Travel by Bicycle

Shonky Freewheel Repair

Recently, on a steep descent outside Tunnel, Tasmania, the pedals on my bike, which should stop spinning when you stop pedaling, went into overdrive. Like an imp of satan had taken over the pedaling, the pedals took off at a blazing, ankle breaking speed.

Luckily I don’t have toe clips, those cage-like thing that hold your feet to the pedals. So I just lifted my boots off the cheap plastic pedals and let them thrash around until I coasted to… Continue reading

Listen to Why They Call it the Pieman River

Early morning crossing: the “Fatman” barge crosses the Pieman River.

At the controls is Blackie Stewart (Corinna, Tasmania)

It struck me as curious. How does a Tasmanian river come to be called the Pieman River? Recently, while spending some time with the crew of the “Fatman” ferry, Tasmania’s smallest, remotest punt, I found out why.

In the interview you’re about to hear, I’m hanging out with ferry operator Blackie Stewart in the Fatman’s wheelhouse. After he’s explained the punt’s workings,… Continue reading

Driving the Fatman

The Fatman: Tasmania’s smallest, remotest ferry

Traveling around Tasmania on my rapidly disintegrating bike, I recently had the honor of spending a few days with the crew of the “Fatman”, Tasmania’s smallest, remotest ferry. In the course of of my visit, I had a chance to take a turn at the helm.

So what’s it like to drive the “Fatman”?

A lot, it turns out, like driving my ten-dollar bike. In places where you’d expect high dollar, legit parts, you’ll… Continue reading

Listen to the Fatman Basics

Tasmania’s west coast: the only thing that connects it from north to south is a small road, in many places, still gravel. (outside Balfour, Tasmania)

It’s a curious thing. Travel down Tasmania’s rugged west coast on a bike, as I did recently, and about half way down, the gravel road comes to an abrupt stop at the Pieman river. Full stop. No bridge. Some days there’s not even a safety barrier to keep cars from driving into the river.

Sort… Continue reading

Welcome to Paradise


Biking the back roads of Tasmania for almost 5 months now, I’ve had plenty of time to mull things over. Like Paradise.

Paradise. Ever since early man struck a rock to a stick, this notion of Paradise has been around taunting man. The deal was simple. Life here on Earth is tough. If you behave – don’t cave you’re neighbor’s head in with a large rock, think pure thoughts, don’t steal sheep – one day you’ll get to Paradise.… Continue reading

The Rest of the Story – from Strahan

The Fatman: the story is coming (Corinna, Tasmania)

The old pushie (push bike) and I have just rolled to a halt in Strahan, Tasmania.
The past 2 weeks on the road have yielded a bumper crop of audio footage – from interviewing a man and dog in Paradise to riding the Fatman across a river named after a cannibal. Yep, at this point that makes no sense to you. But check back shortly. A shower after 2 weeks on the… Continue reading

Hauling Apples

It happens. Biking around Tasmania on a junk shop bike, I come across stuff I’d like to take with me. But often there’s just not room.

Take the apple season. In these late summer days, wild, well, lets call them feral, apple trees drape their bounty across the dirt road shoulders. (Quick apple lingo: “feral” means you can reach them from your bike. “Someone else’s” means you have to climb across a fence and sidle up next to an apple… Continue reading

Sounds Like the Roaring Forties

Recently, while traveling across Flinders Island on my cast off bike, I took a break next to a sign welcoming me to the Roaring Forties. After toasting the event, I whipped out my audio recorder to capture the sound the sign was making. I bottled it up in my audio recorder and today you’ll have a listen.

The sign you’re about to hear

What you’ll hear is the wind blowing over two bolt holes on the Roaring Forties sign.… Continue reading

Toasting the Roaring Forties With a Fly

Cheers! Toasting the 40th Meridian (Emita, Flinders Island, Tasmania)

In the last update, I was on Flinders Island toasting the Roaring Forties. To be precise, I was beneath the “You are crossing the 40 South Parallel” sign lifting a jar of scotch to my lips. That’s when I heard the buzzing in the air.

What the hell was that?

It didn’t sound like an albatross, cliff or flapping sail, all the sounds I associate with this way-south part of… Continue reading

Welcome to the Roaring Forties

Roaring Forties. The words conjure images of the salt captain braced against the ship’s helm, sparks flying from his pipe. Sails tattered. Lee shore looming, hard and horrible, under the dolphin striker stay.

The skeletal remains of a fishing boat driven ashore by high winds (Killiecrankie, Flinders Island, Tasmania)

But just what are the Roaring Forties? Where do they lie? What do they sound like?

A few years ago, I got close to them in my sailboat “Sea Bird”. Sailing… Continue reading

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