Three Wheels Around Oz

Strangers give Conrad pedal power
Conrad Evans, with his Shenton Park hosts Bob and Margaret Hadlow, will continue his epic tricycle trip on Monday, November 4.

The generosity of strangers has been crucial to the success so far of Conrad Evans's epic tricycle trip around Australia.

Conrad, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is resting at the Shenton Park home of his new friends, Bob and Margaret Hadlow.

He set out on his tricycle in March, covering 10,000km from Sydney, via Queensland and the Northern Territory, in a bid to raise $40,000 for British medical group Action Research.

The group researches cerebral palsy, which has severely limited movement in Conrad's right hand, and epilepsy, which Conrad also has.

He rides his beloved 1956 Higgins tricycle, with trailer, because it is so stable and he steers with his left hand.

His travel diary shows a punishing schedule and five days in Bowen Hospital, Queensland, where he was treated for severe blisters on his feet.

But it also records many happy encounters with fellow travellers and thousands of donations from strangers, including a truck driver who stopped on the Pacific Highway to give him $20.

"The kindness of strangers is wonderful," he wrote in his diary from Brisbane in April.

"I met John and Joy Parmley, who fed me and gave me a bed for the night - much better than last night when I pitched my tent directly under the flight path of Brisbane Airport!"

Conrad said he would cycle a further 5000km, including the Nullarbor Plain, before arriving in Sydney in February.

His Shenton Park hosts, Bob and Margaret, heard about Conrad through a mutual friend and offered to put him up at their place because they liked the sound of his fund-raising effort.

"We thought he was doing a great thing," Bob said.

It is not the first time that Conrad has cycled long distance - in 1999 he raised $11,000 for the epilepsy charity Scope when he cycled from San Francisco to Santa Fe.

But he said his Australian adventure had been the most scenic, and the most challenging.

"I'm the fittest I've ever been," he said.