Dr Kate Leeming warms up for her MTB expedition to the South Pole with a red hot journey back in time through Australia’s outback along what’s possibly the world’s oldest river, carving through the heart of the great red island. This was a totally original sand cycling expedition and a journey back in time through the heart of the Australian outback.
“This was an original, unprecedented journey along the world’s oldest river, 90% without tracks – sand, stones, animal tracks…”
The ephemeral Finke River begins in the West MacDonnell Ranges and carves a convoluted path through spectacular gorges before meandering across the desert and disappearing into the sands of the Simpson, about 700km from it’s source.
The Finke River, or Larapinta to the local Arrernte people, is the world’s oldest river (or thereabouts); parts of the course near the source in the West MacDonnell Ranges, are older than the range itself (approximately 320 million years old). It was there when the ranges were pushed up, before the dinosaurs, when the Earth’s land masses were united to form the Pangea super-continent.
“I used my Christini AWD fatbike, mark II, the one I used in Northeast Greenland. It held up amazingly well for the punishment it received. This was probably the toughest terrain I have ever had to deal with.”
The sandy river bed has been an important trade route for the Arrernte in eons past, but no one has ever cycled its course (during the Dry season). Using one of my all-wheel drive fatbikes (prototype developed for Antarctica), the expedition will be part bike-packing and part supported to ensure safety and to capture the highest quality content. We will carry a BGAN Hughes 9211 so we can communicate effectively during the two week journey.
Cycling in sand is excellent physical and mental preparation for Antarctica. Negotiating soft, unstable surfaces requires immense core strength and concentration. Different techniques are used compared with cycling on regular paved and gravel surfaces.
There will be opportunities to relate to students around the world.
Find out more about this and Kate’s other amazing adventures at http://www.breakingthecycle.education
By James SwannOriginally from Sheffield, James lives and works in the mountain bike mecca that is the Lake District and has been falling off bikes since he was six. In between working on bike events, riding bikes, racing bikes and writing about bikes he enjoys talking about bikes with anyone who will listen. He really likes bikes.