The Bikings Project & Silicon Power
Imagine this. You decide to pedal a bicycle completely around a foreign country. You ride almost 6,000 kilometers through the elements. Through extreme temperatures. You’re months into a journey around Australia that will last over a year. Hardly any people on the road beside your team. At times, there’s very little water. No bed. No air conditioning. None of the comforts of home.
For most, this doesn’t sound like a very fun time. But for the Bikings Project team, it’s their idea of the dream life. The Silicon Power marketing team sat down (over Skype) with the three Argentines to hear all about their adventures down under.
What Is The Bikings Project?
The Bikings Project is a 16,000-kilometer cycling journey around Australia by Daniel Recht, Franco Recht, and Maxo Cadel. During their expedition, the three Argentines will connect the most famous bike trails and routes in the country including the peaceful Munda Biddi trail, the striking Nullarbor plain, the Mawson trail, the beauty of the Great Ocean Road, up the Pacific Highway and across the wilderness found on Gibb River road. Along the way, they’ll pass through a number of Australian cities including Albany, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, and back to Perth.
Their mission is to spread the world of cycle touring to the world by showing their own experience around Australia by bike. They hope to transmit and share their daily expedition life in the most authentic way. The three want to encourage young people to adopt bike touring as a way of life to discover the world.
They are also passionate about photography, communication, cooking, music, sound, and living consciously and connected. As of July 17th, the Bikings Project team has traveled 5,795 kilometers during their 192 days on the road.
Rest & Relaxation in Sydney
At the time of our call with the trio of cyclists, they were resting in Sydney. They shared their plans for the capital of New South Wales. Because they haven’t seen many people out in the countryside on their journey, they were excited to spend a few days in a city.
(Did you know that only 2% of Australia’s population lives inside the massive interior section of the country?)
This has been, they said, very refreshing. After all, reaching Sydney is one of their big milestones. It roughly represents the one-third mark of their journey. They met up with some friends from Argentina, went dancing in a club for the first time in months, and even had a gig with their band. Despite the fun of the city life, they told us the best part about being on an isolated bike journey has been connecting with people. Simply put, they get to know a lot of people in a very unique way. They told us:
“When you travel by car, for instance, you get from one point to another. When you are on the push bike, you have to stop every day. You get to know that person where you just stopped…random person…otherwise would have never met if you traveled by car. The connection you have with these people is the most incredible thing.”
How To Ride A Bicycle around Australia
Daniel Recht worked for four years as a digital creative art director in the Argentine advertising market. His first bike journey was in 2015 when he traveled 460 kilometers along the coast of Uruguay. Shortly after that, he traveled to Australia and it inspired him to cycle there.
This is the third official cycling tour for Daniel. In November 2016, Daniel did his first test ride in the Australian Northern Territory. He cycled almost 1,200 kilometers from Alice Springs to Uluru through the iconic red road Mereenie Loop. Because it was almost summer, the main challenge he faced was high temperatures and a lack of water. The following year in July of 2017, Daniel left Costa Rica for a ten-day adventure around Cuba. Starting the route in La Havana, he cycled over 500 kilometers until he reached the colonial town of Trinidad. But, why the return to Australia?
“It is pretty easy. You don’t have borders and bureaucratic paperwork. We only focus on what we are here to do now. Don’t need to worry about applying for visas.”
You see, along with the sheer physical hardships of the journey, there are hours and hours of logistical nightmares to deal with. It’s easy to see why a paperwork-free journey sounds so appealing.
Daniel and Franco Recht, Maxo Cadel, & Guampas del Sur
For this trip, Daniel invited two others along for the ride: his brother Franco Recht and friend Maxo Cadel.
Franco Recht’s first bike touring experience came in 2014 when he rode from Holland to Germany. He then rode 3,000 kilometers along the route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Inspired by the lessons learned while cycling Australia, he enrolled in a course on permaculture design, or what is known as “philosophy of agriculture.” He is also a musician in a group called Guampas del Sur.
Maxo Cadel is the third member of the Bikings Project team (and the second member of Guampas del Sur). He is a musician and the team’s sound crew. He is passionate about sound and spends much of his time capturing audio on the journey. He is the founder of his own sound production firm called Belele. His dream of going on tour with the band and recording a new album while cycling around Australia are currently coming true.
Guampas del Sur started in 2013 as a street tour act. They are now on tour during this cycling journey, playing their folk-rock, rumba, folklore, rap, reggae fusion across the country to whoever will listen.
Inspiration for Cycle Touring
It takes a lot of courage to tackle something like this. It takes planning, preparation, imagination, and commitment. And of course, it takes a lot of physical training for something like this, right? Well, not so much. In our conversation with the trio, they told us they’ve never been professional athletes. The first week was hard for them but “the body gets used to it.” They reminded us “there is no special age to bike.”
Much more than physical prowess, their driving force is an open heart for inspiration. Where does the inspiration to ride 16,000 kilometers come from? Inspiration comes from two places. They encounter inspirational moments on the road all the time. People cheer them on and tell them to keep following their dreams. They are grateful for the encouragement. It’s the inspirational push they need on the road. But, they derive a lot of motivation from people they admire.
Gurkan Genc is a world-touring Turkish cyclist who has been on a tour he first began in September of 2012. They’d been following the inspirational Turk as a fan for a while. On social media, they discovered he was in Argentina during his journey around the world. The trio invited him to have a barbeque. He accepted their invitation. They were blown away by his visit. It meant a lot for them to meet their hero just weeks before their own journey. They told us:
“He was full of wisdom and taught us a lot about simplicity.”
Hundreds of days spent cycling around a country may seem complicated. For the Bikings Project team members, it’s simple when you have big inspirations.
Among their list of inspiring expeditions, they list Alfredo Barragan and his Atlantis Expedition as one of the most important. The goal of the Atlantis Expedition was to prove that 3,500 years before the alleged discovery of America by Columbus, African sailors may have accidentally reached the shores of America through the ocean’s currents. 52 days, powered only by wind and currents with a single sail and no rudder, Barragan and his team were successful. It’s a story the trio tells us with a lot of excitement and admiration.
When we asked Daniel about his most memorable day on the road, he told us a story about the first hundred kilometer day. It was summertime in the desert during the second month of their trip. Daniel was emotional when entering the campsite after a hard day. He was the last to arrive. A bottle of bourbon sat on the table. The two other team members had set up camp before Daniel. But, they’d also made a friend. The two told their new friend about how they’d just completed their first hundred kilometer day. He went to his van and brought chocolate and bourbon. It was a memorable moment for all, one to remind the Bikings Project members why they do what they do.
The Silicon Power-Bikings Project Collaboration
Besides an iron will, the patience to sit in the saddle for months, and the sheer positivity that comes with friendliness from strangers, sponsorships make these trips more manageable. These events can be expensive, after all. Sponsored solutions are some of the most interesting aspects of journeys like these.
For the Bikings Project:
- SeaToSummit provided sleeping bags, mats, pillows, bags and mosquito protection
- Pelago provided their trusted bikes
- Rode supplied all the sound and recording equipment
- KleanKanteen provided bottles and canteens
- Silicon Power provided their external hard drives
Why did they reach out to us?
They told us they need communication, sharing, and storage devices. They have to store every minute of film and every picture they take somewhere. A day to day task for them is to download and back up. “On the Silicon Power device is our life,” Daniel said. Exposed to harsh climates, unpredictable weather, heavy shakes with the bicycle, they need an external hard drive that’s perfectly suited for this task.
Want to Go on A Cycle Journey?
People are the most important thing for the Bikings Project team. Meeting them, building connections, and staying in contact with these new friends. Most importantly, they want to inspire people. When I asked them what they’d offer to people who wanted to try something like this, they had two words: “do it.” They also told us:
“If you have the idea, you already have the starting point. If you have it, do it. Because that could be once in a lifetime.”
Sure, it takes time, patience, will. But in the end, Daniel reminded us “it’s good fun.”
If you’re lucky enough to be in Australia in the coming months, they encourage their fans and followers to connect with them and join them on the road for a leg of the journey.
All photos provided by the Bikings Project team.