Q and A with Gerald, Ride Around Australia
Gerald’s first two records were earned in May 2015 when he rode Highway One on his Honda CBR125 road bike. In May 2017 he entered TABOR again when he travelled across eight Australian deserts on the same bike.
This year’s ride will see Gerald hit the nation’s peak of Mt Kosciusko, the most southern point of Tasmania’s South Cape, the lows of Lake Eyre in South Australia and the most northern point of Cape York in Queensland. It won’t be an easy ride with 12,500kms to cover across five states and weather extremes but Gerald is prepared.
Before he heads off we asked him a few questions about the big ride and how he prepares for such a feat.
the idea for the Top to Bottom Ride come about?
Well, after Tony (support driver) and I did the first two rides, we had just about covered the country except for Cape York and Tasmania. With a bit of imagination we came up with a ride to include the highest, lowest, most northern and southern points.
What sort of weather
conditions are you expecting?
From previous experience May seems to be a happy month for weather in Australia. We are going south first before it gets too cold and the snowy weather starts; Kosciusko shouldn’t be snow covered at the start of May and by the time we get up north the wet season should be over. North will be very hot and we will have to contend with river crossings.
you looking forward to most?
I’m looking forward to riding to the most southern point and I’ve never been north to the Cape before so that will be a good experience. I’m really looking forward to climbing Mt Kosciusko.
be the biggest challenge?
To be honest, it will be riding the motorcycle over thousands of kilometres over rough and unpredictable roads in extreme weather conditions. The Desert Ride (2017) was a lot harder than the first ride. It proved to be very trying physically and mentally but it taught me about commitment and pressing on to achieve a goal. This ride won’t be easy but I’m prepared.
you pack for such a long trip on a small bike?
Lightly. On the bike I carry my wet weather gear, spare fuel, some emergency tools, a two-way radio, GPS gear and drinking water. Tony has my clothes, camping gear, service tools and spare parts in the 4WD (support vehicle).
the essentials to pack?
The real essentials are:
FUEL - enough to cover 1,000km if needed,
WATER - three days for each person at minimum,
COMMUNICATION - satellite phone, two-way radio and mobile with spare batteries,
FOOD - plenty of canned food of all descriptions which is good because it doesn’t go off and is sealed from dust, water and ants,
FIRST AID KIT – luckily I’ve only had minor ailments on past rides,
SPARES - the basic stuff like tyres, fan belts, oil, duct tape etc. We take more than we actually need, better to be safe than sorry!
you continue to support Mai-Wel through Ride Around Australia?
Mai-Wel have been an absolute god-send to Kerri (my wife) and myself. For the organisation to provide my son, Stephen, with meaningful employment and support for the past 15 years has been a blessing to us. It has taken a lot of pressure off us knowing he has a regular life within the realms of his ability. Also, Mai-Wel have outings so he can extend his social life outside of work and family. Ride Around Australia is my way of saying thank you.
thought about future rides to conquer after this one?
I haven’t given it a great deal of thought at this stage but ideas will come during the next ride while we’re sitting around a camp fire eating spam sandwiches and drinking billy tea. You’ve got to remember, I’m 60 years old and the thought of sitting on a lounge watching TV is starting to look appealing.