Archive | August, 2010

My charity and new fundraising page

24 Aug

G’day folks,

I have been busy of late setting up my fundraising page for my expedition charity. Click here and check it. And of course donate some money, I guarantee it will make you sleep better if you donate, probably even make you look more beautiful and you will have firm, toned abdominals in just 2 weeks! Guaranteed!

All donations go directly to my expedition charity, Bicycles for Humanity and not to my African beer drinking fund. Although if you want to donate to my Africa beer drinking fund I can send you my account details – ummm cycling long distances and drinking beer I’m not sure if they go together but I suppose I will find out.

I have set myself the goal to raise the $12,000 transportation cost of the sea container. At this point with the grand total of $0 raised that seems a long way away, but I have a plan to get into the schools here in Melbourne, speak at their assemblies and hopefully get the schools to help create some fundraising projects.

If you want to help out, get your workmates to donate or organisation than please contact me. We can even get you hooked up with your own team member fundraising page where all the donations you raise go directly to the final continent expedition’s $12,000 goal.

Below I have copy and pasted in my charity page from under the final continent section of my blog. If I must say so myself it does a great job in showing what both Bicycles for Humanity and the Bicycle Empowerment Network, Namibia (who I will be working with once in Africa) actually do. Plus there are 3 video for you to watch, well worth a gander.

Happy reading and donating, and remember EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS

For my cycling expedition I’m teaming up with the Melbourne chapter of Bicycles for Humanity who work with the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia.

Basically what Bicycles for Humanity does is gets an empty sea container and fills it with disused bikes. These are bikes that people donate for many reasons, mainly because it is a great use for a bike that has been sitting out in the shed collecting dust.

Then the sea container is sent from Melbourne to the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) that has their headquarters in Namibia. Using their local knowledge and infrastructure BEN allocates the container to a local community in need of bicycles to bridge the gap to health care and education facilities.

BEN turns the container into a Bicycle Empowerment Centre (bike workshop). Locals are employed and trained in bicycle mechanics and how to run the bike work shop. Profits from the workshop go to paying the local employees and the ongoing running costs of the workshop. This is what I love about this charity! Bikes are not just given to the locals and then forgotten about. The work shop is set up as an ongoing self sustainable business, by locals for the locals

So who get’s the bikes? Ozzie founder Michael Linke first established BEN Namibia to meet the need of 700 local HIV/AID volunteers who visit people living with HIV/AIDS in their homes, delivering counseling and medical and sanitary supplies. Most of these volunteers walked long distances, so Michael’s original idea was to help them get bikes. Nowadays BEN also supplies bikes to other community members to help make health and educational facilities more accessible. Check out the news clip below for a better idea.

So how did I end up hooking up with bicycles for humanities? It all started with one of my blog reader’s Kate who I volunteered with at the Orphanage in Mexico back in 2007. She knew I was going to Africa to volunteer and had seen bicycles for humanity on TV and had thought of me as they had a chapter in Melbourne. I then met up with Matt the founder of the Melbourne chapter for coffee and planted the seed of my expedition with him. He loved it and was keen to team up. So keep watching this space and we will see what kind of tree this seed grows.

Below is a video featuring Matt at the 2009 Melbourne bicycle drop

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What is an expedition?

12 Aug

What does the word expedition mean?

An excursion, journey, or voyage made for some specific purpose, as of war or exploration.

When I consider the feats of expeditions like Ed Stafford pictured below who has just completed 859 days walking the length of the Amazon River or Rob Thomson with his world record for longest unassisted skateboard journey, I wonder if I’m allowed to use the word. It feels like I’m comparing walking to the local pub in Melbourne winter to a South Pole expedition.

BUT, the one thing that I think is very important for mine and for that matter any expedition is that I do it for me, for the reasons I want to do it. People say to me “Hap, you should cycle the whole of Africa from top to bottom”, I’m like “why don’t you cycle the length of Africa?” And there are plenty of people that have done it and I’m following plenty of people on twitter that are in the middle of doing it.

My specific purpose for my expedition is that it is human powered so that I off set working on that floating monstrosity of over consumption (the cruise ship) to complete my Antarctica continent with Africa where everything will be human powered.

The other purpose to my expedition is to work, so that I complete my goal of living and working on every continent of the world before 30.

I also want to use Africa as a way of giving back to the world. Since 2003 as I have been working the world I have worked the odd job for oil and mining companies which can be perceived as taking away from the earth. I have also been the recipient of people’s generosity and have at times relied on people’s generosity. Africa gives me the opportunity to give back, to volunteer and raise money for my charity and to make a small difference.

So that’s that folks, a human powered working expedition through Southern Africa.

WOW a blog post without reference to faecal matter or STI’s, is maturity clutching at my ankles as the big 3 0 nears!

Best wishes from Rob Thomson (long distance skateboard world record holder)

3 Aug

This blog post is rather special for me as it includes the best wishes from one of my expedition inspirations, Rob Thomson. Rob achieved something pretty darn amazing and even got recognition for it in the Guiness Book of Records – A 12,000km unassisted skateboard journey, Wow!

It was back in 2008 while reading Rob’s deep, intellectual and philosophical blog posts where my desire to do a human powered expedition began. It is now in 2010 that a very humbled Hap shares with you Rob’s best wishes for my final continent expedition

Hap has proven himself a man of great determination and grit with his above-all-odds success so far in his unique working-on-all-continents-before-30 dream. And once again Hap has dreamed himself a worthy dream – cycling Africa. This is a dream that will bring great joy, fun, and enriching experiences. It is, however, also a dream that will cost him. It will cost him time. It will cost him physical pain. Mental agony. A determined mind. Most of all it will, more than any experience thus far, cost him his innocence and ignorance. The latter two costs are, in my view, the hardest but most rewarding things to pay when pursuing a dream such as Hap has conjured up. Any extended human powered journey in environments different to one’s own comfortable cultural and environmental bubble will leave a person changed. It will leave a person aware, enlightened perhaps, to the issues and challenges of our wide world. And with that awareness comes responsibility. A responsibility that I am thrilled to see Hap already embracing through his collaboration with Bicycles for Humanity and BEN Namibia. Therefore I wish him all the best for his journey. Hap’s dream is a reality. May it change many, and be the inspiration needed for many more to embrace their own worthy dreams.

ABOUT ROB (taken from my expedition inspirations page)

Rob Thomson was an ex-office worker who set out in July 2006 on a 12,000km journey on a recumbent bicycle (the ones that look like an armchair on wheels) from Japan to Switzerland. He endured -23 degrees Celsius daytime temperatures, cycled over 4,600m high passes, and put up with some of the most frustrating bureaucracies perhaps in the whole world.


Then his challenge changed and on the 25th of June 2007, almost a year since he set out from Japan on his recumbent bicycle, he sent his bicycle home and started out again on a long board skateboard. Little did he know that he was going to skate into the Guinness Book of Records. He skated solo and unassisted across Europe, North America, and China. On the 28th of September 2008 he finally arrived in Shanghai after skating just over 12,000km (7,500 miles). The previous world record for long distance skateboarding was 5,800km.


I was put onto Rob’s blog by his brother and my friend Tofa who was one of my 9 flat mates (at times 14) in our 3 bedroom house in Banff, Canada. Then 2 years later in 2008 when I was working as an exploration field assistant in the Australian outback Tofa put me onto Rob’s blog. I then followed the end of Rob’s trip as he skated his way into the Guinness book of records.


Whilst reading Rob’s blog posts I began to feel the desire that I had always had, a desire to do something more challenging, cycle, skate, kayak, something. I wanted to have an adventure, a real adventure, not just backpacking. I will always remember Rob’s words about travelling by bicycle, “it will change the way you see the world”.

If you would like to read about my other expedition inspiration, polar explorer Robert Swan, please click here