Warmshowers Guest: Nick Kennedy
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As some of you may know, we host touring cyclists from warmshowers. This is a wonderful website where touring cyclists can sign up and find people along there route to stay with. For those of us that are hosts, it allows us to meet new people that almost certainly have the same interests as we do since they are riding bikes and traveling. Sharing touring and travel stories is a wonderful way to get to meet people and it gives us inspiration and ideas on how to prepare for and fund extended traveling.
Touring cyclists stay with us here in Zhuhai for anywhere from 1 night to nearly a week and it is always a pleasure to have them and get to know them. It then gives us a new story to follow as it unfolds for them in the coming weeks and months on the road. We have had many coming and going since we are the only hosts in Zhuhai and it is a very good jumping off point to start touring in Asia. We typically host touring cyclists once every 2 months, but are certainly open to more.
Going forward, we are going to start a series on Crawford Creations of our guests for all to remember them by. Without further ado:
Nick is from Melbourne, Australia, and having recently graduated college with a masters in Geology decided to depart on another bike tour. After undergrad he spent a couple of months touring in India, which he said was quite a nice trip, but for this one, he wanted to explore Asia. He managed to land a job that started one year after graduation, so he had a year on his hands to do whatever he wanted to do. What a sweet setup and great way to get out on the bike for awhile. He worked for 6 months to build up enough funds for his trip and then took off to Japan to start his tour.
You can follow his progress and trip on his website hosted by crazyguyonabike.com. Nick’s website. He has spent 6 weeks riding in Japan, about 1 week in South Korea, and is now headed from Zhuhai south through China to Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia. He wasn’t too interested in exploring China, as he has heard bad things about the roads and people being rude. Some of these are true, but it really shouldn’t be enough to dissuade you from experiencing the diversity that is China. I think we convinced him to ride around Hainan, which we did earlier this year. That weekend tour was beautiful and definitely worth the while if time is not an issue. Nick has until mid-January before he needs to head home to prepare for working life. The only downside to his wonderful plan is that he is touring solo because no one else has the same schedule. This gives hime the freedom to go wherever he wants whenever he wants to, but does make for a slightly lonely trip. Luckily for Nick, he seemed like an outgoing guy that would not have a problem making friends with all the wonderful people you meet while traveling by bike.
I was very interested in his touring setup, as he arrived with only 2 lightly filled Orlieb panniers in the rear and a small handlebar bag. This is way less gear than anybody else has previously brought that stayed with us. Because of his light load he is able to run a nice double crankset (36/52) and a 11-32t cassette. This has given him enough gears to climb 1000+ m mountains with little to no issue including climbing the volcanoes in Japan. After our recent foray of touring in Yunnan and Sichuan, I was jealous of his ability to pare down his gear. He was able to make it happen by not carrying cooking gear or much food at all. He eats out for all meals and carries minimal snack food while riding, instead relying on stops at grocery stores and snack shops for sustenance. He even carried his tent with him in Japan for much of the trip before sending it home, since he didn’t expect to camp in Korea, China, of Southeast Asia. The hotels are just so cheap here and the camping is limited, so its not worth it, to carry the extra weight.
He asked for the best local bike shop, and I pointed him towards my bike room that has all the tools and parts he could possibly need. I was able to hook him up with a new tire, since his rear was worn out and he was also able to do a little tune up on his bike before heading out. He learned of the “great firewall” in China that needlessly blocked his crazyguyonabike blog site and made Strava a bit harder. To keep everyone interested he posts all of his rides to Strava, so you can see the routes. Nick’s Strava page. Hopefully he has figured out the VPN deal for China, but if not he will shortly be on his way to Vietnam and further adventures.
It is always a pleasure to host cyclists like Nick that genuinely love what they are doing. He was a cyclist first and then decided to go on a tour to see the world. Many people go on a tour and then learn what bikes are all about. I have followed the same path as Nick and it was great getting to know him. My only complaint is he left too soon.
To Nick, best wishes on the rest of your travels and continue to enjoy life to the fullest. You are welcome back any time.
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