Jake Wilcox of Venture500 just finished his inspiring transcontinental trip across Australia on an Elliptigo with a Burley Nomad trailer in tow. We had a chance to catch up with him and hear more about his trip. Check out the interview and follow him to learn about what’s to come for Venture500, a worldwide quest to complete 50 expeditions, each 500+ miles, unmotorized or by human-kindness.
Starting in Melbourne I made my way along the Great Ocean Road up to Adelaide. I then left the coast and began making my way inland through the heart of Australia, reaching Darwin and the Timor Sea 46 days later. I averaged 59 miles a day, had two flat tires (one on the trailer & one on the bike), crossed 3 Australian states, and 4 of the 10 central deserts. This was my 3rd of 7 continents crossed non motorized.
"The world is a big beautiful place, full of untold adventures and mysteries. If you have a dream, just do it!"
-Jake Wilcox, Venture500
How was it getting all your gear to Australia from the US? Did you ship to a destination? Or check it on the plane?
The logistics of a continent crossing are always going to be the most difficult. I looked into shipping it overseas but in the end just bought extra over-sized luggage and took it on the plane with me. Everything went smoothly I just had to keep all my gear under a certain weight.
What were some of the highlights from the trip?
Australia has been a dream of mine for about a decade now, so just getting boots on the ground here was a highlight for me. The unique animals, friendly people, beautiful natural landscapes, and delicious food also played an impressive part.
Was there anything you noted as a big difference from your other Venture500 expeditions?
This journey was by far my most difficult. Not many people go though the center of the continent. Its a very desolate place void of human life. So the stakes were a lot higher then previous journeys. If something went wrong no one would be around to help. It was all on me.
Were there any eye-opening moments?
I realized just how small humans are compared to the grand scale of nature. We have built grand cities and developed civilizations all over the planet, but there is still vast and untouched wilderness out here.
Any experiences with locals in your travels? What did they think of your adventure?
I did come across a few aboriginal tribes in the Outback. They thought the bicycle was a great way to see their native lands! Racism is very prevalent here and they said they prefer travelers like me because the struggle to travel changes the way you see a place.
How was it on the Elliptigo with a trailer in tow? Anything that you had to get used to while riding?
The Elliptigo and Nomad Trailer were a great combo! I was able to haul all my gear and make great timing in the deserts. I had to get used to the stand up bike in general. Much different riding style then a traditional sit down, but very fun. Within a few days it felt very natural.
I had stretches of 250+ km with no services, so I had to carry everything needed for a few days. The Nomad made it possible to haul the 20 liters of water and extra food needed during these stretches.
How was the Nomad able to help ease your adventure travel? Any specific features or moments when you found it very handy?
I had stretches of 250+ km with no services, so I had to carry everything needed for a few days. The Nomad made it possible to haul the 20 liters of water and extra food needed during these stretches. I specifically like the cargo rack attachment too. You can dry clothes and keep easy access of equipment you use a lot.
What was the average day like? How many miles a day were you covering and did you find any specific section difficult?
My average day consists of waking up at 4:30am, breaking down camp, & hitting the road by 5am. I’d ride an hour or so until the sunrises before taking a break and making a breakfast. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal, raisins, olive oil, and honey. Then cycling until 2-3pm before taking the afternoon off. Stopping every hour for a protein bar and water break. I’d hydrate and rest in shade if there was some until 5pm when it started to cool down. Often riding into the night because the temperature was tolerable during that time.
What were camps like?
It’s very easy to camp in the bush of the Outback as no one is around. I would ride until around 9pm, pull off the road, and set up my tent in the desert. Because light pollution is non existent the stars were very bright! I averaged about 6 hours of sleep per night while on expedition.
We’re so glad to hear Jake’s trip went smoothly and can’t wait to catch up to hear more about his travels when he’s back home. With only 19 of 50 expeditions completed for his Venture500 project there’s another epic quest just around the corner.