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Monday, 13 April 2009

Cycle Strongman: An Interview with Chris Roach - Page 3

Written by Kristen Hamill
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On March 28, 2009, Australian Chris Roach set out on an eight-year journey to cycle the world. The 27-year-old Newcastle native is the one-man operation behind the Cycle Strongman Expedition, an idea Roach conceived only months before hitting the road in efforts to promote awareness about environmental change, raise money for Oxfam International, and see the world without traveling by car or plane. His proposed 75,000-kilometer journey will take him through Australia, South East Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Americas, Eastern Asia, and back down to Australia, and it will be virtually carbon-emission free. Roach hopes that by circumnavigating the globe on one set of wheels and aboard the occasional sailboat, he will inspire people to lead more sustainable lifestyles and look to the rest of the world on how to live in tune with the environment.


How are you dealing with the idea of being on the road for the next eight years?

Cycle Strongman: An Interview with Chris Roach, awareness about environmental change, raising money for Oxfam International, cycle the world, cycle Australia, cycle South East Asia, cycle the Middle East, cycle Europe, cycle Africa, cycle the Americas, cycle Eastern Asia, www.cyclestrongman.comAt the moment I’m kind of just focusing on the first leg from Newcastle to Darwin. That will be about three months cycling, which is about three and a half thousand kilometers. That will be the first leg and then getting over to Indonesia and through South East Asia, around Burma, you can’t actually cycle through Burma there’s always problems trying to get visas, so to avoid that I’ll be going through China, and then Tibet if I can get through, and down through India. Then through Nepal, back up through the ‘stans’- Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, through to Iran, then Turkey. That’s where my focus is at the moment. I’m trying to break it up. It gets very daunting thinking ‘oh I’ve got this big route around the world.’ I’m trying to take it in small bites at the moment.


I noticed that your tentative route passes through several countries (Libya, Sudan, Iran) that aren’t exactly easy to travel through. How do you plan on handling this?

There were just a few options for the route. I haven’t really planned too far ahead to be honest. Its two years away and there’s so much going on at the moment; there’s so many different aspects of the expedition – I can’t be looking too far into the future. I haven’t even started putting any energy into getting that far yet. I’m just focusing on getting to India, and then from India to Europe. And that’s when I’m planning on taking some time off. I’m going to have to work along the way and save a bit of money.


Will your friends and family be able to visit you or will you return home to Australia at all?

I’m trying not to return home, only in the case of an emergency with my family. The idea of the expedition is to get around the world as sustainably as possible. I’m trying to get around and see the world, and get other people to think about their impact on the environment.


What will be the hardest thing about this expedition?

I think the way the trip evolves will be kind of a learning experience. The hardest part will be missing my family and the friends that I’ll leave behind. There is a lot I’m giving up. I have two beautiful nieces that are only four and I won’t see them grow up. And I’ve got my girlfriend who I am leaving behind. That will be really hard. They’re really supportive for the most part, if not a little worried. But I’ve got a lovely family and they are fully behind me, I couldn’t have done it without them and their encouragement. Just to have that safety net there, having them there to support you. They’re a little scared but also excited for me and keen to follow the trip, to see how it morphs and see where I go.


Do you speak any languages besides English?

I speak a bit of Norwegian, but not a lot. I’ll pick things up along the way. You’ve got to learn to communicate in other ways. Even that experience is a learning experience.


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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