Cycling in Sydney Australia
“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.