A CYCLE RIDE ACROSS AUSTRALIA.
It is now some years since any long distance transcontinental cycle rides were attempted in Australia
In the nineties some very fine cycle rides were accomplished across and around the Australian continent, the names of Jerome, J. Murif, Arthur Richardson, Donald McKay, Mather, and Coleman, the White Bros., and A. McDonald being amongst, the band of wheelmen who established wonderful rides that focussed public attention on their plucky efforts, and at the same time demonstrated what a remarkably sure, safe, and trust r worthy means of locomotion is afforded by the Dunlup-tyred safety bicycle. One of the last, and most meritorious of the series of transcontinental rides from a cycling standpoint, was undoubtedly that of Albert MacDonald, of Orroroo, a telegraph operator on the Northern Territory section of overland cable lino, who in 1898 rode from Port Darwin to Adelaide, from sea to sea, a distance of 2,066 miles in the astounding time of 26 days, 15 hours, 30 minutes. -<?> -s>■ -4* Word is now to hand that after a lapse of nearly ten years another long distance cycle ride across Australia is to be attempted. The adventurous cyclist is a Victorian, about 25 years of age, named Francis Birtles, who has cycled considerable distances in South Africa and Wcstralia. Birtles, who has resided for some time in the West, left Freeman tie on Wednesday, December 26, with the object of cycling across Central Australia, via Kalgoorlie, Menzies, Laver ton, and Alice Springs The journey undertaken is not only a heartbreaking one to tackle, but at this time of the year is a distinctly dangerous one, owing to the difficulty of obtaining watßr supplies.
The overlandcr’s intention is to try and average about 60 miles a day, and to travel as much as possible at dusk ami in the early hours of the day, and thus avoid the heat of midday travelling. The full distance of the proposed ride is estimated to be close on 3000 miles, a journey that 13 i riles expects to cover in three months. The machine selected by Birtles for this arduous undertaking is a Davies-Franklin spring-framed roadster, made from B.S.A. parts, fitted with Dunlop Bushman’s tyres (which are practically non-punctur-able), free wheel, etc., the whole turnout weighing about 33 pounds. Birtles’ kit, including two water bags, and a large supply of concentrated foods, weighed another 40 pounds, bringing the total up to close on 80 pounds, a fair weight to push through practically the unexplored centre of Australia, which on the map is marked as the Great Victorian Desert, of which little is known. At the request of the W.A. Survey Department Birtles has taken several maps and charts with him, and will fill in all information and particulars of interest. The overlander’s plucky attempt to penetrate unknown central Australia will be watched with intererest by thousands of cyclists throughout Australasia.
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Cycling Notes., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 48, 26 January 1907
Cycling Notes. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 48, 26 January 1907
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