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The Tour of Gondwana

A Global Bicycle Journey
With a Southern Disposition

by Michael Ayers

NEWS - 08/22/02008

~At the Grand Canyon!~

~The Tour is Complete!!~

~Previous ten Waypoints:

    ~08/04; Zacatecas, Mexico
    ~07/20; Oaxaca, Mexico
    ~06/09; Playa del Carmen, Mexico
    ~06/01; Belize City, Belize
    ~05/24; Flores, Guatemala
    ~05/12; Tegucigalpa, Honduras
    ~05/03; Granada, Nicaragua
    ~04/28; Jaco, Costa Rica
    ~04/15; Panama City, Panama (Start of Stage 5)
    ~04/01; Cartagena, Colombia (End of Stage 4)
    ~03/17; Popayan, Colombia

~Total Distance by Bicycle:

    ~ Stage 5: 9,781 km

    ~All Stages: 86,408 km

~Number of Countries Visited:  44 (+ 8 non-cycling)

~Next: There is no next, the Tour is Over!!

This site will, hopefully, be updated at the end of each stage. All 5 Stage reports Online Now! Look HERE.

My e-mail is linked to my name at the top of this page, but, as you might expect, I may not be able to reply to messages very promptly, if at all. However, I will be posting messages to the Phred touring list when I have the chance.  My archived posts about this tour can be found HERE.

If all goes well I will also be making a video slideshow at the end of each stage and will make them freely available via BitTorrent. For information on how to download and view the shows, look HERE.

All 5 Slideshows NOW SEEDING!

Thanks for stopping by and coming along for a ride, in spirit at least, as I describe my upcoming global bicycle tour, The Tour of Gondwana, which begins in May of 02005 and finishes, all good fortune assumed, in October of 02007.

Bicycle touring is one of those avocations that has a way of becoming a larger and larger part of one's life with each journey completed.  For me personally, I have reached a point where a greater challenge is required to compensate for times gone by that may have been wasted.  In many more ways than I have time to describe, I have come to realize that this tour is what I have always been meant to do.  When one makes such a realization, there is really nothing else that can be done but to follow that course to its logical completion.  So, there you have it, a global tour is essentially a required activity for me, and I intend to see it through.

It has taken me several years to arrange my life, gather the necessary resources, and gain the needed experience to accommodate this trip.  Along the way there were several times when the start of the tour seemed to be just around the corner, only to be indefinitely delayed at the last minute.  Those delays, while incredibly frustrating, only served to solidify my desire to make the tour happen in due time.

Perhaps my objective is too ambitious.  I don't think so.  But, really, there is only one way to know for sure, and that is to make the attempt and see what happens.  If the plan unravels midway through and the ultimate goal is not achieved, then so be it.  There is no shame in failing to complete an abstract idea such as this.  For any portion of this tour that is completed will, undoubtedly, be comprised of countless worthwhile experiences.  I will aim to make the most of all of those.

Enjoy your stay at my site, and spend as much time as you like in the following sections which describe my journey:

Main Page

You're here...

Style & Methods ~Go there~

Where we learn about some of the choices that I've made over the years in developing my personal style of touring, as well as a bit about the some of the planning aspects for of a long trip like this one (the phrase Logistical Nightmare comes to mind...)

The Routes ~Go there~

Where I reveal the routes that I will be travelling, probably the most important consideration for any bicycle tour.  My goal is to visit all of the inhabited parts of Gondwanaland, though a few sections on Laurasia are included for good measure...

The Hardware ~Go there~

Where all of the sprocket-heads out there get the scoop on the trusty steed that will be my constant companion for two years.  A section on the minimal electronic gizmos that I will carry along, and a list of the rest of the stuff too...

The Ocean Crossings ~Go there~

Where the pleasure of traveling the globe by bicycle runs head-first into the 71% of the Earth's surface that is covered by water.  Someone like me, who dislikes long air flights, must devise another solution...

My Past Tours ~Go there~

Where I share with the reader a few glimpses of previous trips.  My early tours were mostly in the United States, but recent trips have been more internationally oriented, whetting the appetite for more.

Where is Gondwana?

To answer that question requires a brief refresher course in Plate Tectonics for those that are not familiar with that, literally, groundbreaking subject.  I have always considered plate tectonics to be one of the most impressive achievements of 20th century scholarship, and it is partly for that reason that I chose the pieces of Gondwana as the destination for my global tour.  To get a feel for the concept, allow your perception to expand well beyond that which is necessary in our daily lives, and imagine the Earth as it was 300 million years before today, in the Late Carboniferous period.

At that time, all of the major land masses of the Earth were joined together in a giant continent that has been given the name Pangea.  There was only one continent, and one huge ocean.  Now, skip forward another 150 million years to the Late Jurassic period, when strange and wonderful creatures filled every liveable space on the planet.   Pangea had begun to gradually split in two. The northern part, which has been given the name Laurasia, would later break up further, creating modern North America and most of Eurasia.   The large southern portion contained the lands that would eventually become modern South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia, as well as the Arabian peninsula, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, New Guinea, Tasmania, and New Zealand.   That vast terrain was Gondwanaland.


~150 Million years ago.

The name derives from the Gondi people of central India. They live in a region known as Gondwana. It was there that geologists first identified the rocks that would reveal the conjoined past of the southern continents .   A trained geologist, which I am not, can easily spot the kinships of the modern Gondwanan fragments.  I enjoy looking for other links, however.  Due to its long isolation, a unique ecosystem evolved on Gondwanaland which, even today, bonds the lands together. Marsupials and the flightless birds of the ratite family are faunal examples, while floral links can be seen in forests of southern beech, tree ferns, and baobabs.  Looking for these types of relationships on widely scattered lands is one of my favorite adventures.

Additionally, as I have seen more of the world I have come to hold the opinion that the so-called "undeveloped" regions of the world are culturally more attractive than the greedy "West".  I would even go as far as to say that instead of them trying to emulate our lifestyles, it should be the other way around.  Therefore, for me there could be no other destination than the offspring of Gondwanaland.