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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Around Oz


Well another couple of bike books arrived in our house last week and one of them (bought through ebay from a seller in Tasmania) is "Two Wheels to Adventure" by Shirley Duncan. Although it was published in 1957, the book describes a 3-year long bike journey that took place immediately after World War 2. The book is interesting and simply written and makes me ache for the simplicity of life on the open road. Shirley travelled with her friend, Wendy and they acquired a dog en route. They were not averse to the occasional lift in a truck and also walked up hills and travelled by boat, plane, train, jallopy (old car) and camel during their trip. They worked as housemaids, fruit packers, sandwich makers, mannequins and stayed in CWA, school and church halls and in tents. Their trip left a few ripples and a bit of searching on the internet will find further information about the trip. It's amazing how rich the internet material Various sites related to the trip include:
Wendy's book about the trip is called "With Bags and Swags"
It can be obtained through
A 2008 reunion of Wendy and Shirley
A contemporary Article from the Canberra times
The legendary u-tube video
A 1980 Article
Anyway, it happens that as I write, Mister Peter Heal from Canberra is taking off on an entirely different trip round Australia. He is riding alone and unsupported and hopes to break the record (about 50 days) for the fastest unsupported Round Australia trip. There are vast differences between Wendy and Shirley's ride and Pete's. There have been tremendous advances in bikes, roads and communications in 60 years. Some of Pete's equipment would be unimaginable to the average cyclist of 1946.
But both rides share a great spirit of freedom and endeavour and I urge anyone who can to go bike touring for as long as you can. Any way you like, it's all good.
You can follow Pete's progress at the yahoo group
There are links from that site to the technical wizardry and statisticians dream of I'm not sure if Pete will stop long enough (4 hours) to acquire the little tent symbols but we shall find out.
Bon Voyage Pete! And thanks for the memories Wendy and Shirley!
Steve Nurse
Stop Press (30/5/10): Have just received Wendy Suart's book about the trip and will write more on this later. SN
Pete Heal is rapidly approaching Perth and from there its only 10 days or so home! Go Pete.

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