And You Thought Your Trip Was Impressive: Armando And The 1,000,000-Kilometer Bike Trek

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Okay, everyone, don’t get pissed at me, but you’re just not as cool as this guy. I’m sure your ratty backpack has loads of patches on it and your passport needed supplemental pages years ago. Still, you got nothing. I got nothing, either. But Armando Basile, on the other hand, he’s definitely got something.

This past weekend I welcomed a leather-faced older man into the bike shop I work at (when I’m not writing for your entertainment). He pulled his bike into our rack just outside the front door, complete with the most loaded bags of any long-distance biker we’ve seen stop at the shop this summer. I had no idea who I just met. Our exchange went as follows:

“Greetings, I would like six tubes.”

“Wow, that’s quite a few. Where are you heading?”

“I come from Alaska and go to Germany.”

[Laugh] “That might be tough on a bike.”

“No problems. I bike since 1983. Yesterday, 160 kilometers.”

“Whoa, how far have you gone since 1983?”

“About 940,000 kilometers.”

“No shit.”

“I show you.”

And with that conversation, out came a map of North America with a thick red line scrawled across the United States into Canada. Numbers buffeted some of the circled towns and calculations filled the margins.

Soon, Armando was telling us of his travels. He began cycling based on a doctor’s recommendation after a back injury. His wife, Gisela, joined him for over 400,000 kilometers, through almost every country in Europe, across America, across Australia, and then from Canada to Mexico, before she was tragically killed in a cycling accident in 2005. That would, perhaps, put an end to his adventure one would think. Nope.

Last year, solo, Armando cycled around Australia, almost dying from dehydration until some locals helped him out.  The 67-year-old survives on many, “cans of baked beans and peas,” and saves money by camping as much as possible.

He is currently in the middle of a spin back to New York before he returns home to Germany. He told me that next year, for his next trip, “I go 1 million kilometers.”

That’s over 620,000 miles. As I said before, I had no idea who walked through the door.

A quick internet search revealed this article about Armando from the Cortland Standard and this article from the Post Hotel in Lake Louise.

[Photo of Armando Basile Bob Ellis/Cortland Standard]

  • Nheil

    31 January 2017! Capas, Tarlac, Philippines!
    Very Cool bloke! I hope He finishes his target 2M kms!
    His current count as of today 1.2M kms..

    Ride safe Armando!

  • x200

    Hello, I met Armando a couple of days ago, he just came back from the Nordkap.

  • Chris C

    Armando is cycling strong and has past 1.1 million kms. He says he can do 2 million and I see no reason at all to doubt him!! Truly one of the coolest & most inspirational people I’ve ever met…

    • MattStabile

      Nice, that’s great news.

  • Clem Coxhead

    Armando is sitting in my Shop in Opunake, Taranaki, New Zealand writing up his Diary before heading off to Auckland. We have enjoyed some food and a chat. The weather is fine after strong southerly winds yesterday from Turakina. he was pleased they helped push him along. I gave him some Soap made in our town and he tells me that his town in Germany makes lots of Soap and candles.
    Best wishes Armando. Clem Coxhead Sea Side Candles and Soaps

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  • Muellerb

    Armando visited us today. He flew back from Australia with our daughter, after crossing the whole the continent. And additional Tasmania. He told us that he reached 960.000 kilometers of his one million trip.

    Truly an exceptional man.

    Greetings from Istein (southern Germany)


  • Justin

    Met Armando on Beach Road, Melbourne's premier training road this morning. Had a chat in broken Italian and he showed me some newspaper clippings from recent towns in Oz he has passed through. Gawd his bike is heavy and he's doing it with a 52/34 up front, no granny for this guy!!
    He's just toured Tasmania too. I emailed his son to say he was ok.

  • Ross

    I met Armando in Woss near the Northern tip of Vancouver Island last month. What an amazing man. He asked us to email his son to let him know he was okay.
    We invited him to join us for a meal which he greatly appreciated as it made a change from beans

  • Monty

    Armando has just passed through Butler, PA – He says he'll be back in New York in 2 or 3 days! Go Armando!

  • Armando just went thru Worthington, mn 8/17/10 heading east. what a cool guy

    • jonwick

      Thanks so much for letting us know. It's awesome to hear he's still turning the wheels!

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