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Cristiano Werneck leads a Trans-Oceania adventure

Alia Parker's picture
Cyclist Cristiano Werneck will lead a group of riders from Indonesia to Australia. Cycle Traveller

Brazilian Cristiano Werneck has a job many would envy: he travels the world designing epic bicycle routes and leading groups of touring cyclists. This month he sets out on a Trans-Oceanic adventure for Tour d'Afrique – a bicycle tour from Medan, down through Indonesia and through the Australian Outback from Darwin, down to the Great Ocean Road and finishing up in Sydney. He has come a long way since he bought his first bike from the supermarket at the age of 18. As he prepares to hit the road, Cristiano tells us how there's a lot more to the adventure than just cycling.

CT: Why do you ride?

CW: I started riding as a way to reach some waterfalls near my home in Brazil and it slowly took over my life as I ditched my car and decided to make cycling my main means of transportation. From mountain biking and commuting I soon started touring. I like it because it is simple, fun and healthy. For me, nothing beats off-road and mountain bike touring.

Reconnaisance trip in Indonesia. Cycle Traveller

CT: What drew you into leading bicycle tours?

CW: It was a lot more than the bicycles; life on the road was a big part of it, as was the group dynamics and the intense pace of the work. I guess I also really like the challenges and the stress that sometimes will come with it.

CT: What's it like leading tour groups on such long adventures?

CW: It is fantastic. I graduated as a psychologist and I've learned so much more about us humans on these trips than I did at university. It's epic! You are constantly having to deal with the unexpected and are forced to play it by ear and to be creative. There is a lot less cycling and a lot more chopping than people think.

CT: How did you enjoy the recent reconnaissance trip for the Trans-Oceania Cycle Tour?

CW: I loved it. I found myself doing the whole route from North Indonesia to Sydney by car and it was a great experience, no shortage of challenges and epic stories. Figuring out the driving and cycling culture of a certain part of the world and trying to find the most interesting and safest way of  riding your bike across it is always a very rich experience.

CT: Which part of the Trans-Ociania are you most looking forward to?

CW: That is a hard question. Having said that, I have a thing for long desert crossings and can't wait to be in the Outback Australia with the group.

Discovering sites along the route. Cycle Traveller

CT: What challenges did you come across when planning the route?

CW: We are constantly trying to balance safety with scenery and culture and navigation; finding that balance can sometimes be tricky. But our main challenges are usually the same as motorized vehicles: finding accommodation in remote parts of Indonesia, long ferry crossings with no bookings or schedules, and figuring out how to keep our supplies stocked in the Australian Outback and in parts of Indonesia.

CT: Did you discover any unexpected gems along the way?

CW: One of the beauties of travelling by bicycle is that you get to see everything between one touristic highlight and the other, so the world of the hidden gems is all yours. I found the Outback to be full of these places and characters and so is all of Indonesia (where most tourists will only go to Bali and a few places in Java).

CT: What can prospective riders expect to experience on the journey?

CW: Expect the unexpected. Among so many experiences, I would highlight the adventures. Leaving room for adventures by giving riders more freedom than a standard bike tour usually does, is a big part of our style. We encourage interaction with the locals and the sense of adventure. The Trans-Oceania tour is an adventure for both the cyclists and the staff.

For more information about Cristiano's Trans-Oceania bicycle tour – one of the 7 Epics  visit the Tour d-Afrique website.

Comments

Que inveja boa! Boa sorte em suas aventuras...

(Very envious! Good luck in your adventures...)

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