Chances are that in the past, if you had heard of Tasmania, it was for one of the following reasons; It is a decent sized island 150 miles off the big island, Australia, there is a tough little creature that lives only there, called the Tasmanian Devil, immortalized by the “Looney Tunes” cartoons, there are a lot of poisonous snakes and an abundance of wilderness for them to thrive in.
It is ten thirty at night at the end of a stormy, rainy cold day somewhere in the remote wilderness of Iceland. We are still quite a distance from our refuge for that night when the short Icelandic night draws in. Suddenly our Land Rover support vehicle’s axle breaks, we stop just in time before the left rear wheel completely falls off.
This was one of those times when we were extremely thankful that there is a cell phone signal almost everywhere on this 103,000 sq. km island, and so we were able to call the refuge keeper to come to our rescue. Magne our support driver had to brave this hostile environment solo all night and wait for spare parts to come the following morning so that he could repair the Land Rover. As they say; an adventure isn’t an adventure until things start to go wrong.
Take two world champion expert trials riders, put them on a boat en-route to Corsica and let’s see what we get with the prefect mix of Hans Rey and Kenny Belaey.
But first, while we wait for Kenny to arrive from Belgium I suggest a little ride close to my home in the Calangues.
It is black; I cannot breath, I cannot move…as though from a dream I hear Hans’ voice calling me trying to find out if I am OK. The voice is distant.
A young man; 18 year old Kevin, stands on a dusty street corner on the outskirts of Antigua, Guatemala. Two years ago he received a bicycle from Wheels 4 Life through his school; “Escuela Proyecto La Esperanza” which was founded and is run as a UK based charity. They produce an excellent educational program for the extremely poverty stricken people of the Antigua area in Central America.
It’s weird. For the first time I’m wishing my backpack were heavier. Even bulging with overnight kit it feels too light, which means I’m out of water. We’re 3000 meters up on a remote Northern Argentinean mountainside, beneath a searing sun. And then comes the hammer blow: “We are half way now,” says Francisco, our local bike guide. We’ve been out on this trail five hours already today but it will be another four before we reach our day’s end point and can finally rehydrate. We look at our limp hydration reservoirs and then at each other.
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