Archive | December, 2010

The best Christmas present!

24 Dec

Can you imagine being an orphan in remote sub-Saharan Africa and opening a sea container full of 400 bikes? If not then check out the photo below which sums it up. The little fella in the centre at the front was so excited he got his peace sign around the wrong way, PRICELESS!

The last blog post was of us and the Bicycle for Humanity’s (B4H) volunteers packing a sea container full of bikes. In this blog post I want to share with you what the Bicycle Empowerment Network, Namibia (BEN) does with the sea containers when they receive them at the other end in Africa. The photos below are of the B4H Melbourne container that was sent to Zambia at the start of the year. (Thank you to Ylva for sharing her photos with me)

The container has landed!


Preparing the foundation for the concrete pad. Having a concrete surface to repair bikes on as opposed to picking up nuts and bolts out of the red dirt adds real benefit to the Bicycle Empowerment Centre (bike shop).


Everything coming together.


Making the house a home, or should I say making the sea container a Bicycle Empowerment Centre.


BEN, Namibia founder Michael Linke fixing a buckled wheel in the new bike workshop. Michael said this container was one of the best set-up workshops he had been a part of. This was due to the Bicycle for Humanity volunteers that organised $8000 worth of building materials to be placed in the container and them having the time and skills to go to Africa and co-ordinate the construction.


The hard working volunteers that made the trip over and organised all the building materials that enabled the construction of the best implemented sea container bike workshop out of the current 40 workshops that are operating.


Training the locals.  This is what I love about the charity, the bikes aren’t just given to locals and forgotten about, they are trained as bike mechanics and in how to run the bike shop as an ongoing sustainable business. Any profits go straight back into bike shop. It’s run by locals, for locals!


This is what it is all about, smiling African orphans with bikes that would have otherwise been landfill or still cluttering up someone’s garden shed collecting dust.


To all that have donated to the B4H charity, helped out/been a part of/follwed the Final Continent expedition, I can’t wait to be posting these photos from our container!

And on the fundraising front, GREAT NEWS, we received the best Christmas present as well, another $2,500 donation! This takes our total funds raised to just over $8000! Now only $4000 more to go before we reach the $12,000 target, which covers the transportation costs of sending the sea container to Africa (you can check out our progress at our charity fundraising page

A big THANK YOU to our recent donors: Leah and Craig, Nicola, Nic and Amy, Andy, Matt and Linnley at the Beer Library, Richard Inglis, Jacky and Trev and Julie Thorpe.

Currently I’m back home in NZ for Xmas/NY, and really looking forward to chilling out, no writing, no expedition, no rocks (I work with rocks), just family, friends and sunshine (maybe a few beers). So I hope everyone has an AWESOME Chrissy and NY, and I will catch you next year.

Nuthin but Love, Hap

PS Another great Christmas present would be if my lost baggage would turn up (been lost a week now1). So, if anyone from Jetstar is reading this (even if it’s at your call centre in India I’ve been dealing with) I would really appreciate if you would call me back. Luckily mum allowed me to open my Chrissy present early – gotta love fresh smelling Christmas undies!


Packin’ her up!

16 Dec

A couple weeks ago was our first opportunity that we’ve had to go help out Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) and see firsthand what it takes to pack a container full of bikes! Unfortunately I had a bit of a sore back, so was taking it easy, but it was good to be able to be the official documentarian and take some photos of how everything went down (by the way, this is Mandy here on my first official guest post).

Matt, founder of B4H Melbourne, rocked up with freshly donated gear picked up from Bicycle Superstores around Melbourne.

A few of our friends were able to join us to give a hand, and they did amazing work! They automatically got to work on removing pedals, and turning around the handlebars on all the bikes so they would fit into the container like a puzzle.

Phuong, Chiz and Sam with Matt, working hard in the chilly Melbourne Sunday afternoon.

Bro and sis making an excellent team! Jarnia and Hap were getting down to business, but Hap still managed to strike a pose with his manly mo.

It was really amazing to finally put faces with names of people I’ve heard so much about. Ylva (B4H project manager) and Matt (B4H founder) getting organised.

Andy helping Hap and Paul squeeze the last bike in……..every one counts!!

It was really difficult to actually fit the whole container in the photo….it’s massive! Over 400 bikes are heading to resupply the original project location in Namibia.

Those of you around the world, check out if there’s a Bicycles for Humanity chapter near you if you’d like to volunteer on a more local project.

Alternatively, you can always donate to our fundraiser (Hap also inserted an easier to find DONATE HERE button above for people coming to blog after watching the promo video)! All funds go directly to Bicycles for Humanity, Melbourne, to pay for the cost of shipping containers. We are also interested in collecting building materials to pack in our container, which will cost a pretty penny unless anyone can donate. We will post a specific list of requested material soon. Once the container of bikes arrives at the destination, the container is converted into a bike workshop, so there are significant costs involved in the construction and business side of setting up.

Hope everyone is having a pleasant summer or winter, wherever you may be. Hap and I are psyched about going to NZ for Christmas, not too long now!

p.s. We might find out where our container is headed before the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted

p.p.s Hap is getting worried about losing all his hair from the shoulders up, 2,842 hits so far, so keep on watching the teaser and let’s get the 5000 hits!

Hillary Expedition Grant!

13 Dec

At my work in Tasmania, we have a mother duck that walks around the yard who we call Jemima. A while back Jemima got some action and just last month popped out 5 fuzzy cute ducklings. Every time I look at Jemima and her little ducklings walking around I can’t help but think how she represents the Final Continent Expedition, ie the Expedition ducks are slowly but surely all lining up. And lately we have been waiting for the Hillary Expedition Grant duckling to get in line.

On my recent stint when I came back to work after a week off in Melbourne, poor Jemima had lost 3 of her ducklings. I thought to myself, ‘shit, that isn’t a good omen’.

And guess what? It wasn’t a good omen. Yep our Hillary Expedition grant duckling died. We didn’t get it.

But the ducks are still in a row, just minus the $20,000 duckling that would of covered the costs of our bikes, cycling gear and flights to Africa.

But that’s history, it’s just a dead duckling. In fact I couldn’t feel better, we are all still super pumped. Getting the grant would have been too easy. Already alternative ideas are flowing.

So how can you guys help out? If you know of any companies that maybe interested in sponsoring our expedition, or have potential contacts, then please forward on the FCE promo video ( and my blog. One thing I would like to point out here is that sponsoring the expedition is totally separate to donating. Money donated goes directly to our expedition charity Bicycles for Humanity and the $12,000 transportation cost of the container. Whereas what we are looking for here are companies who are passionate about what we are doing and willing to sponsor gear/services eg cycling/camping gear/clothing, communications, flights to Africa etc to help us bring the costs down.

But don’t fear, the show will go on regardless, if sponsors can’t be found then I’m sure our credit cards will happily sponsor us. This is just one tiny little hurdle in the Final Continent Expedition, plenty more to come, bring it on.

So what have I learnt from all this…………………..…….I’m glad I’m not a duck.

OK, I’ve just realised I’ve spent a whole blog post talking about ducks. So to conclude my ducked post, we didn’t get the grant and are now looking for sponsors. We wish all the successful Hillary Expeditions all the best and I can’t wait to see them revealed in the coming month.

Nuthin but love Hap

FCE charity promotional video – It’s bloody awesome!

9 Dec

It gives me great pleasure Ladies and Gentlemen to present to you (cue drum roll) … THE FINAL CONTINENT EXPEDITION charity promo video! (Lights please)

Ummmm shave all hair from the shoulders up?

If you watched it, you will agree with me that Sich did an AMAZING job, especially when he had no expedition footage to work with. The footage he used is of his parent’s trip to Africa in 1970 with an old school super 8 camera (it was probably old school back then).

And yes, I feel extremely lucky that Sichs and my path crossed, he really does add a whole new dimension to the Final Continent Expedition. Watching the video just gets me excited to think what he will put together for the actual documentary when he has actual footage!

So jump on board the FCE train folks, help us get the word out about this, help us raise the $12,000 for Bicycles for Humanity and help me get beaten up in Africa for looking like a skin head with no eye brows!

Oh yeah, I have a challenge for you, try and watch the video without smiling! What is it about dishevelled laughing African kids that makes you smile?

OK, the FCE train is leaving, jump on, toot toot!

Nuthin but love Hap

The seed of the FCE dream – Feb 2010

2 Dec

Howdy folks,

Below is an email I sent Sich (FCE doco maker) on February 16th of this year, while I was in Chile, just after I had finished work on the cruise ship in Antarctica. The same cruise ship that Sich had worked on as the photographer/videographer, the same cruise ship that Sich who at the time was a friend of a friend, had put the good word in for me, thus leading to me getting work as a waiter onboard after nearly 3 years of trying to get to Antarctica!

The email I sent him was entitled “TOP SECRET PROPOSAL”. I love reading back over it, as when I wrote this email, the Final Continent Expedition was just an idea, it was all a dream when I wrote this email, as I say in the email, Sich was the first person I told this idea to…………… look at it………………….this makes me smile………………widely…………happily………… I have just had a few a beers and a glass of red………………………oh yeah I have. OK the email.

TOP SECRET PROPOSAL 16th February 2010


Don’t worry I’m not asking you to marry me.

The reason i emailing, want to get your thoughts. I met a kiwi couple on the Torres del Paine trek (southern Chile), they told me about a Hillary expedition fund that sponsors young kiwis on expeditions. For a while now I have been wanting to do something awesome, I’m sick of just back packing and travelling, taking a trip, i’m wanting to take “an expedition”. As you know I only have Africa to go, I’m wanting the Africa chapter to be off the charts, so I have been playing around with lots of ideas to incorparate an expedition in Africa that involves work.

Obviously I can’t place all eggs in the basket of getting this hillary expedition grant, but I’m giving myself a year in Melbourne, I’m hitting the ground running, and will get the sponsorship for the expedition.

But, where Mr Sidey comes in, if you were keen, or atleast think you maybe keen, you could use your artistical magic and make the film for the expedition.

Ok Ok, I realise this is all just an idea at the moment and you’re the first person i presented it to. But to give you an insight to what i’m thinking at present, something along the lines of human powered (for the grant it needs to be sport oriented, plus i want to draw on the leaving no carbon footprint etc), then we end up at our destination. The destination is going to be the place we will all work (hence completing my goal).But not just any old work, we will build something, like a hall, a classroom etc.

OK bro, as you can see the brains on over drive, the idea will change a bit, get input, who keen etc, time etc, but that where i’m at the mo.

So, just let me know if you think you maybe keen.

Obviously won’t make any money, prob just debt, but an amazing experience with heaps of sweat, tears and laughter and good times.  I would be planning it for in a year and half time.  Like i said just thoughts, but one thing is for sure, I’m doing some kind of expedition in Africa, back packing just too easy, i want to experience the real Africa!.

OK, I’m off on a 52 hours bus ride, no doubt after 52 hours of bus ride the expedition would of changed again. And if you have any ideas or thoughts, let me know, all ears bro.

Nuthin but love Hap

SICH’S REPLY 18th February 2010

Hey bro,

Just read your email 3 times on a tiny iPod. This is just the sort of fuel that keeps me burning mate. I like. I’m sure a sweet sweet doco could come of this. Keep me informed!

Now I’m going to go off and think about this.

Chur Sich

– August 30th 2010

Hola Amigo

Last night, in the comfort of my own bed, mind not ready for sleep, suddenly this hap character comes into my brain again. Hell, this isn’t going the wrong way, trust me on this one, as disconcerning as that opening line is.

Thing is. The more I thought about your expedition, the more I think of what a great doco there is in it, an awesome story for the screen. Yup, it’d be mad not to make a go if it.

I can see a doco, which starts at the start of your bike ride, and as you ride your story gets revealed, from your past jobs to the current expedition with bikes for humanity. Easily make a commercial hour. And the festival circuit would dig it. I’ve just entered the DocNZ festival for Feb 2011 with my upcoming polar film ‘Landscapes at the World’s Ends‘ so I’ll def need a project for the 2012 fest!

Funding? I could shoot something like this solo easy, light gear to fit on a bike. im sure there’s avenues here to explore in getting a film grant or similar. its all new to me in that area but room to explore.

anyway, see – not so seedy thoughts after all.

well bro, im off to china next monday, on a bike for a month around the himalayas, but will be back early october. your thoughts?

take it easy man, hey to mandy.

chur, Sich


One question, was i naked in your thoughts?

hahaha,  I like mate, not me being naked, but your email, thoughts etc.  Let me do your email justice when i got time and will write a novel, but right now I’m off to work with the rocks.

Ummmm, i liking all this. nice


As you know, the rest is history. I absolutely love looking back at this, to a time when all this was just a crazy idea. Thank you all for being a part of it and making it a reality. Fingers crossed for the Hilary Expedition grant! We should be finding out next week.

Nuthin but love Hap