Across the Nullarbor – Perth to Adelaide

I was gasping for breath within a few hours of leaving Perth. As it turns out, Australia is not flat. The notorious flies that we’d been warned about appeared almost instantly and I fought to stay upright whilst swatting, spluttering and swaying slowly up the hills. I tried to keep my mouth tight shut (difficult when boiling hot and working hard) but one would buzz up my nose, causing me to snort and inhale through my mouth, whilst another would quickly dive down my throat. By the top of the first climb I had a belly full of flies. It wasn’t funny when Ryan cheerily told me it was just an extra bit of protein, so I decided to dress like a desert trooper and put on my claustrophobic fly net. For the rest of the cycling in Western Australia we kept these within easy reach, ready to whip out as soon as a swarm appeared.

I was feeling a little bit frazzled by the end of day one. We had all of our camping gear back, and were already carrying a full day’s worth of water (about 7 litres each) as the first town after Perth was 140km away. Before looking at the map I’d imagined that there’d be regular towns for at least a few days out of Perth, but within an hour of cycling we were already out in the bush with no sign of civilisation. This meant right from the start our bikes were very heavy. My sherpa went on strike months ago, which was OK when I didn’t have so much to carry, but I was really feeling it now after a slightly slack month cycling-wise. After a leisurely finale to SE Asia it was a bit of a shock to be pushing ourselves this hard. We had set our sights on arriving in Adelaide for Christmas, around 2,800km away, so the pressure was on to get some miles under our belts.

We became quick at setting up some shade and our mosquito net between our bikes because every time we stopped for a rest we got eaten alive by horse flies and mosquitoes. My saddle sore bum seems to be a mosquito’s favourite dish, and I noticed Ryan started to hover near it whenever we stopped as it acts like a human mosquito shield to anyone nearby.

Amazingly we found a Warm Showers host, Ryan H, in a farming village called Varley. This would be our only night in a bed until we got to Adelaide and it felt good to stretch out and not have to unpack everything. We were given some tips for bush camping and sensible advice about finding water. Ryan H took us to see the Rabbit Proof Fence which runs for thousands of kilometres to keep rabbits out of the wheat fields of Western Australia, and taught us about the wildlife we might encounter in the outback. Spending time with people who actually live and work in the bush was really good and put an end to any anxieties that had been born from city folk warning us of the many dangers they thought we would face. Ryan H assured us there really isn’t too much to worry about. Despite there being plenty of deadly spiders and snakes, none of them are predators so we just got used to tramping around making LOUD NOISES when setting up camp, and we’ve only had one encounter so far (with a Huntsman spider).

Throughout Australia wild camping is easy and you could sleep for free every night if you chose – just find one of the many natural clearings in the bush and pick your spot. There are also designated rest areas alongside most roads which have some shade, maybe a picnic table and once or twice even a toilet. In some towns we’ve found beautiful free camping areas with BBQs, fresh rain water and often other campers to share a coffee with. This aspect of Australia makes the country a brilliant place to cycle tour, and despite the horrendous exchange rate at the moment it can still be done on a shoestring budget.

We went to Hyden and took some obligatory photos at Wave Rock, before doing a detour south to Esperance where we got to tour around some spectacular beaches after we met a friendly law professor who offered to show us the sights. We had lots of planning to do as this was the last place that we could buy food for the next two weeks. Although we would pass road houses every 100km or so where we could refill our water bags, we weren’t planning on eating in them because they only sell expensive pub-style meals, as opposed to cheap ingredients to cook yourself. We did some calculations as to how much we would need to eat, and went shopping for 2.5kg oats, 3kg pasta, 8 meals of instant mash etc. Our diet for the nest two weeks would consist entirely of packaged foods and there would be no room for a Bex-special cookie binge as strict rations applied at all times. This was going to be the hardest challenge so far!

We were keen to take an off road track that would take us straight from Esperance to Balladonia, avoiding the main road and cutting off 150km. Locals had mixed opinions about whether we could cycle the track, but we’d read about a guy who rode it last year so we knew it was possible and decided it would be an adventure we shouldn’t shy away from.

As we wobbled out of Esperance with 12 litres of water each and our panniers bursting with food, it felt like I was riding a tank. My bike weighed more than me and my thigh muscles bulged with each pedal stroke. I started to think that taking a 4-wheel drive track when the bikes were at the heaviest they have ever been was perhaps a little foolhardy!! We turned north away from the sea and the smooth road slowly deteriorated to rocks and corrugated sand which rattled us to the bone. Luckily a blanket of clouds and a cool breeze kept the temperature down, and we really enjoyed having the road to ourselves. About half way along we found an abandoned homestead with a full water tank and swarms of flies making a deafening buzz. We decided to camp nearby so we could make use of the water. Although I’m totally at ease with camping wild now, there was something really creepy and sinister about this run-down house in the middle of nowhere and I was keen to get moving the next day.

As the hours ticked by I started to ponder how alone we were out here, we hadn’t had any phone reception since leaving Esperance (and that was the first time our Vodafone sim card had worked since leaving Perth) and only a few cars had passed all day, we were unlikely to see another. More and more hours of rattling and bumping passed until we eventually heard the familiar hum of traffic, which grew louder until we popped out onto the famous Eyre Highway at the Balladonia roadhouse. Tired and relieved, we were greeted by a surprised owner who couldn’t believe we’d cycled up the track, and collapsed into our tent. It was a great micro adventure and certainly worth the extra effort over the longer but simpler highway.

The next day we woke at 5.30am and the wind was calm, but by 6.30am it had begun to pick up, and by 9am it was in full swing. We decided that we would creep the alarm forward and get up at 5am tomorrow. The first few days were fun and we even got a rare tail wind on the 90-mile straight, the longest bit of straight road in Australia. We were excited to finally be pedalling this infamous road and were pleasantly surprised that the traffic wasn’t as busy as we thought. Giant road trains roared past every 10 minutes or so, the biggest ones with 3 trailers, but all the drivers were great and gave us a huge wide birth. Occasionally if two were coming from opposite directions we would pull off the road, as there was no way we could all fit on the narrow strip of tarmac and we had significantly more to lose if there was a collision.

As the name suggests (Nullarbor = no trees in Latin) the sparse vegetation consists of low salt bush and blue bush scrub and no trees. The full 1200-odd km between Norseman and Ceduna is referred to as the Nullarbor, but the road only travels across the official Nullarbor Plain for 30km (although the plain covers a huge area a to the north). To be honest it didn’t feel hugely different from the rest of it to me – even with the odd smattering of trees the whole place still looked pretty barren from my seat. The never ending horizons of bush, more bush, red/brown dirt and scrub were demoralising when we battled tirelessly into the wind. We prayed for something different every time we went over a new horizon, but it never came. The road just went on and on and on, and hence we now have a big collection of photos of long, straight roads.

We began creeping our alarm earlier and earlier each day, from 5.30am to 5am, 4. 30am to 4am, and finally 3am in an attempt to beat the wind. I suppose it worked as we could get an hour or two of riding done before the winds really picked up, but it did mean getting up in the pitch black and cold. One good thing about an early start is that we got to watch sunrise, and it was really awesome most days. The bush is full of kangaroos at dawn and there are very few people on the roads at that time. We could zoom along side by side enjoying the new day and getting some fast miles done before breakfast. By the time the sun was up we could strip off our fleeces and get ready for a good searing as the temperature increased.

The wind was our own personal nightmare all the way to Adelaide. People we met kept jovially telling us how lucky we were that the prevailing wind would blow us all the way across Australia. I had to use all my control not to grab them and shove them out onto the road where it was clearly IN MY FACE all day. Don’t try and tell me it’s a tail wind from your comfy air-con camper van whilst eating cookies and drinking iced coffee!

One of the benefits of travelling at a snail’s pace was that we had plenty of time to look around and whereas in a car the scenery can look totally dull, we were able to see lots of wild flowers and animals in some parts. Given how dry the land is, I was amazed at how much manages to live out there! We saw parrots, budgies, wombats, snakes, spiders and hundreds of kangaroos. Sadly there would be a dead kangaroo every few metres on some sections as they run across the road in front of road trains.

As we crossed from Western Australia to South Australia the bush fire warnings increased. As many signs proudly proclaimed, South Australia is the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on Earth and combined with ferocious dry winds the tiniest spark can cause a fire to rip through hundreds of kilometres of bush in no time. We’d mostly been lucky with the temperature not being too hot, but we started to have a few warmer days. By this time we were both physically exhausted and it became a battle of wills to keep going. I felt so small in this vast desolate landscape, it was hundreds of kilometres in any direction to the next town and the fact that you could see endlessly was overwhelming. In England, as in most places, we are always surrounded by hills or plants or trees or buildings or people… this was very different and was becoming very monotonous day after day.

The next time a road house appeared we decided we had earned a treat. Ryan ordered the biggest thing on the menu, “The Gutbuster” burger. With a flurry of excitement the owner went to prepare our meals and returned with a burger the size of a small child on a plate. Of course Ryan ate it all, much to everyone’s amusement, and some of my chips.

The Gutbuster morale train lasted a day or two, but our enthusiasm began to dwindle again as the days dragged on and on, the horizons never changed, and the wind never stopped. Just as we were ready for a change, the road turned towards the Southern Ocean and we got a new view! Spectacular cliffs and crashing waves were a fantastic distraction to the windy cycling and we regularly took little tracks to get a look at the sea.

Finally, 14 days after leaving Esperance we made it to Ceduna, which marks the end of the famous Nullarbor crossing and the first town in over 1200km. As a result of repeated long days spent pedalling into the headwind, our legs were very tired – probably the most tired they’ve been all trip. Ryan announced that he would be spending his day off in the local supermarket, and I had shower after shower.

From Ceduna we had another 10 days cycling before we made it to Adelaide, but from here on we would be cycling through a village or tiny town most days. The final four days leading into Adelaide took us via the Clare Valley and some beautiful hills. The region is famous for it’s vineyards, the scenery was green and rolling and the little towns plentiful in comparison to the previous month. We found shops every day and were invited to a Christmas BBQ in one town, which perhaps they regretted once Ryan attacked the spread with gusto and returned several times for more.

After dreaming of a lazy Christmas break in Adelaide for so long we finally arrived at speed, being blown along by a tailwind for the first time in weeks. We’d been invited to stay with the Halliday’s, and we were greeted by a lively family, a glass of chilled white wine and a steak – amazing! All the hours spent slogging across the Nullarbor were instantly forgotten. Our Christmas break was perfect, and much more fun than last year in Turkey where Christmas doesn’t exist. Although it’s taken 2 years of disappointment, Ryan has finally realised that he now IS Father Christmas and we enjoyed opening stockings, attempting to cook a roast and drinking bottles of local red wine.

We were welcomed with open arms into the hustle and bustle of family life in the Halliday household and managed to fit in a few days at their “shack” on Murray River. The house sits right on the banks and is perfect for speed boat rides and teaching stiff old cyclists how to water ski. Life here is good and I envy the warm weather and outdoor life that is so easily found in Australia. I’m going to be sad to say goodbye, but as I struggled to get my cycling shorts on over my Christmas Belly yesterday, I think it’s time we got back on the saddle.

We set off again this morning, heading for Melbourne 1000km away. We’ll be cycling along the coast all the way to Sydney now, and as we’ve covered over half of our Australian kilometres in one third of our Australian days, the next few weeks should be a bit more relaxed than the stint from Perth.

Click here  for more Australia photos

Photo essay – the contrasting experiences of long distance bike travel

This post originally appeared in the guest photo Friday slot on Alastair Humphreys’ blog.

One of the things I love about travelling by bike is the sheer number of contrasting experiences that are encountered from day-to-day and month-to-month. Here are six different areas that have provided plenty of variety over the 20,000km that we’ve cycled so far:

1. Landscape

A bicycle is possibly the best method of transport to see the changing landscape as you cross the world. Exposed to the sounds and smells, connected to the distance in a way that just isn’t possible from behind a bus window, and yet still fast enough to be able to cross continents. We’ve watched the world morph between flat green European fields, snowy Turkish plains, endless Kazakh steppe, deserts and mountains in Central Asia and lush green paddy fields in Southern China.

2. Religion

Religion is central to life all over the world and the changing influences are unmissable when crossing continents. The dominate religion across the Eurasian landmass changed gradually through varying degrees of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, with plenty of other beliefs mixed in along the way.

3. Emotion

Life on the road produces extreme highs and lows from everyday situations. A relentless headwind and an expiring Turkmen visa combined to produce one of the worst weeks of the journey, whereas conquering the final winter mountain pass in east Turkey resulted in ear-to-ear grins that lasted all the way down the freezing descent.

4. Bread

Usually the cheapest and easiest way to fill a hungry stomach, bread is the staple of choice for many a long distance cyclist. We’ve enjoyed sampling the bread in every country we’ve cycled in: the baguettes of France, the dark and heavy brot of Germany, the flatbread of Iran and the circular loaves of Uighur bread in Xinjiang. My favourite? Without a doubt the simits of Turkey – shaped like a bagel and best served hot, these delicious treats fuelled 2,000km of cycling across Turkey (washed down with the obligatory cups of tea, of course!).

5. People

Most of our fondest memories are of the people we’ve met. Some cities, otherwise anonymous, are remembered with great fondness simply because we had a fun evening with new friends. The incredible hospitality of the Iranians, cups of tea from friendly truck drivers, the vodka loving Uzbeks, the impenetrable language barrier of the Chinese, crowds of kids wanting their photo taken with the weird foreigner – all memories that will remain long after our saddle sores fade.

6. Bed

The need to find a new cheap or free place to sleep every day conjures up plenty of interesting situations. The appreciation of a bed and shower is in direct proportion to the level of discomfort experienced the night before! Swift and unexpected changes in fortune were one of the best things about cycling through Turkey and Iran in winter – one day we’d be sleeping in a sub-zero tent in a tunnel under the road, with hastily cooked camp stove slurry for dinner. The next, we’d find ourselves with a warm bed, hot shower and delicious meal, surrounded by the friendly faces of the family who had invited us into their home for the night.

The end of Asia & the start of Australia

Our last blog finished as we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, and we had an awesome week of fun before we touched the bikes again. First we had a fun few days staying with the Addington family. They’d emailed us after reading about our trip in the Newcastle University Alumni newsletter and invited us to stay. We then met up with Bex’s family (who flew out to meet us for a holiday) and travelled to Tioman Island for some relaxing beach time and seriously good snorkelling. Finally, and in complete contrast to Tioman, we spent a few days in the city centre surrounded shiny new shopping malls and sky scrapers.

The Petronas Towers in particular are stunning – whenever they were within sight I couldn’t help but just stare at them! They’re magnificent iconic buildings, visible from miles around. When it was finally time to leave KL we decided to cycle past to get one final glimpse.

As always, it was a bit of a sluggish start after some time off and it felt like hard work to pedal up any tiny incline. Within in the first hour of cycling after pretty much every break, Bex is convinced she has a double puncture and stops to check…..nope, your tyres are fine, it must be the legs I’m afraid!

The contrast between KL city centre and the villages just 40km either side was fairly striking, as after just a few hours of cycling we were back amongst the tiny roadside cafes, full of men chatting and drinking tea. During the 5 day cycle from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore we tried to make the most of the things we’ve taken for granted recently that won’t be possible when we’re back in a more expensive part of the world – including lunchtime cafe stops, takeaway bags of iced coffee, and daily showers in cheap guesthouses.

Unfortunately as we approached the final land border of our journey (Malaysia to Singapore), a dodgy policeman spotted us cycling up the car lane rather than the motorcycle lane, took us to one side and tried to make us pay a fine/bribe. This was the first time any policeman had been anything other than friendly to us, and we weren’t about to start handing out cash now. In any case, we’d spent the last of our Malaysian money that morning and he eventually gave up.

It took about an hour to go all the way across Singapore to the very tip of the Eurasian landmass that we’ve been cycling across since rolling off the ferry last September. It felt great to be there – Singapore had been our target for so long that it had almost become a mythical place in our mind! It seems ridiculous now that when we left we had no idea which route we would follow, other than we wanted to get to Singapore – we didn’t even know which countries we’d cycle through after leaving Europe!

However we did know that we wanted to lay down continuous tyre tracks all the way from the ferry port in France to Singapore, and that meant that we forced ourselves not to take the easy option on the occasions when it got really tough. In particular, I can remember freezing hands and feet in Turkey, stupidly long days to get across Turkmenistan, and ridiculous winds in the Turpan basin in China. Each time, hitching a lift would’ve meant we could’ve been in a warm bed by the end of the day, and I doubt anyone back home would’ve cared. It certainly wouldn’t have lessened our travelling experience in any way. But we choose to commit to pedalling every kilometre to give ourselves a different kind of test – a mental, logistical and physical test. At the moment it feels more surreal than satisfying, almost as if someone else cycled all those kilometres. But weirdly, I’m already beginning to treasure the memories of the bleakest moments more than most others.

Back to Singapore, and we spent a great few days staying with Damian and Lauren, admiring the spectacular view from their balcony, eating roast dinners and learning how to play squash in the court in their apartment complex. We also borrowed their iMac to knock up our sixth video. Most people we meet assume we’ve become mega-fit athletes over the last year, but those few games of squash confirmed that our muscles are definitely only fit for one thing! We could barely walk the next day…

Our final task in Singapore was to carefully pack our bikes into cardboard boxes, load them onto a plane bound for Australia, and cross our fingers.

It felt odd to be taking a flight. Inevitably any long distance cycle journey will eventually be broken up by an ocean, but it still felt weird waking up in Asia, as we have done for the last 11 months or so, before being transported 2,500 miles south. The weather, culture, continent, language all changed in an instant as we stepped off the plane into a surprisingly cold Australia – such changes usually take place gradually over months when travelling at bike speed.

Temperatures (day or night) in SE Asia rarely drop below the mid-twenties, so the 15 degree evening that greeted us as we stepped off the plane in Perth was a pleasant shock to the system. Neither of us have shoes or jumpers at the moment as they’d have been a waste of weight in recent climates, so we shivered over to collect our bike boxes, which thankfully looked intact.

We’d timed our arrival well as my old housemate from London (having since emigrated to Perth) was due to marry his fiancé  just a few days later. It was great to see Andrew and Dilini again, and they kindly let two smelly cyclists stay in their house for the week despite having friends and family fly in from all over the globe for their big day. We wallowed around in their hot tub and picked up some crucial supplies from the city centre shops, in between about 4 BBQs fired up by Bruce, Andrew’s dad.

We had a great time at the wedding (wearing a borrowed suit/shirt/shoes – cheers Brock!) and partied hard until the early hours.

Now once again it’s time to leave, and this time it’s back to the grindstone. No more hot tubs and fancy apartments for us for a long time! This morning we start the next leg of our trip, 5,000km from Perth to Sydney. The next major city, Adelaide, is 2,800km away and we hope to be there for Christmas. I’ve spent a few hours scribbling distances and details of the small towns and roadhouses that we’ll be relying on for food and water for the next few weeks.

Although we’ve been softened up with all the recent luxuries, I’m actually excited about getting back to it. SE Asia was a great place to travel by bicycle – culturally interesting, warm weather, cheap shops and guest houses everywhere – but now it’s time to get back into adventure mode. Camping is the only option from now on, and we’ll have to carry lots of food & water at times as we cycle through a few thousand kilometres of bush. I can’t imagine we’ll find much internet as we go, but via our new Aussie sim card we can text mini-updates to Twitter if anyone’s interested (they’ll also appear in the side panel on our website).

England to Singapore stats:

Distance cycled: 19,947km
Countries visited: 21
Days on the road: 425
Days cycled: 250
Highest point: 3,150 metres (Gansu, China)
Lowest point:
-155 metres (Turpan, China)
Hottest temperature:
38c, midday in Malaysia
Coldest temperature:
-25c, night time in East Turkey mountains
Punctures: 20+ (Just two for Bex, the rest for the fatty…)
Number of tyres used:
we’re both on our 3rd pair
Number of kilos lost between us: zero
Total raised so far for charity: £4,435

Video #6 – SE Asia

We arrived in Singapore a few days ago and are thrilled to have finished the Asian leg of our trip. We’ve just made our latest video which shows us cycling across South East Asia. We hope you enjoy it!

Click here if the embedded video above hasn’t worked.

Beaches, mosques and torrential rain – Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur

The road is a blur, my eyes are half-closed and my soaked shirt sticks to my back. Water runs down my nose, stings my bare arms and covers every surface. It’s wet season in this part of the world, and when it rains it really, really hammers down.

Local moped drivers shelter under bus stops, staring in bemusement at the crazy foreigners cycling through the storm, but our clothes will dry out quickly once the sun returns so we see no point in stopping. And anyway, the cool rain is a nice change from sweating in the sun.

We’ve had a few of these downpours since we left Bangkok, heading due south towards various big name tourist destinations and the Malaysian border. Cycling out of Bangkok was predictably bleak, but within 5 days we’d reached the ferry port for Ko Tao, an island off the east coast renowned for diving. We spent an excellent few days relaxing on the beach, snorkelling amongst colourful fish and bursting into laughter whilst trying to remember what it felt like to slog through Chinese deserts for weeks on end. Times have changed!

After catching the ferry back to the mainland we met with Mark & Hana (two Kiwis cycling from China to Indonesia) in the port town of Chumphon. We’d met in Bangkok and were all keen to cycle together for a while, so we joined forces and continued on our way.

To avoid the flat busy highway that runs down the east coast we followed a small road over to the west coast and spent the next 4 days cycling through areas struck by the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. Since then, evacuation routes have been signposted and warning sirens constructed in an attempt to protect people should another tsunami happen in the future.

Those 4 days were the wettest yet – it barely stopped raining! Apparently it was a particularly dodgy weather system, but in any case it was great to have the company of a 4-man peloton for a change to keep morale high.

Mark is a professional photographer and his collection of shots from their cycling trip are superb and well worth a look. I must’ve asked a million questions over the few weeks we spent together trying to garner as many tips as possible – thanks for being so tolerant Mark! Although he’s a few weeks behind in processing his photos, we’ve seen a few sneak previews of the shots from our time together and they look great – hopefully we’ll be able to post links to a few of Mark’s photos in our next blog.

We took a longtail boat to Railay Beach, a peninsula framed by huge limestone cliffs which make it inaccessible by road. It’s a famous spot for rock climbing and the cliffs create an incredible backdrop. Wild monkeys stormed the beach to steal bananas from sunbathing tourists, and bats raced laps around a circuit of trees as night fell.

As we reached the far south of Thailand, mosques started to pop up in amongst the Buddhist temples that have been a daily feature throughout Laos and Thailand. The last day or so in Thailand felt like a completely different country, with most communities being entirely Muslim.

This change was a prelude to the border crossing to Malaysia, where Islam is the dominant religion throughout the country. Like the other Muslim countries we’ve visited, the vast majority of women (in rural areas at least) wear headscarfs, every village has a mosque and our wake up call is the distinctive call to prayer.

Well it would be, but with only minor whimpering from Bex we’ve slipped into Mark & Hana’s cycling regime which involves a pre-dawn alarm with the aim of being cycling before sunrise. This lets Mark get the best light of the day for photography, and also gives us most of the afternoon ‘off’ in whichever town we end up in. In Alor Setar we arrived for a late lunch at one of the ubiquitous large Indian cafes, eating biryani and roti, before an evening photography session at the awesome Zahir Mosque.

The roads in Malaysia are noticeably busier, and it’s become harder to find the quieter back roads that make cycling so much more fun, whilst still heading in roughly the right direction (i.e. south!) On the rare occasions we have found nice quiet roads we’ve been rewarded with road-side stalls selling bananas, wild monkeys jumping from tree to tree and thick jungle scenery, although unfortunately much of the natural wild jungle has been chopped down and replaced by palm oil plantations.

We caught the ferry across to the island of Langkawi and cycled 25km to the far side to spend another few days relaxing in the company of Mark & Hana and enjoying a few killer sunsets. Having travelled in Southeast Asia before, Bex always said she was looking forward to this part of the trip, and now I can see why! The number of spectacular sights and relatively short distance between them makes it perfect for travelling by bike.

What suprised me, however, is that we haven’t seen a single foreigner on any of our cycling days between the well known spots. Even in Thailand & Malaysia, it seems it’s incredibly easy to see local villages and normal rural life from the saddle, just by cycling anywhere.

The last few kilometres into Kuala Lumpur were relatively relaxed, aside from one particular 4km stretch. While Bex hates it, I usually enjoy riding into massive cities as the busy traffic keeps the adrenaline pumping and all senses alert. But when the 4 of us popped out into the middle lane of a 5 lane motorway a bit too much adrenaline was involved even for my liking! It felt like we were lacking a few wheels and a seatbelt to be mixing it with the cars.

We turned onto a smaller road at the first opportunity, before saying goodbye to Mark & Hana. We ended up cycling 1,400km together in total, but they’re now flying to the northern tip of Sumatra for the epic next leg of their adventure. It’s been really great having some fun and interesting company for a few weeks, and having some other people to share experiences. Thanks for an awesome time guys, and see you in NZ!