour pretty unlikely though. In the mean while, I indulge myself reading about other peoples exploits and dreaming...

    Thats a great pic Patrick, well done even finding it...

  11. Garry wrote:

    I met a German in Dublin in about 1979 who had been cycling around the world for 20 years and had a black bicycle with the names of all the places he'd been painted on the bike in white paint. He's probably still at it as he was about 40.
    The longest bike tours I've been on were 16 days cycling (three times). I've not ridden across a continent, but have ridden across Spain twice (Barcelona to Santiago and Barcelona to Lisbon (with a small bit of train on this one)), have ridden from Paris to Nice and from Lands End to JOG twice. Have also done coast to coast in England (not fun. Too hard). I've always had a fantasy about cycling across America, but fantasy it will remain. I find that 16 days is enough, thank you very much!! Fun stops being fun when it's carried to extremes!

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