Cycling Around the World and Discovering True Amateur Radio Spirit


I received a note from Thomas Andersen, OZ1AA, sharing some information about his around-the-world bike trek:

This is the story of an adventure across countries, continents and cultures, enriched by the spirit of Amateur Radio.

Apart from ham radio I have been interested in cycling since I was a kid. I also love to travel so it was somewhat natural for me to combine my passions in life into a perfect match. I first did some shorter bike trips in Europe including a three week ride through the Balkans in 2007. A year later in the middle of the financial crisis, the startup company I was working for suddenly went bankrupt. I wasn’t slow to hit the internet and look for a cheap flight ticket to a warm place. I spent the next 2 months cycling from South India to Delhi and had an amazing time. After the trip I decided to plan for “The Big Ride”, but first I needed to earn more money.

When I came home from India a got a job on Faroe Islands. Apart from the fact that the beer up there is incredible expensive, I figured it would be a good place to save up some cash as there wouldn’t be a lot of other things to spend money on. During a long and dark winter I managed to make 28000 QSOs as OY3AA and save up the money I needed. In the beginning of October 2010 I came back to Denmark and one week later I was saying goodbye to friends and family on the central square in Copenhagen.

After more than 20,000 km and three years on the road, I learned that there is always a radio amateur around, ready to give a helping hand. I have now reached South America and started cycling north from Ushuaia. The goal is to reach Canada within a year.

I think it would have been possible to do what I am doing without being a radio amateur, but there is no doubt in my mind that it would be a much more boring trip. I can’t honestly think of any other hobby where you can show up in any town in any part of the world and be welcomed like I have been. I have realized this is unique because my non-radio friends simply can’t understand how I can know so many people. They think I am the world’s best networker, but all I can tell them is: Become a Ham and you will have 1 million friends around the world as well.

A sincere thank you to all hams who helped making this possible. Amateur radio spirit is alive!

Follow his ride via or via Twitter. Also, if you’re on his route (the North American portion is mostly Eastern U.S./Canada), consider showing him some local ham hospitality! 🙂

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “Cycling Around the World and Discovering True Amateur Radio Spirit”

  • John N8ZYA:

    What a wonderful picture of Ham Radio friends! Makes me want to dust off the cycle and start a journey.

  • BX2ABT:

    Back in October when he was in Australia I worked him as VK8WW. He was in the Northern Territories working on a cattle farm then. Fun stuff.

  • Paul Griffith KE5WMA:

    Let me know if you come through the New Orleans area.

  • Barry, VE7VIE/WV2J:

    I’ve done a lot of cycle touring, but onky 2000-3000kms at a time. I always take a radio, which will be a KX3 next time (Vancouver Island). I use a Buddipole, AA’s and solar. I wonder what gear Thomas is using. Balancing weight and power are key when bike-mobile.

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