Today I’m gonna write in english so the person concerned can understand. Danny is a crazy english fellow with a crazy project that I met in Sydney. Basically, he’s cycling around the world. The day he told me » I cycled from Calais, in France to China « , for me, non-sportive competitor, it was one of the funniest thing I heard in my life. Thanks to his blog, The Artful Salad Dodger (I have no clue what that means), we can follow his diary day by day of his journey through Europe, Canada, Asia and now Australia with a lot of heart and humor. He’s also supporting UNICEF and Sport Relief, so do not hesitate to support him, at least by liking his facebook page and have a look on his website.
Anyway, today in Australia, he shows us a inovative way of travel in this such big country. I spent a few days for hours in a van on those routes, so I can guaranty you, you have to have huge balls to do that on a bike. That’s why I wanted to interview him and bring something new to the blog. As usual, Danny answered with a lot of humor and interesting points, I will let you discover the story by yourselves.
– Hey Danny, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I am a 24 year old Brit. I graduated from Leeds university in 2011 having got a degree in Psychology and Philosophy. Oh, and I LOVE peanut butter and bananas.
– How did the idea for this project come to you?
Whilst living in Denmark I had been training as a triathlete, and because of the cycling culture in the country, bike riding was becoming a big part of my life. After university, I had always wanted to travel, and one night, when VERY drunk, it occurred to me that I could cycle. I wrote the idea down on the back of a Snickers wrapper so that I wouldn’t forget, and the rest is history!
– What are your motivations? What do you want to show to people through this project?
I was curious about existing independently, and interacting with cultures in a unique way. I knew it would be difficult, but that was part of the excitement of the challange. The intention was never really to show anybody anything.
– Are you travelling alone?
– When you’re not cycling, what do you do?
I complain a lot about having sore legs! do a reasonable amount of reading and, out of necessity, quite a lot of socialising!
– How do you finance all this travel?
I had saved some money beforehand, but have stopped to work each time I have got a little tight. I taught in Turkey and Indonesia, as well as working in sales in Australia.
– What is your itinerary in Australia? How long do you think it’s going to take you?
Unfortunately my cycling in Australia is done for now, but I have probably spent about 4/5 weeks making my way from Cairns to Sydney in different sections.
– Is cycling in Australia is different than in others country?
Every country is a different experience, so yes, for sure.
– What are the good points and the bad ones of Australia for cycling?
The roads are good quality and wildlife is a wonderful bonus. It is also reasonably easy to camp which makes my life easier. However, the lack of cycling culture in Northern Queensland meant that many of the road users were hostile towards me as a cyclist.
– Did you meet a majority of locals or backpackers on the road?
On the road, I meet almost exclusively locals because the vast majority of the places encountered are not tourist attractions.
– Have you seen a lot of people cycling in Australia? On the road and in cities?
In Queensland, north of Brisbane, almost none. There have been a lot more in NSW though.
– What is your best travel memory up to now?
It’s hard to pick just one. Honestly, I know it’s cliche, but any of the incredible acts of kindness from strangers along the way that I have benefited from. Things like being taken in overnight by a Turkish family, to being invited to a traditional funeral in the Tana Toraja in Indonesia. I will remember stuff like that forever.
– And the biggest nightmare?
The bitter cold in Central Asia was probably the worst part of the trip. Hypothermia and frostbite made my life miserable for a couple of months. Destroying the nerves in my right hand in Canada (taking me off the bike for 5 months) was bad too, as was spending a week in Australian hospital with a spider bite.
– Do you have any funny anecdote for us?
Haha, hundreds. But one time I managed to inadvertently make out with a 75 year old Georgian grandmother. It’s a long story and I would prefer not to go into it!
– What are the next steps of your project?
Unfortunately, I am out of money for the time being and am going home in the next couple of weeks, but when I resume I will tackle South America.
Thank you Danny, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna inspired more than one person here. It’s a beautiful (monster cool) project and I wish you all the best for the next steps!