Australian epic
April / May 2000
Written by Andy Dickson (editor)

Fed up with the transport system in the UK film-makers Kevin Doye and Lowanna King decided to ride Australia and see the state of play in other countries on the way. Bike2oz is their story.

They were planning to leave on January 26, Australia Day, but after two years of planning things weren't going at all well for Lowanna King and Kevin Doye and their impending cycle to Australia. "Australia Day was only a media plug" says 25-year old Lowanna "and after such a long time when things didn't come together in time we thought 'why rush?', and put it back a week".

The trip is going to take 18 months but it's no ordinary, once in a lifetime, globe-trotting trek across Europe and Asia. Lowanna is a film-maker with strong ecological leanings. One day, three years ago, whilst editing a film about global warming she hatched the plan to travel back to her native Sydney. "I learned that aviation is the worst polluter so I started to think about how else I could get home ­ that was a bit greener".

Lowanna met Kevin in the Glastonbury Festival film tent. He was showing a film he'd made of various road-protests in the UK that he'd been involved with (a path he'd taken after watching the destruction of Twyford Down near Winchester and not far from where he lived). She asked him if he'd like to come on a bike ride with her, quite a long one, and gradually they hatched a plan to make the trip via major cities chronicling the state of respective transport systems as they went.

The CTC has been helpful to the intrepid duo providing names and addresses of people across the globe so they have a solid cycling contact that they can hook up with when they hit town. They've also taken advice from professor John Whitlegg professor of environmental studies at Liverpool John Moores University about hotspots where the effects of unregulated transport and pollution are major issues; London and Calcutta are on the itinerary.

Putting the trip pretty much in a nutshell 31-year old Kevin says "the trip offers an amazing opportunity to experience first hand the lives of people ­ and cycle campaigners ­ in other countries. It is the poorest countries that get hit twice; they contribute least to global pollution but they are most likely to suffer its ill-effects as they don't have enough money to defend themselves. We want to discover what they want for the future ­ and highlight how the bicycle fits into that equation".

Although regular commuters the two are not experienced cycle tourists. Which perhaps is just as well; hardcore, lightweight travellers would probably baulk at the extra gear they have to carry in order to record their progress. This includes both a stills and video cameras plus film for both, laptop computer and custom made solar panels. As Lowanna says "we don't want to be leaving a trail of batteries across the world".

When they finally finish their epic, estimated to be July 2001 they will write a book of their experiences and edit the hours of footage into a film for television.

CT&C will, technology permitting, be carrying reports and pictures from Lowanna and Kevin as they go. By the time you read this the should have done Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. We wish them luck.