Oamaru man to cycle from Perth to Sydney

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An elderly man who has had a quadruple bypass leaves for Western Australia next week and intends to cycle from Perth to Sydney, and on to Brisbane if possible.

Norman Shieffelbien, 72, who had his heart operation two years ago, said he didn’t know how long the trip would take him, but he had to be back in Oamaru in six months.

Mr Shieffelbien will spend a week in Perth and then head down the coast, which he will basically follow for the duration of the journey, only taking a more direct route once he gets into South Australia and New South Wales.

While he doesn’t know exactly how many kilometres he will cover in the months ahead, he comfortably travels 100km per day at 17-18km per hour.

“I’m in no rush,” Mr Shieffelbien said.

“If I feel like stopping for longer anywhere, I can.

“I don’t travel in heavy rain or strong winds.”

He said temperatures would be about 20 degrees during the day and get down to 3-4 degrees at night, which was comfortable, and his reason for choosing to take the trip at this time.

Accommodation would be hard to come by in more remote areas, so tenting would be the only option at times. With some camping grounds charging $40 per night, even if he had the choice of a shower and kitchen, he’d probably still camp on the roadside, he said.

“Its marvellous – I like being out in the country and living in a tent doesn’t worry me.

“I don’t do any cooking, I make sure I’ve got plenty of fruit and buns, bread and butter, jam and only drink water.”

Mr Shieffelbien will carry 8-10 litres of water on his second-hand Avanti mountain bike in old wine bladders, which are not rigid and pack well.

No stranger to long-distance cycling, Mr Shieffelbien said he loved stopping and talking to people and was feeling as fit as he ever had.

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY

EASY-GOING: Oamaru resident, Norman Shieffelbien, is looking forward to starting his Australian cycle trip next week.