Changing Gears

changing gears

Before Changing Gears landed on my kitchen table, I knew I was going to love it. I knew I would. How could I not? It was about the travel tales of Greg Foyster and Sophie Chishkovsky travelling 6586km on two bicycles, from Tasmania to Cairns.

While cycling a really long way and sleeping in an Aldi tent, they were exploring simpler ways of living or ‘voluntary simplicity’. Either way, they were speaking my language and I couldn’t get enough. I was turning pages at a pace like a tour de france rider and anticipation to match.

Reading through the book, it seemed like a funny combination but I kept thinking of Bill Bryson’s snort out loud travel books he’d written years before. Combining that with “An Inconvenient Truth” and Changing Gears was sitting before me. It was honest, it was engaging, funny, made me think, and ultimately… damn inspiring.

Just occasionally I need someone, or something to remind why I should keep doing things the way I do. This book did. Like my Milkwood Permaculture course had propelled me forward for next few months, I think this book had just done the same thing…in a pretty amazing way.


Changing Gears– a Pedal Powered Detour from the Rat Race- by Greg Foyster

Changing Gears is a high-spirited adventure charting Greg Foyster’s remarkable, life-transforming cycling challenge from Hobart to Cairns. Resisting the pressure to conform to an ‘Australian average’, Greg and his girlfriend Sophie set off with the question: can we be happy with less?

Before the trip, Greg was an inner-city advertising yuppie who spent his days coming up with clever ways to get people to consume more. Unhappy with the contradictions in his life he finally quit his job – but when a panic attack landed him in hospital, Greg realised that something had to change.

And so unfolds a riveting yarn – engaging, self-effacing and with many laugh-out-loud moments. The 6586km bike expedition was a million miles from Greg’s comfortable lifestyle – the furthest he’d travelled on bike was 50km and the longest he’d been in a tent was at a 3 day music festival. And along the way he must confront his own character flaws, contend with bum blisters, taste road kill, survive on only 2 changes of clothing, live with his partner 24/7 in a tent for 9 months, and cycle the final 1700-kilometre stretch up North Queensland on a diet of raw food.

An enthralling personal narrative, Changing Gears is also a compelling insight into the different ways of living being embraced by lone visionaries and engaged communities alike, all seeking a more sustainable life. On the road, Greg and Sophie meet a host of unique characters – including a barefoot monk who travels with nothing but a blanket and an alms bowl, a forest activist who lives up a tree, a man that survives on 18th century hunting techniques, a family who have lived without electricity for 20 years, and many more DIY downshifters with fascinating stories to tell.

Twenty per cent of Australians want to downshift to fewer hours and the trend towards simpler lifestyles is gaining momentum. Changing Gears is for anyone who’s considered escaping the rat race, living more simply or taking a breather from the nine-to-five grind. It is a timely, life-affirming and inspiring book that tackles the most important issue facing humanity, but in the most personal and delightful way.


And if you would like to meet them in person, the last of the pedal powered book tour…

DeanSwift Books, Nowra
Tuesday 12 November, 12noon
Talk & signing
120 Junction Street, Nowra
Phone: (02) 4421 5568

Gleebooks, Sydney
Tuesday 19 November, 6pm
Greg Foyster in conversation with Craig Reucassel & book signing
49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Phone: (02) 9660 2333
Book online

Where to buy the book, Changing Gears.
Or have a read of Greg and Sophie’s blog, Simple Lives.

19 thoughts on “Changing Gears

  1. [warm Sunday laughter!] Have just ordered and paid! Simply could not resist . . . I too was once part of the socalled corporate world, but, in my own way, have ‘treechanged’ more than once in the last two decades! Love ‘Tour de France [:) !], have been the whole journey from Hobart to Cairns, but not by bike . . .would like to travel and learn and laugh . . . so thank you for telling me about a book I would probably have missed otherwise!!


  2. I’m dying to get this, I heard an interview with them on Radio National, they were fantastic. You need a motivator sometimes to remember just why you care hey?


  3. I just did a review of this one too! I really enjoyed it, Greg’s writing style is really great and I loved reading about their adventure, even the bits that didn’t go so well.


  4. I can’t imagine being on a bike and sleeping in an Aldi tent for nine months. What a journey! And I bet they had to deal with a vast array of weather conditions and cold and heat etc. But definitely the experience of a lifetime and they got a book out of it! I hope they are doing well readjusting to life without a tent and a bike xx


  5. Thanks for all the kind comments guys! Lovely words and photos in this post too. I’m currently cycling to Sydney – still in the Aldi tent – so it feels like I’m reliving the experience all over again…

    Hope you all enjoy the book. Greg


  6. Have been thinking about this post on-and-off all week Brydie. I read it whilst in at work last Sunday (feeling very sorry for myself). Really need to get a hold of that book. Have been feeling like we need a big life-change. Can’t quite put my finger on what that change will be exactly, but there are rumbles.
    PS. Lovely sunflower photo.


    • Bubbles are good Saskia, bubbles are always good. Hope it inspires you and your family towards another branch in the apple tree. xxx
      (and if you are working this Sunday, rumour is it’s going to be a lovely day.)


  7. This looks really interesting and it is always good to read an Aussie perspective on the whole simpler living thing. By the way I meant to answer your suarkraut question from awhile back, but I am terribly slack with replying, I’m sorry 😦 As far as getting the kids to eat it, well that hasn’t eventuated yet, so only us adults now and I’m the only one who really enjoys it. But you never know, one day 🙂


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