“Well, that's done.” Peter Heal's words as he stepped casually off his recumbent bicycle last night at Bondi Beach, having just completed a 4014 km ride from Fremantle, WA, in 282 hours (11 days, 18 hours) and a few minutes.

There were no champagne corks popping as Peter freewheeled down Campbell Pde to the finish. The low-key welcoming committee consisted of Audax Club stalwart Malcolm Rogers and his wife Marja, with me tailing along behind after meeting Peter at Centennial Park. However, many Audax Club members had been with him in spirit for his whole ride, following his progress via a SPOT satellite positioning device linking to Google maps on the Web.

The quietly spoken 50-something from the ACT had started his day's ride shortly after midnight at Cowra in central-western NSW and had ridden up Victoria Pass (“10km of hell”) and over the Blue Mountains before tackling Sydney's traffic to reach his goal.

His optimistic prediction at lunchtime in Lithgow of reaching Bondi Beach by 5pm blew out by several hours due to detours around roadworks in the Blue Mountains and the difficulty of navigating in the dark through suburbia and Thursday night peak traffic.

Asked how his legs were feeling after a day like that, he said: “It's amazing. They just keep going 'round and 'round!” before getting back on his machine and pedalling a final couple of hundred metres beside the beach to his hotel, a shower and a soft bed.

He reported no mechanical problems and, amazingly, not even one puncture for the entire trip. His Polish-built Velokraft recumbent (similar to the one pictured here) features a carbon fibre frame, ultra low gears for climbing, a streamlined compartment behind the seat and is festooned with powerful LED lights and reflective tape for enhanced night-time road presence.

Peter is no stranger to endurance cycling, being a long-time Audax randonneur and a veteran of the 2007 Paris-Brest-Paris ride. He completed that 1200km course on a (different) recumbent in atrocious weather conditions which defeated about a third of the other 3,000 starters.

He described his trans-continental achievement as like riding more than a dozen 300km randonnees back-to-back.

Pete's next goal is to ride the 300km back to the ACT, which he says he will knock over in two “short” days, planning to arrive on Saturday.

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Comment by Farnsy on August 7, 2009 at 4:02pm
Sound like he had a very good run, unlike Poor Ol' Dave Byrne, currently on his 3rd Round Australia solo trip.
'Carn Dave! This time for sure!
Comment by Josh on August 7, 2009 at 4:35pm
I've looked at the picture of that bike. Ummm... I think he deserves extra marks.

For all I know, it could be beautiful to ride. Peter clearly knows how to make it "go".

But it looks like it belongs in a museum of historical artifacts. Perhaps in a room containing items used for S&M in19th Century Paris.
Comment by Neil Alexander on August 7, 2009 at 6:43pm
Once upon a time, I would have thought the same but to be able to step off this bike after that ride looking as casual as Pete did suggests that he had an armchair ride. Here he is crossing the "finishing line":

And here is what the machine looks like without him on it while he takes a call (from Kevin Rudd, I think?!?)

Comment by Trevor on August 8, 2009 at 10:38am
.....and yet these fantastic machines are niegh -on impossible to find in Sydney. Unicycles, on the other hand. can be found in just about every bike shop.
Comment by Terry on August 8, 2009 at 7:03pm
I'd like to see someone ride a Uni from Freemantle to sydney in under 12 days:)
Comment by Neil Alexander on August 8, 2009 at 8:44pm
I reckon that's doable. Freemantle is near Bathurst.

Now riding a Uni from Fremantle (WA) is a different matter.

Sorry, pedantic... but true!


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