RIDING THROUGH OUTBACK: Helmut Gebels stopped in Cloncurry on his way to Birdsville last week. Photo: Samantha Walton.

HE MAY be from Manly NSW, but Helmut Gebels has a passion for riding through outback Queensland.

Helmut started his journey in Karumba, north Queensland and is cycling through the outback to Birdsville, south Queensland. Helmut stopped in Cloncurry on Anzac Day to relax and refresh after his long journey and have a chat to the locals.

He explained his ride from when he left Normanton on Saturday April 23.

“I left Normanton for the Burke and Wills Roadhouse and I had six, 1.5 litres of bottled water and I thought that would be enough – but the wind was against me the whole way,” Helmut said.

“I left in the evening and by two o’clock I had done 100-kilometres, which is not very good it was very slow. I came upon a rest area and I slept on the stone table and there were dingoes hollering either side of the road, I didn’t get much sleep.

“On Sunday, I head off and the wind were still bad and I was running out of water, and with about 60-kilometres to go and one bottle of water I was doing less than 10 kilometres an hour.”

A good samaritan gave Helmut a lift and suggested he went on to Cloncurry instead, and arrived a day earlier than he should have.

“This is not the first time I have stopped in Cloncurry – I really enjoy the town and everyone is very friendly,” he said.

On this particular ride Helmut hopes to catch up with an organiser of one of the previous rides he completed from gulf to gulf. The previous organiser left the same day as Helmut and hoped to catch up in Birdsville.

Helmut left Cloncurry at midnight Tuesday to continue his journey to Duchess where he would stay his next night, before continuing his way down to Birdsville. 

Most of the rides I have done are solo. It is a way of seeing the country and getting away from the big smoke and working on my fitness and mental health.- Helmut Gebels

Helmut has been riding since he retired 10 years ago and said he prefers the long distances.

“I have previously ridden from Perth to Sydney twice, Darwin to Adelaide and Alice Springs to Coober Pedy.

“Most of the rides I have done are solo. It is a way of seeing the country and getting away from the big smoke and working on my fitness and mental health.

“Bike riders are very exposed to the heat, wind and traffic. There is continuous feedback and examination of the bike and external environment and as soon as I notice like a change of sound, I know something is wrong.

“I tend to get a tune stuck in my head that matches the rhythm of my peddling and I cannot get rid of it- sometimes drives me insane.”

Helmut said he use to donate money to the local animal welfare society.

“I previously donated 10 cents a kilometre, for some of my rides. But I don’t ask people to donate because so many people doing that.”

I just appreciate people who donate water or stop to have a chat while on my ride.