TO begin this post, I want to briefly introduce myself. My name is Jennifer, I’m 27 years old and originally from Dundas, Ontario, Canada. I came to Australia, like most young people, on a 1 year Working Holiday Visa. Four years later with Permanent Residency, I am still here. Three of my Australian years have been spent in Central Australia in Alice Springs. The population of Alice Springs is roughly 25,000, similar to my hometown of Dundas. To give you some bearings, Dundas is roughly 1 hour from both Toronto and Niagara Falls. It isn’t very often that I meet people in Alice Springs who are from the Greater Toronto Area, except for today during a mountain bike tour…
Alicia and Alex walked into our shop doors early in the morning, ready for their first ever “Ride the Outback” MTB experience. Alicia, a journalist for The UK Sunday Times, has been travelling around Australia for 3 weeks discovering what this big, beautiful country has to offer. As part of her exploring she was eager to experience the picturesque Outback by bike.
Once hearing Alicia’s accent in the shop I asked, “Are you American? Or Canadian?” (This is how I know I’ve been in Australia too long, I can no longer decipher between the two accents!)
She replied, “Canadian”, to which I said, “me too!”
Then of course she asked, “where?”
“Near Toronto”, I replied.
And this is normally where conversations end between Canadians overseas, however, Alicia once again asked, “Where? Where near Toronto?”
“Dundas” I said slowly with shifty eyes.
Turns out, Alicia’s home town is only 30 minutes away from mine. And there we were, meeting in the Central Australian Outback about to ride mountain bikes together! It’s a small world, indeed.
Neither Alicia or Alex had experienced the desert heat of Central Australia or had mountain biked terrain as strong-featured as our tracks. It’s fair to say they were novice riders (though Alex had much experience with road cycling). Considering this, and the polar opposite climate the two had recently travelled from, they both did remarkably well! It was also wonderful to see how encouraging the two were towards each other, providing positivity and humour along the way.
We cycled a total of 12 kilometres (thank you, Strava) and spotted heaps of wallabies and kangaroos. Once we started to feel the suns heat, we headed to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station for cold drinks, iced coffees and Anzac biscuits (which are nearly impossible to come by in the UK apparently!)
We rode back to Outback Cycling on a dirt path known as “ilentye” with the dry Todd River to our right and ranges to our left. We winded through ghost gum trees and all the galah’s that inhabited them, which is why this track is called “ilentye”. The Arrerninte name “ilentye” translates to galah in English.
Alicia and Alex were very pleased with the tour and all the iconic scenery along the way.
As for me, guiding friendly and engaging people, eager to see the outback on 2 wheels is what made my day!
Until next time, Alicia and Alex!