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The Sprung Chicken Ride

by Melanie Colavito

With the snow starting to fall here in Flagstaff, AZ, we must take care to ward off cabin fever. One method is to keep tabs on various bike touring adventures going on around the world. Why not ride vicariously and let others do the work for a few months while we enjoy the snow?

One such adventure that we have been following for the past few months is the Sprung Chicken Ride. The Sprung (no, not spring) Chicken Ride is the brainchild of Mark and Denise Arundel. The Australian couple are successful business partners who run Multilocus Interactive, which is a visual communications and photography business. In 2007, the couple realized that despite the good success of their businesses, they were working too much and did not have enough free time to do a variety of important, non-work related activities in their lives. Consequently, they decided to step back from the business slightly, and in 2008, they came up with the idea to cycle around Australia.

As the 47-year-old Denise and 49-year-old Mark readily acknowledge, they are certainly not old. However, as Denise’s father reminded them, no longer are they spring chickens, either. Hence the concept behind and name of the ride: Sprung Chicken. Denise and Mark feel they have been temporarily “sprung” from many of their responsibilities and hence capable of attempted the circumnavigation of Australia. From their “About” page:

We do not consider ourselves old by any stretch of the imagination, Denise is 47 and I am 49. However, most people we discuss our plans with seem overwhelmed by the concept of riding a fully loaded bicycle nearly 20,000km. They express surprise that we would consider such an adventure at our age and then ask why we are not using our 4WD and off road camper trailer. Our answer is that this trip we want to travel more slowly and take the opportunity to meet people and cycling gives us the opportunity to do this. When we travel in a car everything rushes past and we miss a lot of things, that when discovered on a bicycle, lead us along a very different path to that originally planned.

As for the ride itself, it is meant to be leisurely and casual. They have set aside 10 months for the adventure, and they are mainly sticking to the coast of Australia, while trying to visit as many places as possible. The ride is entirely unsupported, and they are carrying everything they need on their bikes and in their BOB trailers. The total trip will be approximately 20,000 kilometers or about 12,500 miles all told.

To date, the couple has completed a significant portion of their adventure. As of Friday, November 27, they were on the 243rd day of their tour and nearing the more heavily populated southern part of Australia.

I will be following the couple’s adventures back to their home in Canberra. I wish them the best of luck with the rest of their trip, and especially with their transition back to the “real” world. Perhaps more difficult than the trip itself? And by the time they finish, it might be time to start planning for a spring bike tour up here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Note: all photos are credited to the Sprung Chicken website.

 
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