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For Inspiration

Waking up this morning to read my email I found that Dave had sent me links to an obituary for a cyclist named Ian Hibbell. Curious I read the articles to learn who this man was and I think you should too. Here are a couple of exerts from the articles and links to them.

Mr Hibell rarely kept to the beaten track, managing to cross mangrove swamps, mountain ranges and even the Sahara desert on two wheels. He was shot at by bandits, had his tent eaten by tropical ants, was sniffed by a lion and chased by elephants.

He was also welcomed by a Dayak headman in Borneo and African chiefs in the days before every jungle trail had been trodden by backpackers and gap-year students. He estimated that he had used more than 800 cycle repair kits after covering at least 6,000 miles a year for 40 years, the distance from Earth to the Moon.

Bikes rarely let him down. Escaping once from spear-throwing Turkana in northern Kenya, he felt the chain come off, but managed to coast downhill to safety. He crossed China from north to south—in 2006, at 72—with just three brake-block changes, one jammed rear-brake cable and a change of tape on the handlebars. In his book, “Into the Remote Places” (1984), he described his bike as a companion, a crutch and a friend. Setting off in the morning light with “the quiet hum of the wheels, the creak of strap against load, the clink of something in the pannier”, was “delicious”. And more than that. Mr Hibell was a short, sinewy man, not particularly swift on his feet. But on a good smooth downhill run, the wind in his face, the landscape pelting past, he felt “oneness with everything”, like “a god almost”.

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