FOLLOWING THE FINKE RIVER
A totally original sand cycling expedition and a journey back in time through the heart of the Australian outback.
The ephemeral Finke River begins in the West MacDonnell Ranges and carves a convoluted path through spectacular prehistoric 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.
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 Explorer 510 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 include indigenous stories, culture, artwork and present day issues into the story and relate to students around the world.