Indiana June is the main character in a real-life Pick-A-Path Adventure story. She is cycling the globe and letting people vote to decide what she does next. Her fate is in your hands so get voting to choose how the story unfolds. Read more…

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Saturday, 07 January 2012

Fake it 'til you make it: How I tricked myself into cycling the globe

Yesterday I used the 'reach-back-and-hope' suntan lotion application technique. It left a 1cm strip along the line of my muscle shirt exposed (minus the muscles) and my skin now resembles a piece of pink and crackly fried bacon. Today is forecast to hit 40 degrees so I'm taking a day in the shade in San Antonio de Areco, to shed some light on a question I get asked a lot.

Were you a pro cyclist before you began this trip? Ahh... No. 

When I explain that my cycle experience included a few months of spin classes, riding to work each day and half a dozen weekend cycles (that normally featured a hearty lunch and pint in the middle) people's eyebrows almost pop off their foreheads. When I continue to explain that all I knew of cycle touring was what I had read on the internet, which is where I ordered pannier bags, cycle shorts, camping equipment and any other item I figured I might need, their mouth drops open. In fact it wasn't until 2 weeks before my departure that I realised I'd never pitched my tent or gone on an overnight cycle trip, so I cycled 50km to a beach and made sure it all worked.


The first time I ever cycled with four pannier bags on a bike was the moment I cycled out of Dublin - Day one of the Indiana June adventure. I had my sisters with me on the first night and we stayed in a cushy b&b so the reality of cycle tour hardship hadn't hit me yet. It wasn't until the next day when Roz and Cheryl cycled in one direction and I went the other that I realised the enormity of the project. A rush of pre-departure conversations flooded my mind.

"Wow, you're so brave doing this on your own."

"Won't you get scared?"

"How are you going to get up hills with carrying all that stuff?"

"Where will you sleep and what will you eat?"

At the time I'd brushed off these comments with a 'she'll be right' attitude but faced with these challenges on a daily basis I regularly felt like turning back. If I'm completely honest, my motivation in the beginning was fueled more by the embarrassment of failure than a desire to cycle the world. So I kept going, one hill and one day at a time. I was no pro but I was learning new techniques each day that made life a little easier. Slowly my legs got stronger and my comfort zone stretched beyond the easy suburban lifestyle I was used to.

I got lost, my equipment broke, I got wet every day but I survived.

When I met people along the way I sheepishly told them I was on a Round the World cycle trip, despite the fact I hadn't left Ireland yet. I felt a bit stupid but I knew if I said it enough times, eventually it would become a reality.

The moment I stepped off the ferry from Belfast, Ireland to Stranraer in Scotland I did a happy dance (in the pouring rain). It might have been one small boat ride for most people but it was the day that I became a country-crossing cyclist with ambitions to see the whole world on two wheels.

It was a big lesson for me to realise that you don't have to be amazing at something from day one. In fact, it's near impossible to be brilliant from the beginning. I may have had my metaphorical training wheels on for the Irish leg of the journey but I had to start somewhere.

I quit my job, abandoned city life, sold my possessions and got on a bike.

These were the things that took real courage, the biking/camping/navigating bit in relation to all of that was something I could work out along the way.  

I've heard people say that if you focus on the 'what' the 'how' will take care of itself. It might sound like self-help mumbo jumbo but I believe whole heartedly in this sentiment. Before the trip I made a list on a piece of paper of all the things I loved to do - then I came up with a plan to combine them all.


I urge you to do the same, pick up a pen and write down what you love to do. Plant the seed for a more fulfilling life and you'll be surprised what starts to sprout in your imagination. If you don't love your life, why not choose to change it?


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Latest Poll Results
New York: What will Indiana June do in the big apple?
21% Track down and visit Oliver Jeffers:
Renowned Children's storybook writer & illustrator
11% Walk the High Line:
A linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the elevated NY Central Railroad 
11% Be a NYC detective for a day: 
Part game, theatre and tour to discover some of NYC's most off-the-beaten path spots
13% Explore the City Hall Subway Station: 
Abandoned & hidden from the public for 60 years
12% Flying trapeze class:
Hone her circus skills learning how to fly on a trapeze 
30% NZ Flag + Statue of Liberty:
Bodypaint the NZ flag on her body and go up the Statue of Liberty
2% Go to Queens and find a 'Nanny' sound-alike:
Video someone with the nanny accent saying "noo Zealand, i love that place"
Voting closed | 204 VOTES
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