‘Sherlock’ Is Bicycling Across Australia
13 October 2004
Associated Press Newswires
© 2004. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
PERTH, Australia (AP) - A former British soccer player raising money for a leukemia charity set off Wednesday on a coast-to-coast ride across Australia on a Victorian-era bicycle that is older than the country.
Leukemia survivor Lloyd Scott dressed up as fictional British supersleuth Sherlock Holmes, complete with tweed coat, deerstalker hat and a fake mustache for the 2,700-mile trip from Perth to Sydney.
He donned the costume to blend in with his 1885 “penny-farthing” bicycle with a giant front wheel and tiny back wheel, as he crosses a desert region known as the Nullarbor Plain where daytime temperatures are likely to soar to 104 defrees Fahrenheit.
He said he hoped to wear the costume throughout his ride, but told Perth radio station 6PR, “I must confess if there’s a couple of days across the Nullarbor when its perhaps a little bit warm and nobody’s looking, I might take the jacket off.”
Scott, a former firefighter and professional soccer player from Essex, southeast England, is no stranger to covering long distances in wildly inappropriate apparel – in 2002 he completed the New York marathon in a vintage diving suit – complete with boots and helmet – that weighed in at a hulking 130 pounds. He took five days to finish.
The father of three, who survived leukemia, is making what he hopes will be a six-week trek through mountain ranges and desert plains in a bid to raise 1.5 million pounds (US$2.7 million) for the charity Children With Leukemia.
“Everyone I’ve sort of met over here has warned me of what to look out for – road trains, cattle grids, kangaroos, emus, bulls, camels – and I’ve got a list now that’s nearly as long my arm,” Scott told 6PR. Road trains are the giant trucks that thunder along Australia’s Outback highways.
Scott said he had already wrecked one penny-farthing while learning how to operate the original 1885 version he is using for his odyssey across Australia – a country that only formally came into existence in 1901.
He is riding with a support crew including his father, brother and a physiotherapist, who plan to bunk down in mobile homes each night.
British adventurer aims to wheel across desert: For leukemia research: Plans to wear heavy tweed jacket on 4,350-km trip
14 October 2004
All but Ottawa @ Toronto
© 2004 National Post . All Rights Reserved.
PERTH, Australia - Lloyd Scott has walked the length of Loch Ness underwater and plodded the London Marathon in an antique diving suit, but he admitted he will have to cheat to accomplish his latest feat – riding an antique bicycle across Australia’s desert outback in a heavy tweed suit.
Dressed like Sherlock Holmes in a Norfolk jacket with knickerbockers, deerstalker hat and a large fake moustache, the Englishman set off from Perth in Western Australia yesterday bound for Sydney 4,350 kilometres to the east.
His route lies across some of the world’s harshest deserts, including the dreaded Nullarbor Plain, where little more than native animals and small shrubs can survive in temperatures that regularly top 40C.
“It’s a long way,” Mr. Scott admitted shortly before pedalling off on his bone-rattling Victorian-era penny farthing bike. The machine, which has a giant front-wheel and a tiny back wheel, was bought in the United States for about $6,700.
“Will it be tougher than the Loch Ness walk? Well, there is not a great deal of suspension on the bike,” he said.
“There’s only two springs under the saddle so I’ve cheated and put a lambswool cover over it,” added the cyclist, who was celebrating his 43rd birthday.
And although he donned appropriate period costume for the start of the ride, Mr. Scott confessed he may loosen the tie and slip off the jacket as temperatures in the desert begin to climb.
“I’m hoping to [wear the costume the whole time], although I must confess if there’s a couple of days across the Nullarbor when it’s perhaps a little bit warm and nobody’s looking, I might take the jacket off,” he said.
The former soccer player overcame leukemia after a bone marrow transplant in the 1980s. He has since defied convention with a series of feats to raise money for leukemia research and to increase awareness of the disease.
He claimed the record for the slowest London Marathon when in 2002 he took more than five days to cover the 42-km course while wearing an 80-kilogram deep-sea diving suit.
His underwater stroll along 42 kilometres of Loch Ness last year took him 12 days.
He anticipates the bike ride will take about six weeks to complete, a feat he hopes will raise $3.4-million for the charity Children With Leukaemia.
“I’ve done things on six of the seven continents but I decided to save the best to last,” he said.
Mr. Scott, a former firefighter and father of three from Rainham, east of London, will be followed by a mobile home and his support team, who include his father, brother and a physiotherapist. He plans to cycle for about eight hours a day.
“Everyone I’ve sort of met over here has warned me of what to look out for – road trains, cattle grids, kangaroos, emus, bulls, camels – and I’ve got a list now that’s nearly as long my arm,” Mr. Scott said.
“I’m just concerned I am going to spend so much time looking out for these things that I won’t actually concentrate on what I’m doing.”
Black & White Photo: Tony Ashby, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images / Briton Lloyd Scott leaves Perth, Australia, for Sydney on a penny-farthing bicycle yesterday. Scott has tried zany feats before, including walking the length of Loch Ness underwater.; Graphic/Diagram: National Post / NULLARBOR: (See print copy for complete graphic/diagram.)