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Alia Parker's picture

Stop bonking! How to power through your next bicycle tour

Snacking regularly to avoid the cycling bonk. Cycle Traveller

When the average person talks about bonking in Australia, one thing can be certain – they're not talking about low blood sugar brought about by long periods of cycling. Aussie bonking? Go ahead, enjoy. But bonking while cycling? That's something you want to avoid. Bicycle tourers spend long days on the bike making us prime candidates for bonking, also referred to as 'hitting the wall' or more formally, hypoglycaemia. It often occurs suddenly, draining the body of energy and making the task ahead seem impossible. Bonking commonly occurs during long-distance sporting activities where the body's blood sugar levels drop too low (don't confuse this with hyperglycaemia, which is when blood sugar is too high).

Alia Parker's picture

Kate Leeming and the ride to the South Pole

Kate Leeming on a training ride in the Arctic Circle. Cycle Traveller

Back in 1993, Australian Kate Leeming became the first woman to cycle the entire breadth of the 'New Russia' unsupported. Ten years later, she circumnavigated Australia, becoming the first woman to bike the incredibly difficult 1,800km Canning Stock Route. Then, in 2010, she became the first person ever to cycle from the Western most point of Africa to its Eastern horn in war-torn Somalia, braving deserts and political instability to succeed. Now, Leeming hopes to become the first to cycle to the South Pole using her world first all-wheel-drive fat bike – but this expedition is proving to be her toughest yet, well before her wheels even reach Antarctica.

Alia Parker's picture

Book review: The Cycle Tourist, a great guide for beginners

Gary Corbett, author of The Cycle Tourist on a bicycle tour of Italy. Cycle Traveller

It all started innocently enough. Gary Corbett was in dire need of a holiday and thought he would do something a little different, so he signed up for an organised bike tour along the Loire River in France. It was an obvious place for a cycling holiday – France, home of Le Tour, the world's most famous bicycle touring race. But the experience opened up a world of amazing adventures well beyond Europe's borders. Thirteen years on and the retired journalist has now cycled more than 30,000km in different countries around the world, his latest destination being Colombia. Cycling holidays have become an addiction – one that he shares in his new book, The Cycle Tourist.

Alia Parker's picture

A second life: Andy Sninsky's tale of cycling and survival

Multiple myeloma sufferer Andy Sninsky cycling the Mojave Desert. Cycle Traveller

At first glance, it may not appear to be such a huge feat: a seasoned 65-year-old American cyclist riding along the Sydney Harbour foreshore at Circular Quay. But this is no ordinary cyclist. Andy Sninsky suffers from multiple myeloma, a type of incurable bone marrow cancer. If he falls from his bike – even in the most seemingly harmless of accidents – his brittle bones will be crushed, his riding days will be over and his quality of life diminished. But still, Andy rides on; he loves seeing the world by bike and through his riding he hopes to bring greater awareness and support to a type of devastating cancer doctors still know so little about.

Alia Parker's picture

Film review: Janapar, love on a bike

Tom Allen in Janapar, a cycle touring film about love. Cycle Traveller

A touring cyclist pedals his way along a vast desert horizon. He leaves our screen and when he returns his face is full of despair. He is lonely. He looks around the dry emptiness that surrounds him and admits he doesn't know what he is doing. But he is not talking about cycling; that is the easy part. And with that, we're hooked. For those fearful that Janapar: Love on a bike may be one hour and 20 minutes of looking through someone else's holiday snaps, fear not. At its heart, Janapar is a love story; the true story of the then 23-year old Tom Allen from Middleton, England, who set off with three friends to cycle around the world. Three and a half years later he returned to England a changed man.

Alia Parker's picture

Warm Showers and the growth of cycle touring hospitality

Carl and Tess Hattingh cycle touring Europe. Cycle Traveller

There is a humbling romanticism attached to the early days of cycle touring. These were the days before the internet, before satellite navigation, before mobile phones; the days of classic diamond-framed steel bikes, canvas tents, paper maps and cotton shirts. The way ahead couldn't be seen on Google Earth, it was unknown and truly adventurous. But technology has not been the death of bicycle travel; if anything, it has fuelled it. Where once pedalling travellers moved about like passing ships in the night – romantic, but fleeting and disconnected – they now have the encouragement of a whole online community. The internet has allowed groups like Warm Showers – where cycle tourists offer each other free accommodation and support – to blossom, growing to almost 40,000 active members around the world, half of which are hosts.

Alia Parker's picture

Love conquers: Samuel Johnson's Australia by unicycle

Samuel Johnson and his sister Connie Johnson for Love Your Sister. Cycle Traveller

Samuel Johnson admits a single-speed unicycle isn't the most practical way to cycle around Australia, but out of respect to the current world record holder for the longest unicycle journey, he decided to do it the hard way – and he's making great progress. With more than 8,000km down since February, Samuel's on track to set a new Guinness World Record of more than 15,000km by January, when he will have unicycled through every state and territory of Australia. “We've managed to arrive everywhere on time so far, which is a minor miracle. I'm really thrilled with how it's going,” he told Cycle Traveller.


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