78-year-old cyclist’s 1,500km adventure across Australian outback to help people affected by leprosy

Retired biomedical scientist and seasoned traveller Mike Patmore, 78, is training for an ambitious solo bike ride from Alice Springs to Darwin – 1,500 km across Australia’s Northern territory.

Carrying his tent, sleeping bag, a six-litre water supply, some high protein food and sachets of energy salts, Mike, who lives in Streatham, South London, will embark on the challenge at the end of the Australian winter in August to make the most of the cooler weather. His son lives in Perth, Australia, and he will stay in daily contact with him throughout the ride.

Mike is no stranger to adventure having recently cycled the Nullarbor Plain of Australia as well as climbing some of the iconic Tour de France mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees plus Mont Ventoux in Provence.

 “I can’t run the four-minute mile anymore but I’ll be cycling 50km a day for a month which is well within my capabilities,” said Mike.

“I get a little stir crazy at home in London and as I’ve never been to central or Northern Australian before I wanted to do another longish ride while I still have it in my legs.

“The route is due north along the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs passing through Tennants Creek after 500km and then Katherine another 800km further and then Darwin. In between these towns are roadhouses every 100 to 200km with more rest places and water points in between.

“So there will be plenty of opportunity to stop and recharge but on occasion I will wild camp in the bush. To wake up alone in the vast outback and be greeted by a flaming red sunrise is something worth experiencing I think.”

The desperate needs of people affected by leprosy first came to Mike’s notice during his time working for Medicins Sans Frontieres in Myanmar (formerly Burma) 10 years ago. 

He said: “People affected by leprosy are in a desperately poor state. Aside from the physical symptoms, stigma surrounding leprosy means they are often ostracised from their community when what they really need is support. The Leprosy Mission works in Myanmar and my cycle ride is raising money to support their amazing and life-changing work.”

If you would like to support Mike’s outback cycle challenge please visit his fundraising page.

 

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