We caught up with the pair during a few days break in Latvia, and ask them a few questions about their adventure.
What is it that you are doing, and how long have you been traveling?
We are on an overland/sea expedition from Glasgow, Scotland to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We’re keeping a daily journal of our travels, complete with photos from every day on the road. We are primarily traveling by bicycle, though we have spent a fair bit of time on ferries, trains, and oddly enough, scooters as well! As of this writing, we have been on the road a total of 461 days. At the moment, we’re in a car, making our way towards Russia with the intention of driving across Siberia. We originally wanted to take the Trans-Siberian Railway, but later discovered doing so is very difficult with two giant touring bicycles.
What made you want to travel the world by bike?
The inspiration came while watching Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman’s motorcycle documentary “Long Way Down”. While they guys were in the deserts of Africa, they met Jason Lewis, a man circumnavigating the earth with human power. On a whim, I decided this was a great idea; texted Tara and asked if she wanted to cycle around the world with me. At first, she only wanted to do a small tour in France. Over the course of years and months of planning and preparation, our confidence levels soared, and well, things got a little out of hand!
You must be traveling quite light, have you been living out of a saddle bag all this time?
Actually, quite the opposite; not all cycle tourists are gram counters! Each of our bicycles weighs somewhere between 120-140 pounds fully loaded with equipment, food and water. Much of this weight is in the form of electronics, as we are keeping a (nearly) real-time daily journal of our trip in words, pictures and sounds. Additionally, I (Tyler) work from the road as a one-man software development company. My applications primarily provide solutions for the heavy trucking, public transit and insurance industries. Somehow, I’m managing to make just a bit more than we’re spending.
Where has your route taken you so far? Where are you headed?
So far, we have cycled Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia and Romania, covering roughly 15,000km under our own power. From Romania, we took a train to Munich, Germany. From there, we cycled north to Berlin and bought a used car for our trek across Russia. Surprisingly, this turned out to be incredibly easy! We left Berlin on the 20th of June in our 1991 Toyota Corolla Xli with both of our bicycles completely disassembled in the trunk.
We have since driven through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Tomorrow, we’ll add Estonia to that list! From there, we were going to cross directly into Russia, but on a whim, Tara devised a plan to drive through Finland and Norway, reaching the northernmost point of mainland Europe. Once we go on this “little 90 degree detour”, we’ll head back down into Russia at the Nujimaa (Finland) / Bruschnishnaya (Russia) border crossing to make our way through Siberia. We’ll ultimately sell our car somewhere in or around Mongolia. From there, we continue south, again on bicycles to Kuala Lumpur.
What have been some of your favorite places/experiences?
What has been the biggest challenge for you both in your journey?
I had scarcely ever been camping or biking before we left, so it was quite a process to learn to live with hill-climbing, road grime, insects everywhere, and permanent sticky sweat. Being in various states of dampness/wetness for rainy days on end was very disheartening at first too. Now, these things rarely faze me, but it is always a constant challenge to balance travel, rest, and recording it all in our journal.
Learning to slow down and enjoy the present moment instead of always striving to go further, faster, harder. This trip, and Tara, have inexorably changed my life for the better in that regard. Our website was originally “Adventure Riding (www.advriding.com)” but Tara insisted we make it something less “extreme” sounding.
What was your inspiration for uploading short field recordings from your travels?
We were on the road about nine months before we got our field recorder. Our inspiration? Constantly hearing beautiful/awful/strange/humorous sounds and wishing we had a way to document them. Now, our recordings capture snippets of our journey which we find to be as memorable to us as our photographs.
What equipment are you using?
We use a Zoom H4n, recording primarily in 44.1/24. We process the results with Audacity, the extent of which (so far) is really nothing more than fade in/out. We still have a LOT to learn about recording, and audio in general. If we could do it all over again, we would get a device that wasn’t music-oriented, maybe a Fostex FR2LE. Obviously, we use SoundCloud to host our audio. Your service rules.
What’s on the horizon for your journey? Do you feel like you are on target for your 2011 arrival?
The “Russia problem” has been staring us in the face for a long time now. We’re both really excited to finally get there and start crossing the largest country in the world! Mongolia on bicycles will likely be the most remote place we visit, and we’re really looking forward to that too. Somehow, the more we travel, the more there is to see, not the other way around. It feels like we could be out here for a lifetime and never “finish” but we are definitely staying on target for a Spring 2011 arrival. We miss our families too much to stay gone longer!
While the world’s nations have been battling for the football crown for most of June down in Vuvuzela land, team SoundCloud has been excited to welcome a number of artists and labels to the little cloud family.
It was only about 2 months ago when SoundCloud reached 1 million users. Remember? We’ve come a long way since we first started, but we certainly haven’t forgotten about the good old days with our early users - we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. So we rounded up some old-school SoundClouders to see how they’re doing and thank them for sticking with us. This week we’ll be featuring record labels. Stay tuned for next week’s features on producers. And now, without further ado, here they are:
"Two years ago, I found out about SoundCloud while looking for a friend’s page on MySpace. I fell in love with the concept of the site immediately. Not only does it fulfill all the digital fundamentals of a music site (from a DJ/ producer’s point of view), but it also makes sharing high-quality music files fast. I also like that instantaneous feedback is possible with timed comments. Plus, it’s an attractive and simple website where the functions are intuitive, easy to handle, and easy to understand. BIG UP FOR THAT!" -Lino Rodrigues
Check out one of their new “deep tech, moody” tracks:
User #40001: Marcel of Multi Vitamins Records, a London label specializing in Minimal house, techno, and downtempo
"We love the simplicity of the website and the way we can see comments on each track uploaded from users. It’s very helpful for networking and finding creative artists." -Edouard Darracq aka Doudou Malicious
"I love that SoundCloud is easy to use..and it’s easy for people to check out what I’m doing and share it with others. It’s also a great way for me to link up with new artists and to share my music with other DJs and labels." -Alicia, also of Alley Cat and ESP Agency
User #44540: Marcel of MWM-Recordings, a Dutch label specializing in dubstep/dub/ambient/leftfield
"For years I’ve been using sites like Myspace and ArtistServer. Then came SoundCloud, the first music platform where it’s possible to upload full quality WAV files instead of crappy 128kb MP3s. Through SoundCloud, I’ve received demo-submissions and discovered a lot of talented producers, some of whom have already released records on MWM. It also makes it easy to send and receive masters and collaborate on remixes. I’ve also embedded my SC page on the label website, where visitors can listen, download, and comment as usual. Been using SC for some time now - I’ve had some “When it rains, it pours” experiences, but all in all, it’s been mostly very sunny weather!!! Big Up!!” - Marcel
A great part of the Soundcloud experience is groups, allowing users to share their creations. Group themes can vary hugely, from Electro House, to Dub.
We recently discovered this hidden gem of a group, devoted to binaural recordings. Binaural recordings are specifically designed to be listened to through headphones, and can often create the effect of sound coming from all directions, even behind you!
Have a listen to some submissions in the player below, and If you’ve got any of your own binaural recordings, why not get involved?
“our next single HEARTSINK is out on august 16th - we’re offering up the stems for people to create their own remixes, then we’ll choose our favourite and it will be released as the digital b-side. just download the tracks here and send us the WAV file of your remix using the dropbox…deadline is 19th july.”
In honor of our office Swedes (you know who you are), this post is dedicated to Sweden’s biggest holiday. This is what the office looks like right now:
Yup, just like that…maybe with more computers and less dress shirts though. So make a day of Midsommardagen, wherever you are! Lay out some fresh salmon, Schnapps, and the first strawberries of the season and stream some Swedish-made music from your favorite digital music platform. Here’s a new offering by the label Stockholm LTD: