I don’t think I can remember a time when I saw my grandfather out of his wheelchair. I remember vividly the time when I had to go to the hospital early in the morning and dad said that Grandad would be there to look after Matt soon. But for the 19 years since my birth to his death in 2013, I only saw a man defined by what he was confined to.
But there was one joke that always stuck with me and no matter how many times I rolled my eyes and thought that he can’t possibly be making this joke again, it was one that always remained in the back of my mind and would occasionally cross my thoughts and have me think about whether it was possible. Whenever I phoned Nan and Grandad from here in Australia, I would always be greeted with the same question from Grandad, “Have you cycled to Alice Springs yet?” My response would always be to the effect of, “No Grandad, I haven’t had the time this week.” The inevitable response being, “Haven’t got the time? It’s only three inches on a map!”
Ever since his passing, the nagging thought of completing this supposedly easy task has been there. Thoughts such as, how long is it actually? How long would that take me? Do I want to ride solo or in a group? And these thoughts began to become more frequent and my response changed from one of dismissal to one of me sitting down and beginning to think about the logistics of this incredible feat.