Cycling To The Ashes is Oli Broom’s attempt to see the world and its people on their terms, test himself, and spread the gospel according to cricket. Oli’s almost accomplished his goal of cycling all the way from London to Brisbane, so now’s the time to take a peek at his website and share in the euphoria of a road well cycled.
Oli’s style of writing will appeal to anybody with a sense of humor and a love of adventure. If you’re into cricket, that’s an extra bonus.
Wednesday 6th October – Mataranka towards Roper Bar – 75kms
If there’s a road less deserving of the grand title ‘highway’ than the Roper Highway then, well, I would be surprised. First 40kms out of Mataranka (real life location of the book, ‘We Of The Never Never’ by Jeannie Gunn) is single lane, poorly maintained bitumen, about the width of an adult Taipan snake and two thirds the width of a car. Then it’s 135kms of corrugated gravel – imagine cycling across a corrugated tin roof covered in sand and kangaroos. The ‘highway’ runs east from Mataranka all the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria, but I’ll be turning off tomorrow when I reach Roper Bar after about 175kms. Roper Bar sits in the south east corner of Arnhem Land, a historically significant Aboriginal area roughly the size of France. As I came onto the gravel, I passed a road sign indicating: “Warning! Gravel Track. Road driving skills necessary.” I thought road driving skills were necessary on most roads, not just crap ones. Excited to be in this country though, as reading great book called Hell West & Crooked – Tom Cole’s account of his life as a horse breaker, buffalo and crocodile hunter and genuine wild-man in the Northern Territory in the 1920/30’s. Writing 50 years later, he says: “Arnhem Land, even today, is one of the most remote spots in the world.” Carrying two days’ water at the moment (17 litres for drinking and cooking) so bike is heavy. Camped by the side of the road, incredible sunset, a million stars and the milky way – plus ca change….
Cycling to the Ashes is a great read and Oli is cycling for some deserving charities. Although following along as an adventure unfolds is always more fun, a browse through the archives is still guaranteed to get you dreaming about YOUR next bicycle tour.