It's been a few weeks since we last caught up with Ed Philps bike ride across the top end of Australia. Going plastic free on his travels from Cairns to Darwin.
While the initial few days of the journey saw plastic free wins, two days into the trip he was shut down by the local bakery in Ravenshoe — refusing to provide him with bread not packaged in plastic.
Loaves of bread packaged in plastic are a continual battle during Ed's journey, but he has managed to cut out quite a bit of that by simply making his own flat bread during his roadside evening dinner breaks.
Why not just accept a few plastic packaged items to lessen the burden? Because part of the plastic free commitment involves taking any waste he generates with him on the journey to Darwin. Philp would prefer not to “roll into Darwin with kilos and kilos of plastic rubbish.”
Our last post on Ed's plastic free ride ended at the highest road in Queensland — he also encountered a few surprises upon reaching Mount Surprise — since then he's safely arrived in the Northern Territory.
In Episode 9 of Ed's Cycling Australia Plastic Free YouTube series he reaches the NT just in time to highlight his NT plastic free adventures during the month of July.
The plastic free struggles began almost immediately . . . while Ed managed to pick up a tin of Tuna at Hell's Gate (personally supplied by the owners), he realised there was just one problem — no can opener crack open the plastic free product!
After a lot of walking rather than riding (due to the road conditions), Ed caves in a hitches a lift with fellow (car) travellers to get to Borroloora, past the bad roads and to new food sources. Ed (and a couple of other riders he met along the way), fill their bags with some much needed plastic free produce: 2 kg of bananas, a couple of avocados and mandarines, and a few tins of sardines to keep them going for the next few days where they'll travel 112 km to Cape Crawford, NT.
While it's interesting to follow a cyclists adventures while trying to purchase no plastic along the way, it should be noted that this route is the same as the one many vehicles travel. If a guy on a bike is struggling to find non-packaged items for food sources, then almost every traveller on those roads would encounter the same issues. This is illustrated by the bins Ed checks along the way — full of single use plastic items: "disposable coffee cups, you name it it's in there."
Arriving at Katherine Ed finally finds a supermarket — Woolies, the first one he's encountered since leaving Atherton in early July. It should be of no surprise that it's full of plastic packaged items. Regardless Ed's pretty happy to find some avocados with no plastic packaging — only $1.90 each (living in avocado land and being able to buy them at our local farmer's markets we think that's pretty steep for one avocado!).
Ed's getting closer to his final destination for this leg of the journey . . . Darwin.
After a quick rest before setting off on the final ride to Darwin, Ed has an idea . . .
After hitching a ride to Borroloora and skipping 180kms of the ride, I might try to pick up 180 plastic bottles on the side of the road, and recycle them in Darwin. I think It's a pretty good idea! — Ed Philip
We agree, great idea Ed!
After finding a plastic crate in Adelaide River, he strapped it to his bike ready for the 180 bottle pickup ride, or the Gypsy Ride as he likes to call it. It only takes 500 metres before the plastic bottle pickup begins 10 cents into the bucket. 50 kilometres down and the tally: a few plastic bottles and a souvenir — a Northern Territory Licence Plate.
Ed made it to Darwin . . . it's two weeks rest then off on the next leg of the journey.
For Ed's journey EORTH kitted him out with a few Plastic Free Bike Ride Travel items:
- Plastic Free Shampoo Bar
- Nelson Natural's Plastic Free Toothpaste
- Brush with Bamboo Toothbrush
- Silk Dental Floss
- Plastic Free Deodorant
- Bamboo Spork
- PATCH Plastic Free Band Aids
Along the way Ed misplaced his trusty Bamboo Spork but as he said "at least its biodegradable, it'll eventually break down back into nature." After five weeks of travel he ran out of soap and toothpaste. More supplies required.
You can follow Philps entertaining Plastic Free Bike Ride across Australia on the following social media channels:
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/edphilp/