Update: On April 4, Tom Forbes was on track to reach Adelaide by Easter Monday where he will rest for a few days before tackling the Nullarbor Plain.
“Whenever I'm in my car and I see anyone pedalling along with their life packed on a bike I immediately ask myself, ‘Who are they, where are they going, and what’s happened to them?’” says Tom Forbes.
Now Mr Forbes is that person on a pushie.
A 19-year veteran news journalist with the ABC, Forbes has covered some big stories. Elections. Floods. Bushfires. Most recently, the pandemic.
But when it comes to covering big things, the width of Australia on a bicycle is certainly up there.
Today, March 21, Mr Forbes (Class of 1997) will set off on a quest to cross Australia solo on his bike.
It will take him six to eight weeks to cover the 4500km route. The first leg takes him from the Gold Coast over the Great Dividing Range and into Warwick. From there he'll track southwest through New South Wales, into northern Victoria, and on to Adelaide. After catching his breath in the South Australian capital, he’ll tackle the mighty Nullabor Plain before crossing Western Australia to finish in Perth.
“The Nullabor is daunting in prospect,” he says.
“It’s up to 180km between stops so I'm going to have to carry all my own water, food, and mechanical equipment. Everything I need to be self-sufficient.
"But truth be told, a lot of people do it. There’s plenty of 70-year-olds who do it. It’s not impossible. Some people think it’s a bit bizarre or crazy, but to me it’s just super-exciting.”
So what does he hope to gain personally from such a grand adventure?
“Clarity about who I am,” he says. “I have a great life. I live in a great house and have wonderful marriage and an amazing job. But it’s too cushy! I want to shake things up a bit and challenge myself.”
Forbes also wants to use his trip to help raise money for Redkite, an organisation that has been supporting a young family member through a difficult time.
“My brother and sister-in-law's three-year-old son Sam is battling leukaemia.
"Ash and Candy say Redkite has been incredibly helpful to them as their family navigates the challenges that come with childhood cancer.
"Hopefully, I can draw a little attention to the invaluable work Redkite does. Any support you could show them would be appreciated.”
You can donate here.