Six days after graduating high school in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last year, at just 17, B’yauling Toni hopped on his stock Kona Sutra and started pedaling. Loaded up with a little food, a sleeping bag and a bivy he began one massive and awe-inspiring journey. His goal was to cycle 30,000km around the world. His planned route would take him traveling, unsupported and solo, in relatively the same direction, passing through a set of antipodal points on the earth, for B’yauling that was Madrid, Spain, and Wellington, New Zealand. If it all goes to plan he will break the world record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle.
After leaving Saskatoon on July 1st he pedaled 5000km to Halifax on Canada’s east coast, he flew to Portugal and rode through Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia. From there he rode across Russia into Mongolia, followed by China. After leaving Shanghai for Perth, Australia, he rode across the Nullarbor Plains, and up the coast through Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney on to Brisbane. He then flew to Invercargill, New Zealand where he rode up the South Islands west coast toward Wellington. By the time you read this, he’ll almost be in Auckland. To finish he’ll fly to Vancouver where he’ll don rain gear, change his tires out and ride over the Rockies back to Saskatoon.
B’yauling had embarked on this trip to raise money for a local outdoor education program in Saskatoon. His Go Fund Me page splits half the donated money between funding his trip and the Outdoor School Program. After meeting with him it became pretty darn apparent that he doesn’t require much to get by. In fact, he’s spent a total of $32 Canadian dollars on accommodation since he began his trip six months ago. Flights obviously take up a big portion of the funds, but on average he reckons it costs him $10 on food per day. He doesn’t carry a cooker and eats only food that doesn’t require heating. He averages around 11-12 hours on the bike a day and around 200km a day in distance. He stops to check out sights as well as checking out a little touristy stuff but being on the bike allows him to take it all in whilst moving, after all, he has deadlines to meet and planes to catch!
Yesterday though, he hit one of his first major speed bumps while cycling through New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. He was cruising downtown checking things out when an irate driver pulled up beside him and started yelling obscenities at him. Unaware of what he’d done to aggravate this driver he ignored him and kept riding. At the next intersection, the light went red and B’yauling found himself pulling in front of the driver in the green cycle bay in front of traffic. He pedaled off as it went green, trying to get a gap on the angry driver only to hear the engine rev behind him, he looked over his shoulder to check on the driver and the car plowed right into him, knocking him clean off his bike and sending his gear yard sailing through the intersection. The driver didn’t stop there and continued to yell expletives at B’yauling until he realized that the pedestrian eyewitnesses didn’t share his view of who was at fault. But before anyone could stop the man, he jumped in his car and high-tailed it out of there. While picking up his belongings, he was approached by a lady who’d seen the whole thing happen, she offered him food and a warm place to sleep.
It was the first bit of road rage he’d experienced in New Zealand, and also the worst road rage experience he’s ever had. He pointed out that in the close calls he’s had, he’s never been knocked off his bike.
But the story gets worse. After arriving at the woman’s house, he decided to take a quick nap. The nap turned into a 16-hour long sleep. When we woke though, he realized that in the hit and run and its aftermath that his money belt, with $400 cash inside, had come off and was nowhere to be found. His entire NZ budget is now gone. We meet up with him he was sporting a large shopping bag of goods that the lady had loaded him up with… His bags were full.
His gear has taken a beating. The multiple zip ties on his frame bag attest to this. It no longer closes, even after having a yurt maker in Mongolia repaired it. He’s been through three drivetrains and two sets of tires, the Brooks saddle looks nice and broken in. He’s also experimented with a different kind of bicycle lubricant, when the bike shops disappeared in Mongolia, he tried butter on the chain, it worked well when it was warm but when the temperature dropped the butter would coagulate and freeze, his solution, the flavor sachet from noddle packets!
His helmet has been shattered into three distinct and separate pieces and is being held together by zip ties and duct tape. When I offered him a new helmet, he said that food was more important, he had just $24 to make it to Auckland.