Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Quike?
A bike has two wheels, a trike has three wheels, a Quike has .....
Why did you spell "step" like "steppe"?
The "steppes" are semi-arid regions, of which there are plenty across Eurasia. These regions get enough rainfall to not be a desert and have a layer of grasses, but not enough rainfall to grow trees.
How long are you going for?
We’re going for a whole year!
Why for so long?
So that we can see all the different seasons, and so that we can get to the places that we want to. We are not just tourists – we want to immerse ourselves in the local cultures so that we can accurately document them. We’ll need to spend time getting to know them, experiencing and participating in their day-to-day lives.
Where will you get food?
Obviously, we can’t carry 12 months’ of food with us from the start. So we will be relying on markets, rural stores, trading with people, and the kindness of strangers.
What will you eat?
We will be indulging in whatever local cuisines we can, to fully immerse ourselves in the lifestyles of the local people. But we understand that our bodies aren’t really used to that, so we’ll also carry some nutrient supplements. One of the challenges we will face will be eating some of the local delicacies, from insects and bugs, to animal hooves and offal, to all different kinds of body parts and plants imaginable!
How will you cook?
We will take our own stoves that can run on just about any fuel. But when out camping in the forest, we’ll probably just make campfires. We hope the locals will help us out with cooking, too.
How will you wash?
In some regions, we’ll be able to just get water from a nearby river or lake, in wintertime we will have to scrub with snow (its amazing how well you can wash with it!). But in other areas, we’ll just have to scrub without much water, and just make sure we use anti-bacterial handwash (like in the hospitals) that doesn’t need water. And othertimes....well we just wont be able to wash :)
What animals will you see?
We expect to see both domesticated and wild animals. Across Central Asia and Mongolia, people keep sheep, camels, cattle, yak, goats, dogs, and horses. In the wild, we may encounter deer, wild pigs, squirrels, sables, ermine (weasel), marmot, gazelles, wild camels, gophers, hares, hedgehogs and jerboas, and we’ll be keeping a look out for wolves and bears. If we’re lucky, we might see lynx, snow leopards, wolverines, and the unique Baikal seals (nerpas). The birds we might encounter include pheasants, falcons, owls, eagles and condor, and many more. Some of the animals (bears, wolf packs) can be dangerous, so we will have plans and equipment in place to protect ourselves.
What will the weather be like?
Since we’re going for 12 months, we’ll probably encounter all types of weather imaginable! We’ll always be in temperate regions, not tropical, and in the Northern hemisphere, so summer will be from June to August. But because we’ll be going from plains to steppes to semi-arid to desert to mountains to valleys and river and lakes, we expect to encounter temperatures from about -50 degrees C to +50 degrees C, with wind, rain, snow, heat – the whole lot!
How will you navigate?
We will have GPS, plus digital maps and mapping software in our laptop. And as a backup, some printed maps and a good old compass.
Is it dangerous?
There are a few different potentially dangerous situations that could arise, but we are preparing now so that we can handle any situation. Also, on the trip we’ll be carrying EPIRBs, satellite phones and flares in case of emergency. The four main things that we’re preparing for currently are:
- Medical health, nutrition and water, and injury avoidance – for this we will be bringing along nutritional supplements and carrying spare food and water (we have max. 140 L water capacity). Over the next year before we leave we'll be getting innoculations against diseases endemic to the region. Monash Sport are currently advising us on physiology and physical preparation for the trip.
- Bike mechanical failure – we’ll carry tools to fix any imaginable problem with the Quike so that we can just keep it rolling at least!
- Political stability and personal security – we’ll keep a close eye on the political climate in the region, and we’ll avoid major towns where possible. We are currently arranging some local university personnel to escort us across borders and to advise us which areas and towns are best avoided.
- Safety from the elements and from the wildlife – this is a matter of having the right gear for the conditions, including a good tent and repair kit. We’re yet to decide how best to ward off hungry bears, but are considering bear spray and/or flare guns.
How much will your Quike weigh?
Including our own weight and its own weight, the maximum this beast will be towing is 350 kg.
If one person pedals faster than the other, won't you just go around in circles?
We get asked this one a lot!! And the easiest way to explain is to have a ride of it yourself. To put it simply, the slight shift that the steerer sometimes feels when there's an imbalance in acceleration doesn't take much effort to overcome. And neither of us can accelerate with enough force for it to be a problem.
What will you wear?
We'll just wear whatever comfy clothes best suits the weather and riding conditions. The other layers we wear will be dictated by the weather conditions, as dressing for -50 deg C is very different from dressing for +50 deg C, and could range from head-to-toe goosedown to very lightweight UV protective clothing.
How will you cope with the different languages?
We are learning Russian and Mandarin before we go, but for the individual dialects we’ll be encountering we will require either really good makeshift sign language, or an interpreter.
How will you sleep?
We will be bringing a tent to sleep in, but hopefully will get to experience a lot of local accommodation. In an emergency we will also be able to sleep on our Quike.
What happens when it’s cold and rainy, will you still ride then?
The fairing we are building will allow us to keep on riding no matter the conditions (even at just 5 km per day), as we will be fully protected from the elements.
What if the bike breaks?
We will be carrying lots of spare parts for the Quike as well as lots of tools. And lots of cable ties, hose clamps, and gaffer tape for those makeshift repairs…