Swiss woman on bicycle

Swiss woman crossing Australia by bike at the oasis Caravan park Oasis in Coober Pedy

Myrtha Kaufmann

Now here we are speechless, breath knocked out of us with admiration because breath is what it takes to cross Australia on a bicycle.  But more than breath one needs a character of steel to embark on such an adventure… at the age of 75… and alone. Many young people have attempted this challenge and many have failed.
Central Australia seems flat but on a bike and in one’s calves one cruelly feels that the so-called flatness of the landscape is nothing but a series of long slopes and long gentle descents.  Don’t think that the gentle slopes are pleasant, however.  One sometimes has to pedal when the wind is head on and forces one to turn back.
Morale needs to be strong when coming out of a curve and starting the next straight line, really straight ahead as far as the horizon and which will probably be even more in a straight line as far as the next horizon…  Very quickly - and this is the only quick thing on this long journey - one is assailed by the impression of pedalling on the spot.
And the heat, the scorching sun which almost melts one’s shadow on the asphalt.  It is impossible to cycle between noon and three pm.  One needs to find a shady area - and they are rare.
She does her cycling in stages of between thirty and sixty kilometres per day, pulling a small trailer with a large quantity of water, food and all her camping equipment.  She pitches her tent in a little hidden corner, about a hundred metres from the highway.  She spends the night there in the silence of the bush, the quiet disturbed only by the rustle of the wind in the twigs or the presence of a curious kangaroo, or more reassuringly the rumble of a road train swearing as the clutch is engaged to face the rising road in the distance.

George and the personnel at Oasis Tourist Park did their utmost to make her stay enjoyable , also solving a problem she had with her bicycle.