Backyard Crew / Jack Thompson14 May. 2018
Jack Cycles Far
Pursuing a cycling dream
Fed up with life behind the computer screen and the monotony of the 9 to 5 grind, in late 2015, Jack Thompson (or @jackcyclesfar as he is known online) threw in the towel as a Construction Project Manager and decided to pursue his dreams of cycling full time.
Fast forward two and a half years and that dream is now a reality. One of the world’s top ultra-endurance and adventure cyclists, Jack resides in Perth, Western Australia. Given Jack’s favourite riding destinations are remote, his home town location is fitting - Perth is the most remote major city on the planet. Within Australia, those on the more densely populated east coast often joke that Perth is still famous for its continued use of a ‘horse and cart’ style of transport. Jack has confirmed for us that although a little behind the times, Perth drivers have finally adopted the humble ‘petrol powered car’ as their primary source of transport.
All jokes aside, BBB Cycling is thrilled to welcome Jack to our ever-growing BackYard Crew of talented professional riders. We recently sat down with Jack to talk about all things around ultra-endurance cycling and to see what motivates him to push the boundaries of what is humanly possible.
What made you decide to chase your dream?
Yeah, you’re spot on. Up until 2014 I was racing the Australian National Road Series with a Perth based team. I spent 2013 racing in Belgium and Spain and unfortunately upon my return to Australia, I was forced off the bike for close to six months having over trained and under eaten. Upon being allowed to re-mount the steed I decided that racing in a traditional sense was no longer the thing for me.
Admittedly, I suffered from mental health related issues as a teen and to this day I still suffer with an Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCD.) Upon my father’s retirement from work, he decided to ride his bike around the world. Seeing this and needing some motivation of my own, I started exploring on the bike as well. One thing led to another and my OCD kicked into over drive. 200km was not enough and I found that I was regularly riding in excess of 350-400km in an individual sitting. The rest is history and I now use my OCD to push my mind and body to places most can’t even imagine.
Jack's bottlesNever in need of hydration anymore...
What’s the craziest thing you have ever done on a bike?
That’s a tough one. Believe it or not, I often find that the long days aren’t the tough ones, but rather the training days at a high intensity. In saying that, I’ve listed a few of my ‘crazier’ unsupported rides below:
• 1,000km non-stop through Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and into Turkey. Temperatures were in excess of 40 degrees Celsius and I completed this stint at the end of a 9-day ride from Belgium.
• 90,000m elevation gain across 11 days through the Chinese Himalayas. As part of this trip I was arrested on the Tibetan border. That’s a story for another day. Let’s just say I was happy to make it out alive!
• A riding total in excess of 52,000km throughout 2017.
52.000km in one year!? So, what's on the cards for 2018?
Yeah, 2018 is shaping up to be a huge year on the bike. I don’t know if I’ll be able to top the 52,000km of 2017, but I’m ok with that. In addition to my own cycling endeavours, I also love sharing my passion of adventure with others. I run cycling tours around the world and next week I’m taking 15 Australians up to Northern Thailand for a sportive down the Mekong River. I’m so excited, not just for the riding, but for the camaraderie that exists between everyone that is joining me.
Jack's sports glassesFuturistic design with a comfortable fit.
Following Thailand, I’ve got an adventure planned through Bhutan and then I’m off to Japan to complete a Cannonball run from Tokyo to Osaka as part of a new store opening. From Japan, I’m back home for a few days (and yes, I will be sleeping!) before flying up to Spain to run a tour through the Pyrenees. From Europe, I’m back down into Taiwan and putting some plans in place around my biggest challenge for the year.
This Challenge will take place in October and will coincide with the Taiwan KOM Challenge - more to be revealed soon! Finally, as part of some work I do with the Korean Government, I will be riding from the North to the South of Korea, before returning home for some rest. It’s a crazy year on the bike, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love riding my bike and it's a form of therapy for me.
Jack Cycles Far
Finally, what drives you to get out of bed every day for such monstrous kilometres?
For me it’s actually quite simple. The way I look at it, we’re all given one shot at life on earth and our time is not infinite. For all we know, tomorrow could be our last day and so the thought of living a life behind the computer screen doing something I’m not passionate about just doesn’t make sense.
I love riding my bike and it’s a form of therapy for me. The people I meet out on the road and the incredible places that I get to visit just reaffirm to me that I’ve made the right decision in life. Sure, I don’t earn anywhere near as much as I used to, but I’ve never been happier than I am now. I get to see parts of the world that most would never dream of and I’m able to live a healthy lifestyle whilst doing it.
Life is good!
Photos by: @z_w_photography