One Year By Bicycle
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The Plan

2001 is time for another long bicycle tour.  This time I will take a year off and probably ride somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 miles.  I expect most of my riding will be in the USA, Australia and India with some possibilities of New Zealand or other places.  Currently, the trip is structured as follows:

The warmup, across the USA: During the first two months, the plan is to bicycle across the USA from San Jose, CA to Jacksonville, FL, roughly following the Southern Tier Bicycle Route as mapped by Adventure Cycling.  I expect this to be a tough, but not too strenuous ride that gives me a good chance to get both myself and my equipment in better shape.  Riding a southern route across the USA completes a rough perimeter for me with rides along both coasts and the northern USA.
The main course, around Australia: Start in Sydney and ride anti-clockwise once around Australia.  This route breaks down into three roughly equal pieces of two months each:
Sydney to Darwin: up the more populated east coast to Townsville or perhaps Cairns.  From here, inland across Queensland to the Northern Territory and Darwin.  Once I'm in Darwin, hope to take a short break and fly back to USA for a high school reunion (20 years, yikes!).
Darwin to Perth: along the Kimberley, past the deserts in the north west and down the coast to Perth.  I expect this to be the most remote stretch with large gaps between water stops.  Will need to carry at least 20 liters of water in this part.  Interestingly, Australia is the most urban continent, as measured by the number of people living in cities.  This means a lot of wide open spaces between those cities.
Perth to Sydney, across the Nullarbor and then via Adelaide and Melbourne back to Sydney.  Until Adelaide, this will still be outback and remote.

If all goes well, this route will take about six months for ~9000 miles.  I have eight months allocated, so the extra time will be spent either on some side trips (Tasmania?) or flying to New Zealand and touring there.

New Year's Eve, December 31, 2001, Mauna Kea: At the end of the year, I'll fly to Hawaii and try bicycling from sea level to the summit of Mauna Kea at 13,796 feet.  This is the tallest point in the Pacific, with road grades of 18% or more and an average grade of 10% for the last 15 miles (7500 feet in 15 miles).  I suspect there will be some walking uphill as well as bicycling and also that it will take me two or three days to complete the climb.  Anyone care to join me in ringing in 2002 from the summit of this extinct volcano? Full moon is 12/30/2001, so may not be the best for astronomers, but should be dramatic and beautiful for cyclists.
The wind down, India: My precise itinerary is not yet determined.  If possible, I'd like to bicycle in India from Chennai (Madras) along the coast to Mumbai (Bombay).  I'm still investigating the perils and challenges of doing a solo bicycle tour in India.
Note: This plan is now revised.  I will be cycling through New Zealand over Christmas and New Years and fly to south India in mid-January 2002 where I'll cycle until end of February.  Mauna Kea will have to wait for another trip.

The trip has been timed so as to be in Darwin and the northern deserts during the Australian winter, thus hopefully avoiding the worst of the summer monsoons and extreme tropical heat.  Plan is to leave San Jose on March 1st 2001 and Sydney on May 1st 2001.

Unless otherwise specified, this page Copyright 2001-2002, Mike Vermeulen