The Australian Outback is one of the most dangerous areas in the world. Known for its seemingly unending stretches of desert populated with poisonous animals and insects, the Outback is a challenge to travel for even the most experienced adventurer. It was exactly Jake Wilcox’s cup of tea.
Jake, a resident of the state of Washington, is an avid ultra-endurance athlete who is in the middle of a personal challenge he created called the Venture500. Jake is attempting to complete 50 journeys of more than 500 miles each, while crossing every continent non-motorized. He’s completed 19 adventures thus far, covering three continents and logging over 17,000 miles. He’s notched such epic journeys such as biking across North America, walking across Spain and trekking solo to the Arctic Circle.
When deciding his next adventure of the Venture500, he chose to ride Australia on his ElliptiGO bike. Jake recently discovered the ElliptiGO bike and was eager to test it on his next voyage.
“After two continents on a regular sit down bike, I felt the desire to switch it up and attempt something new, so I did,” Jake said. “I used the Arc 8 for this journey. From Day 1, I was hooked. Humans are built for standing up right, so the posture of the ElliptiGO bike is a more natural position. No more back or butt pains from long days in the saddle, which I particularly like! After riding six weeks, I don’t have any plans of going back to a sit down bicycle. The ElliptiGO bike is fast, fun, sturdy and efficient.”
He opted to cross Australia south to north, a less traveled route for cross-continent trekkers due to the daunting Australian Outback that must be traversed – the perfect challenge for Jake. He began his journey on September 11, 2017.
Being solo and unsupported, Jake needed to carry everything to survive in the wild. He opted for the Burley Nomad trailer, where he hauled all his spare parts, 5 days of extra food, 20 liters of water, camping supplies, and extra clothing and gear. He usually camped five or six days out of the week, then stayed in a hotel or caravan park for a night to shower and charge his electronics. Jake kept a pretty basic diet and ate every two hours to keep up the calories burnt.
Daily meals included oatmeal, raisins and olive oil for breakfast; a protein bar for a second breakfast; peanut butter, honey and olive oil sandwich for lunch; tuna and crackers for midday snack; noodles or rice and beans with olive oil for dinner; and a honey sandwich for dessert. Jake supplemented these meals with at least one to two gallons of water per day, and when in town, he would buy coconut water to replenish electrolytes.
The journey tested Jake’s limits in the most severe ways. “I had long stretches of no service, sometimes as far as 155miles (250 kilometers) without any water or food. I had to deal with extreme isolation, rugged terrain and weather as well as wild animals such as dingos, kangaroos, emus, snakes, spiders and ants,” he shared.
The highlights of the journey far outshone the difficult patches, though. Jake loved meeting different people who would smile and ask why he was riding through the Outback. “We really live in a beautiful world with billions of great people,” he said. “Sometimes it takes getting out of your bubble or comfort zone to reconfirm that.”
For Jake, the adventure was one that also awakened moments of self-discovery. He reflected, “Looking back after all those miles, you realize you can push past the boundaries of what you thought was your potential and reach new heights. Anything is possible with enough determination.”
Jake covered an astounding 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) over 46 days. His journey is documented through his breathtaking photos on Instagram and Facebook video recaps, complete with captivating footage and cool soundtracks. Take a look and follow him as he tackles future adventures, some of which might again be on his ElliptiGO bike.