Thereabouts

Two brothers on why they took up the challenge to cycle 2,500km from Port Macquarie to Uluru.

Fed up with professional sports’ narrow focus on number crunching and performance monitoring, brothers Gus and Lachlan Morton shed modern day cycling conventions and went out on an adventure.

Starting from their hometown of Port Macquarie, 400km north of Sydney, they headed west before tracking north, reaching Uluru in 12 days. Riding most of the way, they discovered a new appreciation for the bike, their country and themselves. ‘Thereabouts’ is their journey.

Thereabouts trailer on Vimeo.

Gus Morton

What do you love about the bike?

It’s so hard and that’s where the beauty lies. It’s not everyday you can find beauty in pain.

You decided to look at sport in another way – why was this?

We decided to look at the sport in a different way because we were sick of the scandal and bored with all performances becoming a bunch of numbers. What did we learn? That the bike is a far more versatile tool than just a tool of transport or a way to keep fit. There are some of the most interesting people and places right on our doorsteps, and using the bike to access those areas and meet those people enhances those experiences ten fold. We were able to break down a lot of barriers with the bike.

How did ‘thereabouts’ come about and what was the motivation?

Lachy first broached the idea in July last year. It grew as an idea slowly from there but I hadn’t ridden a bike in nearly three years so it was very much an ‘idea’ for the first few months. At the beginning of November we really committed to riding to Uluru. That’s when I started training.

Where did your adventures take you?

Literally our adventures took us from our home town of Port Macquarie, through Walcha, Gunnedah, Cobar, Broken Hill, Peterborough, Blinman, Marree, Coober Peddy, Kulgera and then finally Yulara and Uluru. Figuratively speaking, to the moon and back. 

Tell us about a couple of characters you met along the way.

Trevor has lived in Walcha since 1988 with his wife Phyllis. He is originally from Bourke. Trevor never learned to read or write, and worked as a shearer for most of his life. He taught himself to weld while trying to overcome alcoholism. His house is surrounded by his sculptures that he has made for nearly 30 years; each piece takes up to six months. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Trevor ignored medical advice to operate and took up a vegetarian diet. Doctors gave him six months. He has now lived 3 years with the cancer.

Andy is the manager at The Marree Hotel, one of the two staff there in the off-season – the summer. From Essex, Andy was schooled at Harrow, and then Cambridge before joining the Royal Air Force where he worked as a cyber security and intelligence analyst. He founded a private business working on security for major firms across Europe, but was driven to an anxious break down. He sold his business and disappeared to Australia, back packing for over a year before he arrived at the Maree pub. On his first night, he asked the owner whether he could give him a hand behind the bar for the night, and he hasn’t left. He’s now spent three years living in Marree.

What did you learn from the experience?

We learnt that a lot of people have never been asked about their own lives, and are just waiting for someone to. We learnt you can do 630 km in two days. We learnt to pull a beer. We learnt to shoot a rifle. We learnt to open our minds a little wider. We learnt to love the bike again.

What adventures do you have planned next?

We are doing another ‘thereabouts’ ride through the Colorado Rockies in June/July. We’re going to bring a guest along as well. After that we have some pretty wild ideas –hopefully we can pull them off. 

Describe what health means to you and what small steps everyone can take on their journey to better health.

Your health is your life. It’s everything you do all the time and how that affects you. Steps towards better health? Start by doing something that extends you outside your comfort zone because you want to and not because anyone else says you should.

Lachlan Morton

What do you love about the bike?

Escape, freedom, exploration and challenge.

You decided to look at sport in another way – why was this?

It’s looking at sport from a basic human aspect. Something everyone can hopefully relate to. A lot of professional sports breed an unhealthy and self-centered lifestyle. It’s about cutting back to basics, finding enjoyment in the simple challenge and the people involved with that.

How did ‘Thereabouts’ come about and what was the motivation?

It felt like something I needed to do. I was a little lost in professional cycling and Gus was lost in what his lifestyle had become. I wanted to do something epic. My bike was the best tool I knew for doing that. Gus liked the idea. Then we just kinda left one week.

Where did your adventures take you?

To the limit of our physical capabilities and into the lives of people we’d never have otherwise met.

Tell us about a couple of characters you met along the way.

Where to start? I met a lot of characters, (generally in the outback pubs and caravan parks) who honestly changed my outlook, initially on Australia and in turn life.

What did you learn from the experience?

People are people. They all want to share their stories and have a yarn. Things have a way of working themselves out if you want something bad enough.

Highlights?

Oodnadatta track. Epic landscape. Harsh and challenging road. Remote as it gets.

Describe what health means to you and what small steps everyone can take on their journey to better health.

Health is a lifestyle. It’s a physical, mental approach to life. Exercise, diet and the people you surround yourself with, for me are the most important influencing factors.

Find out more at thereabouts.com.au

Insure your health when you travel with Medibank travel insurance

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