This is the first documentary of the Wander Dust series. A personal project supported by Curve Cycling. This time documenting a 10-day gravel loop in The High Country in Victoria, Australia.
Head over to Curve Cycling here to read the accompanying article or read it below.
Only recently Melbourne was restricted to a 5 kilometer radius and 1 hour of outside time due to the coronavirus. I loved it! Being forced to work within certain boundaries can trigger a sense of creativity as John Cleese explains in a lecture on said topic. I acquired a newfound appreciation for my neighbourhood whilst carefully finetuning a "best of" of the streets straight on my doorstep.
Without any desire to return to "normal life", I played with the idea of the other extreme once the radius and time restrictions were removed: A multi-day bikepacking adventure. But where, when and for how long, I asked myself. And my mum: "Why?” Not being bound by places or times to go, working without any restrictions was a bit challenging. And my mum's question was definitely the hardest.
After a bit of researching, an executive decision was made: A 10-day bikepacking adventure across the Australian Alps, inspired by Curve’s flashpacking ride, departing from my doorstep.
Apart from riding and surviving, I decided to document each and every day to keep me distracted from potentially all-consuming thoughts on where to find food, shelter and water and other inconvenient experiences from my previous bikepacking adventure. Recording videos and documenting, I thought, would help me reconstruct my memories of my sensory experiences of the foreign landscape and my daily routines on and off the bike in a new life of not being at home. In particular, “after” the adventure. And to then share it with my mum to hopefully answer that “Why?” question.
So … 10 days of pre-ride planning, 10 days of riding, 10 days of post-ride creating daily diary videos. The opportunities in these 30 days seemed endless. Trying to do the gift of time justice.
To me, the planning felt like tilling land. The riding like planting seeds. The documenting like fertilising soil. And creating these daily diary videos felt like time taking control and seeing the plants grow and sharing a garden of memories with my family and friends. And you. And you can watch it all on YouTube, or check out the route on Strava.
Susuwatari & Stuff
Accompanying me was my mascot "Susuwatari", a Studio Ghibli anime character. Its name roughly translates to "Wandering Dust".
Apart from this heavyweight, the rest of my stuff was:
Curve GXR Titanium Frameset
Curve GXR Carbon Fork
Curve Race 700C 30x30 Wheelset
PanaRacer GravelKing SK 700C 43mm Tyres
SRAM Force 1x HRD 38T Chainring and 10-42T Cassette
Pro Stealth Stainless 142mm Saddle
Zipp Service Course SL Seatpost
Zipp Service Course SL 80mm Stem
Zipp Service Course SL 420mm Bars
Rapha Brevet Bar Tape
3 x King Cage Titanium Bottle Cages
2 x King Cage Titanium Many Things Cages
Rapha Explore Waterproof Rear Pack
Rapha Explore Waterproof Frame Pack
Rapha Explore Waterproof Toptube Pack
Rapha Musette (functioning as a daytime shopping bag and nighttime pillow case)
2 x Sea to Summit 4 Litre Dry Bags
4 x Voile Straps
MSR Hubba NX Solo Tent
Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Sleeping Mat
Sea to Summit Micro MCII Sleeping Bag
King Gee WorkCool Hi-Vis Reflective Shirt
North South Tech Tee
Rapha Giro Helmet
Rapha Randonnee Shorts
Rapha Cross Shoes
Toms Canvas Shoes
Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
2 x Maap Team Bib Shorts
2 x Rapha Merino Wool Base Layers
3 x North South Socks
Colgate Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Cancer Council Sport SPF50+ Sunscreen
Sea to Summit Hand Cleaning Gel
Sea to Summit Pocket Towel
2 x Medical Face Masks
360 Degrees Furno Stove and Pot Set
Jetboil Jetpower Fuel 100g Canister
Sea to Summit AlpaLight Cutlery Set
Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filtration System
6 x Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dried Meals
6 x Oats Sachets
12 x Cliff Bars
2 x 850ml Curve bottles and 1 x 600ml North South bottle
Quadlock Case and Mount
Belkin BoostCharge 10K Power Bank
Kmart Telescopic Tripod and Bluetooth Remote Control
SPOT Global Satellite GPS Messenger
Cards and Cash
Lezyne SV-11 Multi Tool
2 x Schwalbe Inner Tubes
2 x Lezyne Tyre Levers
2 x Lezyne CO2 Cartridges
6 x Lezyne Patches
Hiplok Z Lok Combination Lock
Curve Derailleur Hanger
Pro Performance Pump
Squirt Chain Lube
SRAM Chain Link
I’ll be honest. I have had a love-hate relationship with my Curve. I thought about selling it several times. I’m a beginner at this bikepacking thing. And it’s tough from time to time. Although there are amazing sources on the internet to prepare for these adventures, once you’re out there the pieces of advice are as distant as your doorstep. Time to hit that steep learning curve. Pun intended.
The conditions my Curve is most in its element are tough. Australia is tough. A sun-burnt country. Dusty roads. Rocky roads. Scarcity of water. Risk of bushfires. And I’m the weakest link in all of this. I hate that it takes me on out-of-my-comfortzone experiences. But I love that these experiences appear to turn into my most favorite memories. A new currency with compounding interest rate over time. In particular, the creative process of putting these videos of this adventure into something of a story allowed me to reflect and cash in on the reward.
I’m sold. My Curve is here to stay, like my memories.
Wander Dust On Social Media
In addition to the documentary and the article, the following teaser photos and videos were used on social media to announce the release.