About

Moi

Moi. On the way from Holland to the North Cape. Summer 2013.

Hi there.  I am Matthew – an Australian, German, Dutch, European, don’t know what anymore. After being born and raised in Australia, I left the nest when I was 22, and came to live in Europe. Twenty-one years later I decided it was time to return home, and what better way to do it than by bike. In 2014 I left my job, got rid of most of my worldly possessions, and on 13 September 2014, I started on a 2 year bike trip from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to Adelaide, Australia, where I was born.

On 27 September 2016 I arrived in Adelaide, completing a 2 year and 41483km journey across the planet. It was an absolutely amazing and life-changing trip, experiencing the world up close – a unique experience that bicycle touring offers.

41483km

41483km

I am now (November 2016) based in Adelaide and Sydney, putting together a new life in Australia. Ask me in a few months where I am and what I am doing.

On 30 November 2016 I left Adelaide for a short cycle trip to Sydney – possibly my new home. A welcome return to the wheels. 🙂

 

 

As arctic-cycler, I have enjoyed exploring the Scandinavian arctic.

In the summer of 2012 I went on my first long cycling trip for 9 years, cycling from Bodø to the North Cape in Norway.

In the summer of 2013, I trumped that, by cycling from Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, to the North Cape in Norway, and then explored the far northern fjords.

I have gone on many more cycling trips through Europe.

 

Comments
  1. Dina says:

    And – did it work out as you expected it too?

    Greetings
    Dina

    • Hey Dina. Thanks for the messages. It has been a wonderful trip. These trips never go exactly as planned, and that is part of their appeal. But once you make it, the adventure makes it all the more worthwhile!!

      All the best from Honningsvåg.

      Matthew

  2. Dina says:

    Dear Matthew,

    I have just admired your beautiful impressions of Vlieland, that’s my favourite place in Holland as well, I stayes there for a week many years ago. You have captured the magnificent solitude that I know from the coast of North Norfolk, UK.

    I’d like to invite you to present yourself and your trip to the far North in English on my nordic blog, would you be interested? If yes, please get in touch and we can discuss the details. You’ll find my email on “about”.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Greetings from the Rhine Valley
    Dina

    • Grüß dich!
      Du hast sehr schöne Bilder und Geschichten auf deinem Blog. Ich gucke es mir gerne immer wieder an.. Ich würde mich super freuen wenn du meinen Blog an deinem Blog setzen willst. Eine Ehre! 🙂

      Genau so wie du, liebe ich den Arctic. Das Licht, die Landschaft und das alleine sein mit Natur. Ich plane gerade mein nächstes Fahrradtour. Dieses Mal möchte ich von zu Hause aus bis zum Nordkapp mit dem Fahrrad fahren, vielleicht über teilen von Schweden, eventuell über die Balticländer. Erst muss ich schauen ob ich ausreichend Urlaub am Stuck nehmen kann.. Work in progress.. 🙂

      Norwegen ist schön im Winter als auch im Sommer. Dezember letztes Jahres bin ich mit meiner Eltern dort gewesen. Tromsø war unglaublich schön. Die 3 Stunden jeden Tag von Dämmerungslicht: tief blauem Himmel, und spitzige schneebedeckten Berge: wünderschön! Ich überlege ob ich auch in April/Mai eine Woche im weiteren Norden was mache: vielleicht in Mehamn oder sogar auf Svalbard. Kiteskiing klinkt super, oder eiscaving unter einem Gletscher auf Svalbard. Zwischendurch muss ich natürlich auch arbeiten.. 🙂

      Ich habe früher in Deutschland gelebt: sogar 3 Jahre in Köln – nicht so weit von wo du wohnst in Bonn.. Ich bin öfters den Rhein entlang gefahren. Auch schön!

      Wie machen wir das mit dem Blogs? Ich bin froh wenn ich einen Link auf deiner Seite bekomme. Ich freue mich auf jeder Besucher.. 🙂

      Viele Grüße aus Eindhoven!!

      Matthew

  3. Dina says:

    Great, hurra, this is the right spirit, ich liiiiebe das, let’s get famous!:-)
    Ich habe dich jetzt verlinkt, unter Dinas friends. Gut so? Alles weitere per Mail, aber erst später, bin gerade in Eile. I’m really looking forward to doing some great things together with you and your blog!
    Liebe Grüße aus Bonn
    Dina
    🙂

  4. Sophie33 says:

    I live in Belgium. Not far away from you!

  5. AndrewGills says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog. It looks like we have similar interests: I also like cycling, hiking and running. Ironically, I am an Australian but was born in Holland. I came to Oz when I was 3yo so I never really lived in Holland but I have visited a few times. I’m from near Tilburg in Brabant. I look forward to reading more about your adventures

    • This is indeed a coincidence. I live in Eindhoven, just down the road from Tilburg. I am now getting excited planning a super long bike trip next summer from Eindhoven to the North Cape via the Baltic countries, Finland and Sweden. I will be writing some blogs on the preparations soon. Share some of my excitement.
      Keep on enjoying life and sport!

      Matthew

  6. Mark Simms says:

    Thanks for liking and following my blog Matthew. Norway is definitely on our bucket list, but I doubt we’ll be cycling their somehow.

  7. itchyfeetme says:

    Hi Matthew, I just couldn’t help but appreciate what u got here. Those photos r just smashing, im blown away a million times. Every single blogger should not miss this wonderful piece of yours. great great stuff!

  8. Hallo Matthew.
    Heute komme ich zu deinen Blog und bin begeistert von deinen Radtouren. Da mein bestes “English” nur die Google-Übersetzung ist, hatte ich ein Problem. Nun lese ich hier du schreibst auch auf “Deutsch”. Ich bin auch begeisteter Radfahrer und mache, seit ich in Pension bin Radtouren mit Zelt. Ich habe 2011 und Juni/Juli 2012 je eine Radtour gemacht. Vielleicht schaust du einmal meinen Blog durch. Du kannst ganz unten nach dem Monat suchen. Beste Grüße nach Holland. Ernestus

    • Hallo Ernestus.
      Danke für deine schöne Wörter. Radfahren ist in der Tat schön. Man erlebt die Natur viel intensiver, sieht viel mehr, und trifft viele interessante Leute.
      Ich bin am Moment unterwegs in Massachusetts ohne Laptop, und kann nicht so viel von deinem Blog erkunden. Deine Schneefotos sehen schön aus. Dein Fahrradtouren schau ich mir später an. Der Frühling kommt bald – und kommt das Fahrrad vom Keller raus.. 🙂

      Viele Grüße,
      Matthew

  9. Simke says:

    Hi Matthew,

    I was just considering myself to make a trip this summer from the Netherlands to Finland (Helsinki to be precise). For me this is my first big cycling trip and I was wondering if you would have some advice for me? What do you use to plan your route, how to get to the nice roads with good asphalt and nice views 🙂 For now I just keep track of your website and updates, very nice to read about it!

    • Hi Simke.
      Cool that you are cycling to Helsinki!

      I cycled in northern Norway last year. The route I followed was pretty much a standard route that was on a Norwegian cycling map.
      It is important to have a route planned out, otherwise it is quite easy to end up on busy, unpleasant roads. This year, my approach was to find cycle routes that people had done online, paste them together, and then post my suggestion on different cycling forums for comment. This way, I have got really great tips, and have updated my planned route.
      If you go to my planned cycling page: https://lambchopeindhoven.wordpress.com/biking-2013/ and then click on the individual countries, you can see how I planned my route through that country.

      Where do you live in the Netherlands? I live in Eindhoven.

      All the best with your planning!

      Matthew

      • Simke says:

        Hi Matthew,

        I read your cycling routes, it looks awesome! My plan is to take a bit different route and go through Sweden. For the planning of the route I was looking for an application or website which gives me the elevation levels of the route as wel, haven’t been successful in finding one yet..
        And how do you do it with luggage and sleeping? are you bringing a tent or staying at hostels/hotels?
        My plan was to carry as few things as possible but I am now looking at what is practical.
        I live in Delft by the way.

    • Hi Simke,
      I am planning my route with EveryTrail. They actually have an elevation tab on the routes – also on the planned routes (i.e. the ones I enter into the system as gpx files that I got from elsewhere). I have not checked how accurate the elevation they give is, though. Check out my profile on EveryTrail (arctic-cycler).
      I am taking a tent, sleeping bag etc as well as some basic cooking equipment. The cooking equipment will be new (I didn’t take it on my trip in Norway last year). It is always useful to have if you are caught in the middle of nowhere..
      Here is a list of what I took last year: https://arctic-cycler.com/2012/05/22/cycle-trip-what-to-take/

      I did sleep in hotels some times. It was good to get some more sleep – especially with good curtains to block out the 24 hour sunlight.. 🙂

      I lived in Delft for 4 years when I did my PhD. Nice plac!

      See ya!

      Matthew

      • simke talsma says:

        Hi Matthew,

        Good luck with your trip! I started mine this week 😀
        The weather has been good so far but the wind is quite strong and from the North..
        By the way I also made my own blow about my trip at simkecycling.wordpress.com
        and I saw that you were using wordpress aswell :p funny coincident.
        anyway let the winds and sun be with us!

      • simketalsma says:

        Hi Matthew,

        Good luck with your trip! I started mine this week 😀
        The weather has been good so far but the wind is quite strong and from the North..
        By the way I also made my own blow about my trip at simkecycling.wordpress.com
        and I saw that you were using wordpress aswell :p funny coincident.
        anyway let the winds and sun be with us!

        By the way, when do you plan to be in Helsinki? maybe we can meet up there if you like.
        Let me know.
        See ya!
        Simke

  10. Hi Simke. Great to hear of your trip. I hope the winds turn and are more favourable for you (and also for me).. 🙂
    I plan to be in Helsinki around the end of June / start of July. Maybe we can meet there, although I think you will be there before me..

    Good luck!

    Matthew

    • simketalsma says:

      HI Matthew,

      Yes I made it to Helsinki now! 🙂 just let me know when you think you will reach Helsinki and if you have time for a coffee somewhere. I’d like to meet up and hear about your trip.

      Cheers and good luck!

      • Cool. Well done. I hope you had a good trip. I am cycling to Kaliningrad today. Will be a week or two before I am in Helsinki. Keep in touch!

  11. Jouke de Haan says:

    Hallo!

    Ik hoop dat alles nog naar wens is? volgens mij ben je nog niet bij de Noordkaap gearriveerd? maar ga je eest Finland in? Ik ben gisteren thuis gearriveerd na mijn terugtocht via de kust van Noorwegen! veel moois gezien!! Lofoten, Senja, prachtige stukken!

    Groeten,
    Jouke de Haan
    ( De motorrijder die je ongeveer 300km voor de kaap ontmoette )

    • Hey Jouke. Leuk om van jou te horen! Ik hoop dat je ook mooi weer hebt gehad. Dan zijn de eilanden echt prachtig.

      Ik ben al naar de Nordkapp geweest (dag 41 van mijn blog). Ik heb 8 weken vrij en dus doe nog een tour rond de kust hier. Zondag vlieg ik naar Nederland terug (uit kirkenes).

      Groetjes uit Bugøynes.

  12. Roberto says:

    Hello Matthew, could I use your picture “rusty tank” as an header-picture of my facebook-account? It would be great! This picture is awesome, I love it! 🙂
    Thank you for a response in advance.

    Kind regards

    Roberto

  13. peter says:

    Hi Matthew,
    think so start in autumn is the wrong time. Most globe riders go in spring. Like me in 2015. Winter in Turkey and Iran is uncomfortable. BTW: Don`t know where I stay in winter. Maybe Egypt.

    • Hi there.
      Indeed, winter in Turkey and Iran is not much fun. I’ll be stopping for 3 months over winter and studying Chinese in Taipei. I wanted the whole summer in the Pamir and then Tibet, and I didn’t want to rush it from Eindhoven.

  14. peter says:

    Hi,
    3 month for learning Chinese? Ambitious. Met guys who`d learned 1 year and the language was just basic. Pronounciation is very important. And it`s varying from part to part of the country. Tibet is as I know closed. Any extention of your visa isn`t possible.

    • No visa extension possible? I hadn’t heard that. I am planning to cycle with a friend in Tibet and pay the exorbitant rate to have a guide follow (as far behind us as possible).

      I thought a 3 month visa was possible with repeated one month extensions. I will have to check this; I guess. Thanks for the tip. 😉

  15. peter says:

    Any extention is just possible OUTSIDE of Tibet. Official just one time. Actual you get just 30 day visa. Hard to get one in Central Asia.

    • Mm. I will research this. I was planning to get one before leaving and extending in Qinghai once I leave Tibet. Good to know and plan in advance. Thanks for the tip!

  16. peter says:

    Qinghai is a sensitive area. Lot of military and PSB. Visa extention should be possible there. Thought you want to go to TAR. Maybe I`m going to Qinghai and TAR from the East with the masses of chinese cyclists. Think at the G 318.

    • I thought the road east from Lhasa via Chamdo was really closed for foreigners – even with a tour guide. I would *really* like to cycle there. It is more beautiful than the road north to Golmud, and much shorter.

    • My route is the southern route from Kashgar, Mt Kailesh through to Lhasa. Then north to Golmud, then east and then south avoiding TAR to Shangri La.

      • peter says:

        Kashgar-Lhasa is hard work and not possible official cause Aksai Chin is military area and about 5000 altimetres. The rest about 4000 – 4500. You can contact Spinn Cafe. Avid cyclists too. http://www.cafespinn.com/en/

      • Nice site. I thought cycling through aksai chin was allowed. I don’t want to have to fly or take another form of transport. I’ll keep my eye on the rules when my trip approaches.

  17. peter says:

    There are 2 options:
    – From Kashgar to Pakistan and India, Mynamar and so on.
    – Taklamakan. You have to decide between northern or southern route. Both are paved. Southern a bit more lonesome.

    If PSB catch you you have to pay a lot of money and you have to go out. Chances are good for. Bike can be confiscated.

    • Mm. I don’t want the bike confiscated. I don’t really want to cycle on the Deccan plains in the summer. I wanted to stay at high altitude where it is cooler. Taklamakan is not at altitude and it will be hot. 😦 I’ll look into it more closely nearer the time.
      Myanmar is still closed (crossing from one side to the other), although the situation is changing there fast. I heard a tourist crossed it in a bus recently. Maybe crossing by bike will be possible soon.

  18. peter says:

    Confiscation is just one alternative what they CAN do. TAR is a risky business.
    Taklamakan isn`t hot when you`re there in the right time. April/May and Sept./Oct. are the best months to go. If you`re late, Taklamakan will be pretty cold.
    A few month ago a friend of mine passed the border of Myanmar from India. http://www.tour-de-friends.de/0c9311f2-81e4-ee55-8d8a-ad7d0bf4cdb5

    • Hey, Peter. I would like to have a chat with you. Do you have Skype or so? Send me a mail at matthew(dot)harris(at)web(dot)de.
      My plan is to start the Pamir Hwy on June 1. If we were to go through Taklamakan, it would be the middle of summer. I have read travel advice that it is extremely hot and dry there (it is a desert after all), and that cycling between the northern and southern Taklamakan roads can even be life threatening for cyclists.. It would be good to chat if you have time and want to. 🙂

  19. peter says:

    No sorry. Just my common phone. Maybe I should change it but Internet access will be limited on the road.

    When you want to see a bit Tibet Qinghai it`s the only alternative. Tibetan culture and no problems. The area of Zoige and Litang are the same. Definetely lot of military but you need no permit.

    Next year in April I`ll start my next trip:
    http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=wbmjpyxfkozstgql Just the first leg. Want to stay another year in Asia and heading to Australia and NZ. And then? No plans anymore, but think at the Americas and Africa.
    Will stay the winter in Egypt or this area. Almost one of the mostbeloved areas of mine.

  20. peter says:

    Wäre mir eigentlich lieber, wenn du mich anrufst. Bin aber nur am Wochenende zu Hause.

    Ja, die Strecke Chengdu – Shangri-La aka Zhongdian kenn ich. Das ist die Gegend um Litang, die ich oben schon mal erwähnt habe. Hart aber schön. Besorg dir gute Karten, gibt mehr Strecken als du glaubst.

    War vor langer Zeit 4 Monate mit einem 30-Tage-Visum in China. Ob es heute noch möglich ist? Schwer zu sagen. Offiziell sicher nicht. Hab auch von Leuten gehört, die zu der damaligen Zeit insgesamt 1 Jahr mit einem 30-Tage-Visum dort waren. DAS ist sicher nicht mehr drin.

    Ich werde versuchen, von Osten nach Tibet (also die G 318) hochzukommen. Ob das machbar ist? Muß da erst mal meine chinesischen Kontakte befragen. Etliche hundert chin. Radfahrer sind da unterwegs. Da fällt ein Ausländer nicht so auf. Natürlich ist ein langfristiges Visum erforderlich.

    • Jetzt bin ich ganz gespannt mit den Visainformationen, und deine Geschichten zu hören.

      Schick mir deine Telefonnummer (mein email ist: matthew(dot)harris(at)web(dot)de), und ich rufe dich an..

  21. mike on bike says:

    I cycled between Holland and Australia a few years ago. You are going to have an AMAZING experience. Best of luck to you, my friend. 🙂

    • Hi Mike. Thanks! I am REALLY looking forward to the trip. Have you got a blog from your trip? Are you in Australia now?

      • mike on bike says:

        Yes, back in Australia for a few months, but only to house sit for friends. I am returning to New Zealand in September so I can earn some money to fund my ride through South America (and eventually back home to Canada). Check out http://mikeonbike.wordpress.com if you’re interested. All the best!

      • Cool! You certainly have seen a lot cycling! Such an amazing way to see the world.

        I will definitely spend more time looking through your adventures!

        Matthew

  22. mylongridehome says:

    Hey Matthew, love what you’re doing, and nice website. I’m currently doing something similar, cycling from Stockholm to Brisbane. Just a couple of questions about your route. It looks like you’re going through Tibet in China. Is this possible, I thought China were very strict with visas for this. And how are you getting from East Timor to Darwin?
    Thanks heaps
    Jonathan

    • Hi Jonathan. Great to hear from you! When are you leaving? What is your route? Have you got a blog?
      There are several big question marks about the route. The biggest one is with China. I am doing the Pamir Highway and China with a friend. We are resigned to having to use a very expensive travel agency in Tibet where they follow you in a car. The route we want to do will cost €14000! We have decided that we both want to cycle in Tibet that much that we will use our savings on that.
      The bigger uncertainty is getting a visa for China for 3 months. This seems quite difficult. I have read several strategies but none are certain. I would rate our chances at 50%.
      Also, getting a visa for long enough in Indonesia will be challenging. Also, as you near Timor, the boats become less frequent. Getting a visa for East Timor from West Timor is also challenging and time consuming. My plan was to fly from East Timor to Darwin. (Boat transport seems impossible.) If I can’t work out the Indonesien visa I will fly to Darwin from Bali.
      Send me an email if you like. My email is matthew (dot) harris (at) web (dot) de.

      • Mike on Bike says:

        Matthew, this information is a few years old, but it worked for me when I cycled through Asia in 2010-11. I applied for a three-month Chinese visa in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It cost 80 USD for same-day service (if I had waited three days it would have cost 40 USD). Once inside China, I found it very easy to extend my visa for a further 30 days. I did it twice – in Leshan and Kunming – and had no trouble at all. Point being, if you can only get a 30-day stamp INTO the country, you should be able to tack on two extra months after you arrive.

        If I remember correctly, most embassies in southeast Asia offered a 30-day visa for Indonesia, but the Singapore office had an option for a two-month stamp. You will need at least that much time as Indonesia is HUGE, especially if you plan on following the islands all the way to Timor. The traffic and air-quality are horrendous wherever you go. Wear a mask and be warned.

        Just as an aside, wild camping was a big no-no in Indonesia according to the locals. I was constantly warned about bandits and thugs and other creatures of the night. I still don’t know if it was true, though I did have one close call. In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk. If you can’t find a cheap guest house, just pull up at a police (or fire) building and ask if you can pitch your tent for the night. Every village has one and I was never refused.

        Hope this helps. All the best.

      • Hey. Thanks for the tips. I understand that it has become more difficult with the Chinese visa in recent years. Also, the visa extension is only possible outside of Tibet. I hear lots of stories. I’ll have too see what the latest information is when I’m there. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
        Singapore is a good tip. I need as long a visa as possible for Indonesia.
        I’m looking forward to the trip. Not long now. 🙂

      • mylongridehome says:

        Thanks for the reply Matthew. I started my trip two months ago, currently in Istanbul. I’m sure you’re aware but do plan a good route into the city. I tired hugging the south coast, staying off the main roads and it was Ok. I would love to travel through Tibet too but I can’t afford the guide. I will most likely be taking the Karakoram highway from Kashgar into Pakistan, which should be pretty good, as long as I get there before it gets real cold! Pity about the lack of boats to Australia. I think I will end of flying from Singapore to Darwin. Hoping to be back in Australia for university in March. My blog is http://www.mylongridehome.com
        Thanks Jonathan

      • Awesome. I’ll definitely be checking out your blog. The Karakoram Highway is also not trivial logistically. A Pakistani visa must be requested in your home country. Also, tourists were taken hostage there moderately recently. A friend is planning to go there now, though. Check out http://www.expeditionwhynot.com/. He’s a great guy. Maybe you could share tips.

  23. peter says:

    That`s right. Visa extention is only possible outside of Tibet. Sometimes it`s even not possible in Xinjiang when there are riots. Heike got a chinese visa in Bishkek for 150 $. But she made a mistake with the kyrgyz registration. When you`re riding Torugart they want for transport crossing the pass about 400 $. There are rumours that at Irkeshtam it will be the same game. CU peter

  24. John Graat says:

    Hello Matthew, what a challenge! I am journalist at the newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad. I would like to write a story about your cycling trip home. Please contact me. I am a follower of you on Twitter, of you follow me we hopefullly can make an appointment. Thans you! John Graat @johngraat

    • Hi John.
      Thanks for your message! I have also been approached by Simon Rood from the ED, and we are meeting up next week. I’m happy with interest from lots of people, so I would also like to talk to you too if you like. Let me know what the best way forward is! 🙂
      My email is matthew (dot) harris (at) web (dot) de

      I have also followed you on twitter.. 🙂

      Matthew

  25. berkeleydb says:

    Hello Matthew, Came across your blog today. Browsed around, & found your story very captivating. I am a cycle (touring) enthusiast myself, so the cycling bit about your return to Australia was obviously interesting, but the bit about you ‘returning home’ after 21yrs was what really struck a note.

    I look forward to reading about your tour, & wish you a great & safe tour. I am based in Bangalore (India). Yet to check your route details, but if/when you are in India or Bangalore, if you need anything, feel free to drop me a note. Maybe I’ll get to meet you too.

    Best wishes, -{db}.

    • Hi DB,
      Thanks for your lovely message. I am really looking forward to my adventure. It is now only 2 weeks until I leave! 🙂
      My current plans don’t see me passing through Bangalore, but, everything is open with this trip. I hope to get to India, although I am looking more at north-east India and Bangladesh.

      All the best!!

      Matthew

  26. Andreas says:

    Hello Matthew, Stefan Stanchly showed this great site to me, because i’m a very enthusiastic mountainbike rider and i know the hardships. Great site, great pictures, keep it going! RIDE ON!!!

  27. VK says:

    Good luck with your trip Matthew and enjoy the ride!

  28. Your blog is an inspiring read Mathew. I am a cyclist from India and we are trying to integrate solar energy with fabric, though we are at the prototype stage. Could we request a brief conversation with you to understand what you carry while touring etc? Just a 30-minute skype conversation would be immensely helpful and we will ship our first product to you as a thanks! How do we get in touch with you for that? – Gandharv

    • Hi Gandharv. Great to hear from you. I am currently in Uzbekistan (my blog is delayed), and the internet in central Asia is seldom good enough for a Skype call (mostly it is non-existent). You can mail me on matthew (dot) harris (at) web (dot) de and we can exchange contact details. I think it might be some time, though, before we can talk. Good luck with your project! It sounds revolutionary!!

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