Monday, August 27, 2012

Preparations under way in Hanoi

Today we opened the boxes that were mailed to the hotel in advance. We found spare parts and batteries! The batteries are charging now.

A little shop near the hotel fixed my stand, or rather a group of dedicated Vietnamese men with a big hammer fixed it. Alastair and I rode around the block a few times trying our luck with the traffic. They may not have rules here but it is apparent they do generally drive in the right hand side of the road....

We had a lovely woman from the hotel tour desk helping us plan the first leg of our journey. Thanks to our Vietnamese business cards explaining our expedition we have a lot of enthusiasm  everywhere we go!

Also, we now have Vietnamese SIMs in our phone and have mobile Internet and can communicate!

The adventure continues!

Sent from my iPhone (3GS that is!)

Arrived in Hanoi

Well, we are getting serious now! Alastair flew in from Perth with bike and all without incurring extra charges. I wasn't so lucky, I ended up having to pay $375 excess luggage fees (@$25/kg it adds up!), and my bike box got demolished between Devonport and Melbourne. Qantas gave me a new box and I repacked it at the airport before checking it onto the international flight. This time I took many heavy parts, including battery, off the bike and put them in my huge duffle bag.

I met Alastair in Singapore after overnighting with relatives there.

There was transport awaiting us in Hanoi to take us to the Rising Dragon Palace hotel where we put the bikes back together. It looks like only my bike stand got damaged in the box mangle.

We have lots of organising to do now, and during the week will welcome Jim and Marc from Canberra and Eleanor with cheer-squad (husband and child) from Brisbane.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pentax WG-1 GPS camera

Thank you to C.R. Kennedy for equiping me with a GPS enabled water and shockproof WG-1 camera! I have 24 hours to read the manual and decide on how to use the geotags on Facebook/blog. No worries mate, we'll figure it out! It can even record our daily ride route for Google Map. This means we'll have 14 megapixel photos no matter if I am bungee jumping, under water, or under a rock! And if I post the picture people will know where to find me perhaps...

Also, we got a nice write-up in Nova National, Australia's holistic journal! Very nice to see the national media slowly picking it up! Coughing for Cystic Fibrosis is getting National Recognition now.
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Boxed up and ready to Rock n Roll!

Rain, thunder and lightning accompanied me packing up the Zoco bike. The box had been kept in the garage for a couple of months and was already a bit damp. Anyways, a few miles of rope, several rolls of tape, a few hours of sweating, and it is done. Hope the box stays together till Hanoi! Europeans pack these things much better, they have boxes that allow the wheels to poke out and you can roll the box! Saves you taking off the wheel too, but our airlines dictate that the front wheel comes off.  One more day in Tasmania!
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

North West News

Eleanor Blaney from Brisbane tested out the Zoco Electric Bike last week and was 'caught' by the press (after a tip off). Eleanor will be riding with us in Vietnam for 2 weeks and had not ridden the actual bike yet. Shaun, our sponsor who supplied us with the electric bikes met Eleanor for a test ride. Now that she had a taste of Electric Assist she feels confident she can pedal the distance and better still, wishes she could cycle all the way to Singapore with us. The team agrees unanimously that she is welcome to change her mind, but her family and business (Foundry Productions) cannot possibly miss her that long!

Next week we are all meeting in Hanoi at the Rising Dragon Palace Hotel (who are supporting us with wholesale pricing!) in the old quarters where we have 6 bicycle batteries and spare parts already awaiting us. The 5000km ride to Singapore starts with the first leg to Hoi An on Saturday 1 September!
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Wishing us Well!

Special THANK YOU to the Wishing Well Clinic from Western Australia! Their connections have not only been instrumental in translating our postcard/business card propaganda into Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian, they helped write letters to Vietnamese Customs to get our spare batteries cleared through customs in Hanoi. Now the Wishing Well Clinic has offered to sponsor us with a $1500 grant towards 15 square meals for the team to keep us Feeling Well!

The Wishing Well Clinic has day and night (bulk billing) clinics in  Australind, Busselton, Capel and Delyellup all South of Perth in WA. If you are in that area may we recommend you pay them a visit and thank them on our behalf!

Alastair, our WA team member riding all the way from Vietnam to Singapore has a tight relation with the Wishing Well Clinic and is responsible for their artwork as well as a lot of handiwork around the clinics. Alastair deserves credit for kindling the Wishing Well support, without which we would not have the Asian language cards nor our spare batteries waiting for us in Vietnam! Thank you Alastair!
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Eleanor visiting Zillmere State School

Our Queensland team member Eleanor visited Zillmere State School on Tuesday and spoke to their students about Cystic Fibrosis and our 5000km ride from Vietnam to Singapore. She came well equiped with 100 children's CF educational pack provided by the CF Association of Queensland. Eleanore is riding the first  couple of weeks with us from Hanoi no HoiAn! Onya Eleanor, what a woman, its a privilege to have you on our team!
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Monday, August 20, 2012


To add to our collection of translations we now have the Cambodian version!

Having our business/post cards translated in the various languages helps us being mistaken for rich touring club cyclists!  Of course it also aids in Cystic Fibrosis awareness and spreading the word. Carrying all the cards is reasonably heavy. Thanks to everyone's generous donations we are able to afford to get these cards printed and the support vehicle to help us carry them and my medicine!

And in the below picture you can see a start to my cache of medicine to take for two months. Of course there is plenty sitting in the fridge still. The fridge medicine will also require an insulated carry bag and re-freezable ice packs of which I will take a few spare ones; I have been known to leave them in hotel and cafe freezers when they 'unexpectedly' didn't open on a Sunday morning despite assuring me in a foreign language they would be. And various other reasons. As simple as it seems to buy an ice-pack, when you need them no-one has them or knows what you are talking about!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Last weekend of riding

Riding around NW Tasmania, my hood, there are plenty of little hills (100m rises). Very scenic, very nice, little on the cool side perhaps. Plenty of people out and about enjoying their sunny weekend, I gladly give them my card and tell them about our quest to conquer Asia for Cystic Fibrosis!

The only reason I stopped at the bowser was not for a quick battery recharge, it was more to admire the beautiful 1989 replica of the 1960s European LeMans edition Ford GT40 (40 inches high at the windshield!)... Obviously out enjoying themselves too! Very special vehicle, drawing more eyes than my Zoco Electric Bike. I was surprised to see the GT40 overtaking me (I thought I'd be faster...)

So anyways, going through my mind the things I cannot forget to take next saturday like plastic ties, sunscreen, the rechargeable batteries,... I know I'l forget a bunch of crucial items. The question now is which ones will I forget?

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Getting Ready to go!

In 1 week we are making our way to Mile 0 of the Vietnam to Singapore ride! Everyone in the team is doing their bits and getting ready. Eleanor in Brisbane now has the handheld GPS that Andrew in PNG has prepared for us with all the relevant maps and route option, Jim in Canberra is full bottle with panniers and technical bits, Alastair in Perth has a comfy saddle organised (after testing 4) and has been cycling lots. Marc in Canberra is training hard as he is riding a regular bicycle, Cindy has just booked ticket, and is fiddling with her off-shore fly in/out job schedule...

Derico cycles has checked over my bike and fitted a mirror for me, Vistaprint is still delivering more and more Cystic Fibrosis and ride propaganda to us all, destined for distribution in Asia. I have made contact with Sreymom who is a very helpful lady in Cambodia who is offering to help us (thanks to Lousie Ellings who has helped Srimom with other business in return for providing help to us!). Dutch relatives are busy putting the feelers out for a little welcome committee in Singapore... It is all coming together slowly, and we are all counting down!

Watch this space!
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hash House Harriers Support

That is right, the non-profit Hash House Harriers of Devonport are in support of me going! They donated $100 to see me go! My Hash name is GoneAgain, I have no iea why...

At last monday's run we all had a drink of Jan's Natural Herbal Liqueur, one of the ride sponsors, to toast the expedition! I'll be back!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Drysdale Fundraiser

Well folks, we had the last of the two fundraisers today at the Drysdale teaching restaurant. The student staff and apprentice cooks did a wonderful job, and we had ample raffles to keep us occupied. The Zoco Electric Bike took Centre stage again and the Dutch Jans Friendship Liqueur was tasted, raffled and auctioned!
For the statistician: The average person paid  $34 entry, $5 in the raffles, $3 in the auction, and the average person went home with $40 worth of donated merchandise value, which did not include the prime silent auction item donated by Foundry Productions (Brisbane). Not bad!
Total fundraiser results for both fundraisers:
  • CF Merchandise $25
  • CF Tasmania $863
  • The Team  $950 
Friendly Drysdale staff/students!

And for those whose curiosity was tickled by the best silent auction item, which is soon destined for The Sugar Cafe in Williams Street:
The printed work – Colour Wheels, represents the spoke patterns of 3 distinct bicycle wheel designs. While from a distance, the image appears almost chaotic and explosive, a closer inspection reveals the complex layering of texture, colour and line, formed from the perfect and mathematically engineered matrixes of the spokes. The use of colour is similar to an artist's colour wheel, showing all colours at once, blending together to create new tints. The playfulness of these elements combines to capture the energy and dynamics of a bicycle wheel in motion—the result of a rider's effort and endurance. 

The work—lovingly designed by Foundry Productions (Brisbane)—has been printed on acid free archival paper for long life, and set beautifully in a Bamboo, 'Country Road' frame.
Thanking everybody in the community for supporting Coughing for Cystic Fibrosis!
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vietnam to Singapore in 5 stages

For those interested, here is the Vietnam to Singapore bicycle ride for Cystic Fibrosis in more details.

First HANOI to HOI AN. This is 780kms with no serious mountains. Close to Hanoi we traverse Bach Ma National Park which has a few hundred meters elevation where we intend to cross.

Then we continue from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City. This is 1000kms along Highway 1 with a handful of small ranges of 200m or so. If we took a more direct route we would save 200 kilometers but hit some serious Highlands with few towns and few power points!

Find more Bike Ride in Há»™I An, Viet Nam
The next stage to the beautiful and world heritage listed Angkor Wat in Cambodia should be relatively flat and 500kms. En route we should see the war tunnels here where the Vietkong fought the Americans. We lose our support vehicle on the border and need to improvise to get our gear across the border and into a Cambodian vehicle...

Again it should be flat to cycle 400kms to Bangkok. Whether we go into the city or not we will decide when we get closer. When I say flat I mean no major hills, but on a bicycle every day has is ups and downs!

Find more Bike Ride in Siem Reap, Cambodia
The next leg is the longest. We will enter Malaysia and travel through reasonably unsafe territory at times. We will take local travel advisories serious and avoid trouble spots.

Find more Bike Ride in Bangkok, Thailand
The final leg!! The 500kms to Singapore should fly by! Here we should have some extra team members to cheer us on and help us ride.

Find more Bike Ride in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phew, this is going to be hard work!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

CF Clinic

Last week I visited the Tasmanian Adult CF Clinic in Hobart (300kms away) for a final health check. Low and behold, feeling super fit, my lung function is waaaaayyyy down. Lowest in years! In fact the last time I was that low was in 2007 when I was preparing to cycle Paris to Istanbul!

The team concluded that I need to adhere better to my prescribed medicine, and stop taking the glutathione which I was adding to my saline nebs in preparation for the Vietnam to Singapore ride on my Electric Bicycle. The problem with Pulmozyme, one of the inhaled medicine people with CF use, is that it requires refrigeration. I foresee dificulties with that and found that Glutathione may not replace it, but at least be a good addition to my regime. But since taking it for a month or so my lung function has plumeted to 38% of predicted.

So I stopped inhaling Glutathione and am taking a different antibiotic. Keep fingers crossed. We scheduled another appointment before I go to make sure I haven't dropped any more.

Very odd to be told my lung function is down so much, as I feel really well! Generally when I feel sick I cant walk up stairs and cough with any exertion. Right now I am able to casually walk up 6 flights of stairs up the Argyle Street carpark, run (and kind of keep up!) with the Hash House Harriers, and I ran my usual 5km block in Turners Beach in a relaxed 45 minutes (I often take an hour for that). The clinic is checking their equipment too.
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Friday, August 3, 2012

VPS providing Support

Vinacrete Pumping System Company (VPS) has pledged to provide a support vehicle for Vietnam!

VPS is the firstcompany to design and manufacture concrete pumps for concretespraying in Vietnam.

VPS is a subsidary of the Australian Jacon Group, a well-known Australian construction company specializing in design, manufacture andsupply of concrete pumps, scales and transport equipment.

The previous adventure!

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