Rian Cope is the kind of guy we really admire at Port Lore. He hasn’t been splashed all over the news and Internet as a modern day explorer, but nevertheless spent the last 5 years chasing adventure all over the world.
Creator of The Riders Tale www.theriderstale.com, Rian found his passion cycle touring in both developed and very undeveloped areas (aka the desert). He got his first taste in 2009, cycling 3000km through Indonesia and filming his DVD series ‘EatSleepSurf’ which was picked up by the Nautical Channel. Port Lore had a chance to speak with the Port Douglas resident about his past adventures and future plans:
What attracted you to cycle touring in the beginning?
I had just left university and wanted to get out of Australia and go on a wicked adventure. I was a mad surfer at the time, so my best mate & I decided on Indonesia. It was the cheapest place to go, and had the advantage of still being removed enough from Western society, predominately Islamic, and considered third world – All serious ingredients for an adventure. As we started planning in the year preceding our departure, the journey grew larger, sponsors jumped on board and somehow bicycles became the main mode of transport. Before we knew it we were cycling across Indonesia through the jungles of Sumatra, camping on the beach and looking for waves. Following my return home after 4 months away, I was hooked. Now I spend my free time cycling to the most outrageous places I can think of.
How much preparation went into your trip to Indonesia? What was the biggest lesson you learnt in regards to preparing for a trip?
I spent about 18 months planning for the Indonesian trip. Cycle touring was new to me, and definitely couldn’t be considered something I was familiar with. I spent a lot of time scouring online forums trying to get information on bikes, equipment, boards, tents, clothing etc. I also wanted to understand as much as possible about what I was in for. Over the years, you collect equipment and learn from your mistakes, and as a result preparation for an adventure won’t take us much time. My preparation nowadays is more related to the route and logistics – what I can film or photograph. The biggest lesson I have learnt over the years in terms of preparation is you can’t prepare for every moment. Something is always bound to pop up and make you think on your feet. That’s what adventure is, dealing with the unexpected and then reflecting on how you dealt with a situation you would never like to have put yourself through. It was never planned, it just happened, and you got yourself through it. It’s pretty rewarding and the reason I keep going back for more.
What has been your favourite adventure so far?
My favourite adventure so far would have to be my most recent ride, across the Outback of Australia in April. I was emailed by two strangers and asked to cycle with them across the Gibson and Great Sandy Desert on a Fat Bike, which is the kind of invitation you don’t say no to. Google Fat Bike and you’ll see why I loved it! 3 weeks on dirt roads, crossing sand dunes and all self-supported. We got ourselves into some really dangerous situations but managed to get through them with all the right contingency plans in place. We were prepared for these situations as this was a really extreme and unique adventure. Despite having cycled so much, I still got a buzz from finishing the trip and accomplishing so much, and still feel as though I’m learning something new about myself and what I can push myself through, both mentally and physically. It’s that feeling of constantly being outside your comfort zone -I love it!
Have you had any embarrassing moments during your adventures?
I was in Spain late last year passing through the town of Pamplona by myself and hadn’t showered for about a week. I came across a small stream and decided it was high time for a wash. I dropped the bike and stripped down to my birthday suit. There was nothing more liberating or fun. There were more than a few wondering eyes from the passing traffic, but fortunately they obviously didn’t consider me a ‘traffic stopper’.
What have you got planned for the future?
I have too many adventures planned for the future! I’m heading off to Taiwan in October to film a pilot TV Show series as a sequel from our Indonesian Adventure. Filming ourselves cycling and surfing across a country seemed to really resonate with our audience. I’m also in talks with some independent filmmakers and a marketing agency to work with a major camera brand for a worldwide advertising campaign. Otherwise, I’m just happy to keep riding my bike where I get to travel around the world and meet fascinating people wherever I go.
What advice do you have for someone who’s always wanted to begin an adventure like yours but is too nervous to take that first step (or pedal)?
People are friendlier than you think. I have been taken into complete stranger’s homes and offered food and a bed whilst on a trip. You’re also more capable than you believe: just when you think you can’t push that final 5 kilometres over a 2500 meter mountain or through the sand, you exceed your expectations and are rewarded with the ultimate sense of accomplishment and achievement. Just get out there and ride, start small by going overnight with your tent somewhere new, talk to strangers, cook your dinner over the fire, get caught in the rain and come home to share it with your mates. Then let me know how you went, maybe we can go for a ride somewhere adventurous where they don’t speak your language.
Check out Rian’s website www.theriderstale.com for more information on his past and future trips, or read some of his posts on Port Lore. He’ll soon be releasing a story about his latest trip through the outback (which very nearly ended in disaster) so make sure you check that out too.
Have you been on a cycling adventure? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and share it with us.
Inspired by Rian’s story? Get yourself a bike and get pedaling!