Francis E. BiHles,_ who has been, breaking long overland cycle''records,''is-at-present -in Auckland.- Birtles, -who is only- £5 years of age, was born at Melbourne,' and' had : been twice round- thY worid at the, age.of 17.,. and during hisperegrination's; has*;peeped 'into' remote ; corners unknown,-to the average tripper. He also served'in the South African war, proceeding'to with oniB r o/ the; Victorian regiments. ' i-tVi'i
Birtles crossed "the 'Great-ICaroo Desert (South Africa) on his bicycle, being,, he believes, the first white to undertake! this--journey; l i4fter that he crossed the Australian desert, from, Fremantle to Sydney, and subsequently made several j -long-distance '• rides on the • other : side,; putting up records in many instances. Ini New Zealand he has-also accounted-for , a number of record rides. He rode from Wellington to Napier, a distance of 220 miles, in ]4h. 50m. The previous record for the journey was 18h., put,up by Shorlands. He also made a record ride from Wellington to Palmerston. North: and back to Wellington, covering the distance in 15h. 45m.~ The 103 miles! between Wellington nn " Palperston occupied.CJahours,'; which is a-quarter of an hour better than Henderson's previous, best, of 64 hours. He journeyed from New Plymouth to Wellington, 256 miles, in 17 hours, and during part of the journey reeled off seven miles in 14 minutes and another stage traversed- 80 miles in 3J hours.
Birtles has now decided to cycle from Auckland to Wellington, via Taupo, and he will endeavour to cover the distance in a time that will take some beating. It is also \is intention to : cycle from the North Cape to the Bluff, and after that he-will proceed to England to make an attempt at breaking the record cycle ride from Land's End (England) to John o' Groats (Scotland).
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