After working hard in his construction business for over 25 years, Harry is now 50 years old, a self-funded retiree; ‘My job is to ride my bikes’. And he has a cycling goal in mind. While he’s not ready for this year he is planning to take on the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge – a 5 day race covering 100kms per day over sand dunes and across the desert. ‘You can only pedal about half way up some of the dunes. Most people get off and walk up but you can ride down the other side. The tyres are made of a silica so they are grippy but you have to take the tyre pressure down to about 10pds but then increase it to 19pds on the tarmac.’
With his carbon fat bike, Harry gets up to 42kms per hour; ‘it flies.’ He rides a few different bikes suited to both on and off-road riding. And in the fat bikes he has an alloy and a carbon. ‘Just going flat at even 100kms per hour is boring. At least on these you’ve got the jumps, the mud slides and the people are really friendly.’
In Melbourne, Harry will head down to 90 mile beach or St Kilda beach and ride on the edge of the water in the sand. Or alternatively, he’ll just ride around the city and see what’s happening.
He’s not concerned about riding near or in the salt water either, ‘I just wash it all off at the end of the day, lubricate it and it is fine. Carbon doesn’t get affected by salt anyway. It’s only the metal bits you have to worry about.’
On the horizon? As well as the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge, Harry would like to ride in Israel and the Middle East for its mountainous terrain. ‘I have a lot of friends who are Israeli and I look at their pictures and it looks amazing. They are into mountain bikes and it just looks like it would be great to ride in the Middle East.’
The Simpson Desert Bike Challenge runs 29th September – 3rd October 2015 with entries now open.
‘Each September, competitors, support crew and officials gather at Purni Bore, South Australia, on the western edge of the Simpson Desert for the Annual Bike Challenge.
At 6am from Purni Bore, riders surge off into the heart of the Simpson Desert. By the end of stage 1, they know they will need to dig deep to achieve the goals they have set themselves. When riders arrive at Birdsville they now have experienced something of major importance in their lives. A huge achievement, great camaraderie and a new found appreciations of this amazing environment.
This is a 5 day event covering approx. 590km. Each race day has two stages – 80km morning / 50km afternoon approx..
The final stage on day 5 ends outside a classic Aussie icon – the Birdsville Hotel in the tiny outback town of Birdsville in Queensland.
The course traverses some 700 sand dunes, salt lakes, vast cattle stations and gibber plains. Riders and crew will experience all the diversity of this rugged and beautiful desert.’
You can learn more at http://desertchallenge.org/ and follow along on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SimpsonDesertBikeChallenge