Australia’s Wild Riders: the original bikepackers

Okay, it has been a while since my last post. Too long. But I’ve been busy writing my next book: Wild Ride. I’m just going through the layouts and will be doing a final proof read very soon. It’s due for release in late July, just after Le Tour de France.

Naturally enough it’s about cycling, but it’s a very different book to Oppy. On one level this is a series of ripping yarns about the most audacious cycle rides ever undertaken in Australia. (You’ll notice I didn’t say bicycle. That’s because I also write about a fellow who spent a year riding a unicycle on a 15,000 km journey around Australia. Yes, a unicycle. Guess who?)

But on another level, it’s about much more than this. It’s about the discovery of Australia, the land, its first people. It is about how people were changed forever by riding and eventually feel in love with the country. That said, it pulls no punches about the racism of our early cycling heroes.

This books starts with some of the legends, Francis Britles and Arthur Richardson. But it also covers the lesser known but no less amazing feats of Jerome Murif, Ted Ryko, and Joe Pearson. I’ve also written about the newest phenomenon of bike packing, which is not really new at all. But the bike is making a resurgence at the best tool for exploring and adventuring. There is no better example that the extraordinary Kate Leeming. You’ll get to read all about her 25,000km mountain bike epic that she completed in 2005.

Francis Birtles, original bike packer, 1912. State Library of Western Australia.

There’s a chapter about a couple of intrepid modern-day bikepackers you’ve probably never heard of. Yet, once you read their story, you won’t forget them in a hurry.

Who else? Oppy, of course! And other celebrity riders of yesteryear like Sarah Maddock, Ernie Old, Wendy Duncan and Shirley Law.

Can’t wait for you to read it !

Wild Ride: Epic Cycling Journeys Through the Heart of Australia is published by Melbourne Books. Due for release July 2020.

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