Aug 1, 2012

In The Wheel Tracks of An Everyday Hero

by Sharon Archer

We’re on the road at the moment... so before I go any further, it’s time for a picture of the stunning scenery we’re being treated to...

Spectacular Porcupine Gorge, QLD, Australia
Anyway, anyway... one of the highlights of our trip is the amazing people we’ve met along the way.  All ages, walks of life,  so many varied and wonderful stories to tell!

This is about one of these people.  Igor Bilek.  We met Igor in Outback Queensland at the Julia Creek park when we stopped for lunch. He’s taken a year off to explore Australia... by bicycle!

We got talking about his unusual bicycle and his adventures, places he’s stopped and work that he’s found at those places.  The distances he’s travelled are huge!  No support vehicle so he needs to carry everything he needs – tent, sleeping bag, food, water, clothes.  He said the solitude on the road, just him and the bike, is like a meditation.
All set up for the night!

He’d been on the road for a few months when he decided he could use his trip to fundraise for a charity.  And the one he chose is perfect for the mode of transport he’s using – Bikes for Humanity.

It’s a terrific organisation, volunteers and groups collect unwanted bicycles and refurbish them for distribution in countries where a bicycle can be a life-changing asset. Recycling with a difference!

The bicycles are affordable and maintainable with basic tools and parts. They provide transport, greater carrying capacity and business opportunities.

As a writer of medical romance stories, I was particularly excited to see that one of the groups to benefit were healthcare workers.

Having a bicycle to do their rounds means these caring people can carry more supplies, see the people who need them more often and for a longer visit!  At a pinch they can transport a patient to a doctor or clinic by carrying them on the handle bars or carrier rack.  As I was browsing through the different websites, I even saw a bicycle ambulance where a trailer was used to transport the patient.

So would you be tempted to tackle a trip like Igor’s?   Have you been on a long bicycle trip?  Actually, I suppose the very first question should be – do you like bike riding!

PS you can read more about Igor and his adventure on his blog .


  1. I'm practically falling to the floor after 20 minutes of my stationary bike!
    Wow. Don't people like Igor just leave you incredibly impressed - making a difference and truly enjoying and exploring life along the way.
    Sounds like you're having a brilliant time, Sharon!

  2. LOL, Robyn. I'm the same! Bike riding really makes my knees into jelly! But I guess if we'd covered the miles that Igor has, our legs would surely get used to it!

    His bike is one of those ones where your legs are out in front and it has a much more comfortable seat than a normal bike, much better for touring apparently.

    We are having a brilliant time and feeling very lucky to be able to take a trip like this. Starting to count down for the journey home now though - after the conference! See you there!

  3. Sharon, what a fascinating post. Igor sounds terrifically appealing just because of what he's doing and of course, that lovely smile. How terrific of you to share, not just where you've been, but one of the interesting people you've met on the way. I'd never heard of the Bikes for Humanity charity until I read this. What an excellent idea. And - possibly an excellent idea for a future medical story, Sharon...? Yes, that was a hint.

    Hm, I've never been one for long bike rides and it's been ages since I've been on one. I think the longest ride for me was from Luxor in middle Egypt, across the Nile by ferry and up to the Valley of the Kings and back after more sightseeing on the West side of the river. Not an organised outing - we just hired some rather ramshackle bikes and set off. I was still recovering from illness and I remember being surprised that it's actually uphill to the Valley of the Kings though it's a gentle slope. After the river flats it was a surprise.

  4. Wow, Sharon, isn't he impressive? Thanks for sharing his story with us. I'm breaking out in hives at the idea of bicycling around Australia! Eeeek!

  5. Sharon, Igor certainly has the kind of smile that could induce a woman to cycle around Australia. ;-)

    Sounds as if your wonderful travels are providing you with loads of inspiration!

  6. Sharon, I would love to do a road trip like that. Before I got cancer I was training for a four day ride from the Sounds down to Christchurch and that seemed like a huge adventure. What this guy is doing is amazing.

  7. Hello all,

    Your comments put a smile on my face...yes, I could not agree more, my older brother Igor is an inspiration to me and certainly has not only a charming smile but also a personality to go with it :) All the best to everyone!

    Irena Bilkova

  8. Hi Annie! I do like the way you slipped in that hint! And yes, I think there's great story potential in Igor's adventures!

    Hasn't he picked a terrific charity - I love the practicality of it!

    I feel for you trying to ride when you're not 100%! And I chuckled at the slope of the Valley of the Kings - there's nothing quite like being on a bike to give you a very fine appreciation of the flatness or otherwise of a road!

  9. LOL at your hives, Anna! It's an amazing thing to contemplate, isn't it - having to carrying everything you'd need has me boggled. We went on the Great New Zealand bike ride (many years ago!) and all we had to carry was what we needed for the day. The organisers fed us and had water stops for us to top up our water bottles and transported our tents and luggage.

  10. This trip has given me loads of inspiration, Michelle!

    Igor has a lovely smile, doesn't he? He's a thoroughly charming young man - definitely hero material.

  11. (((hugs, Sue))) - cancer is no respecter of plans, is it!

    Perhaps the bike trip is something you might be able to tackle in the future? It sounds like it would have been a gorgeous trip - very picturesque. Was the plan to go through the "centre" or down the coast?

  12. Hey, Irena! How delightful so see you here! Igor sounds like a fantastic older brother! We thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and hearing about his journey and his plans.

    Thank you so much for popping in to comment!

  13. Down the East Coast, Sharon, through Kaikoura and past all those awesome seals. When I cancelled it my family and friends breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently they were concerned about all the trucks on that road, but hey, you've got do these things. So I will do it and tell no one until I arrive on my girlfriend's door step.

  14. That does sound fantastic, Sue! I remember the seals in Goose bay particularly well - it was when I discovered I hadn't wound the film on my camera properly. I'd been snapping away while we'd been travelling... and then discovered that the pics to that point didn't exist! I felt like a total "goose"! Yay for digital cameras!