October 29, 2008

Day 10

The final leg seemed really easy compared to the rest of the trip. Although it was justifiably the hilliest day i seemed to take on the hills as if they were flat. Maybe it was because my mates joined in , or because i just wanted to get it finished. I could smell the finish line , and it smelt fantastic. The strangest part about the final leg was the amount of pain i was in. I was practically pain free with only mild Achilles pain. ( i wish i could say i felt that way now ).
With only several kms left as we rolled in close to Orange i had a strange feeling. My body felt numb and i had totally believed that the day was going to end just like every other day. It seemed like we were just going to finish and pack the bike up and that was going to be it. There seemed to be no closure.
Well that all changed as Craig and myself followed by Brad , Brendan and Steve turned the final corner and St Mary's Public School in Orange came into sight. It seemed as if there was a cast of thousands . There were children , parents and teachers lined down both sides of the entry screaming loudly. The noise was unbelievable . Everything appeared to be happening in slow motion. And there it was . The kids were holding a red ribbon stretched from one side to the other. As i rolled through and broke the ribbon amongst the deafening screams and the smiling faces i knew at that moment that we had made it and the closure i was seeking was absolutely how i had dreamed it would be. I came to a stop and jumped down from the bike feeling like my legs were not going to hold me up. I took a look around me discovering that the school children whilst still screaming and clapping , had put in a major effort . There were streamers and pom poms , and massive signs saying welcome Michael Cowan and every where i looked i found something they had made. I stood there for what seemed an eternity just taking it in .
Finally the roaring ceased and i was introduced to the school by there lovely principal and welcomed by the school captains and a councilor from Orange. The children from each class had made me a gift and presented them to me one by one as i shook there hands.
Then it was my turn to speak . As i called my great mate Craig over to stand with me and share the triumphant moment it happened....... The emotions just poured out..... Craig and held each other up and cried our eyes out . I was so proud of Craig and myself and of the fantastic machine i had hand built , i was proud of my crew and my mates for joining in and the emotions i felt were over whelming. I struggled to talk as the tears kept rolling. I looked across the crowd and saw my beautiful wife Amanda crying , along with the rest of the crew. We had all had an enormous week .
Craig and i talked to the crowed about the highs and Lows , about mate ship , over coming adversity , believing in yourself , following your dreams and i believe we sent a very strong and positive message to the children . I only wish my Parents and my three girls could have been there to share those moments.
I don't know were my life will go from here , but i do believe it will be different. You could not go through that much pain and dig as deep for as long and commit yourself so passionately for there not to be a positive change somewhere. I believe i will take many positive moments from the trip and utilise them for good somewhere.
I spoke to my great friend Rosie from the Asthma foundation before i left. I spoke about two different occasions where two different people who have insight told me the trip was going to be successful and somewhere along the journey i was going to meet a special man who is going to change my life. You were right Rosie...... That man is me........It took me a little while to figure that out . Its amazing how much thinking you can do eight feet up in the air , pushing your heart, out struggling with pain and exhaustion. But at some of the lowest moments my mind was actually as clear as a bell and my thoughts were precise and accurate.
Rosie called me on the phone about an hour after the finish yesterday. Not much was said. We didn't need to speak. We just cried to each other on the phone.
Rosie is one of those special people you meet who you know will always be there for you . My wife and i think she is fantastic, my kids love her and the Asthma Foundation of NSW should be extremely proud to have such a person on there team.
I could write for hours but i need to head home and see my other team mates ( my girls ).
A massive thank you to St Mary's public school in Orange for all of there fantastic support at the end ,from myself and my crew and the Asthma Foundation of NSW .

I will keep posting as there are some great photos and stories to tell.

Goodbye for today Michael Cowan

October 28, 2008

We made it and it was all worth it.

I cannot begin to tell you how good we all feel .The day was good to us all and there is simply to much to tell you all today.

We are safe

We have finished

The school in Orange was amazing

And we are going out for dinner. I will tell the happy ending in the morning.

Cheers Michael and the crew.

Last day and i am pumped

I am sitting here freezing with my feet once again in a bucket of ice water. Mal is fussing over me and complaining at the same time because i keep pulling my feet out. Sarah is making egg and bacon rolls and they smell delicious.

Not long to go now. we will meet the boys at Mount Panorama in half an hour where we will do a hot lap of the track. We have a school to attend at 9.00 am and then we hit the road for the final leg of the journey. We roll into orange at about 2.00pm and have the grand finale at a public school. I hope the kids are pumped and scream like crazy. Its going to be such a relief to get off the bike for the last time. The sores on my butt have now turned hard but they still sting like crazy. My achillies tendons burn like ash Wednesday and my lower back feels better when i walk like an eighty eight year old man. But i do not complain much to the crew. For some reason i continue to tell them that i am fine and everything is ok.

Wish us luck and send some good vibes our way. I would like to thank each and every one who has replied on the blog , sent messages via sms and called us on the phone wishing us luck and lifting our spirits.

Thank you to all who have donated both before the ride and whilst we have been on the road. Thank you to the Johnson Property group for their major sponsorship making the whole project financially viable.

Well i have to eat my breakfast and hit the road for the last time.

Chow babies..............I will update later tonight ........

October 27, 2008

Day 8 Cowra to bathurst 116kms

Day 8 was meant to be easy but it was far from it.
I woke at 5.30am to cuddles and kisses from Amanda wishing me a happy birthday. I unwrapped my present and read a letter my wife had written the night before . I will extract some bits for you..........
To the most amazing man in my life. I am so very proud of your mammoth effort. You are so very strong as i watch you power up those huge hills and i could not imagine anyone else having the will power or strength to do it. You will make it to the end and i will be right there with a big smile on my face wiping off the tears. Your family and friends are also so proud and concerned and thank god there not here to see the pain and anguish you are going through. I want to tell you how much i love you, how amazing you are and how much you are doing for so many people. You are truly inspiring and you have a great story to tell your future grand children.
You are amazing and a little crazy and i love you 100 % . As you push hard each and every moment of your 10 plus hours a day on the penny, remember all of the sacrifices , training , preparation and fund raising you have done to make it here today. And remember one thing , it is all worth it.
Keep it up ...... You are my boulder ..... you are bigger than a rock........

Well at that point i lost it .... man ,does she know how to make a grown man cry on his birthday. I must remind her that behind every good man there is a better woman.....
I love her so much.

Well Today was my birthday and i felt pretty special. The best part of the day was going to Cowra public School. The reception was fantastic. Not only did the kids give me a cake and make a massive card and sing happy birthday , they also donated some money. There were a bunch of kids from the school circus who rode around me on unicycles . Talk about impressive. These kids were so talented . It was a beautiful school with extremely well behaved students who should be very proud of themselves. Thank you to every one from Cowra public school from making us feel welcome.

We finally got on the road and would you believe it , we were in to a 30 mile per hour head wind. Oh no ...... Not again..... i was devastated..... i hit my all time low.....! At times my speed was so low that Mal and Amanda thought i was just balancing. At one stage i came to a stop and due to the amount of fatigue i just fell off the bike and rolled on the gravel ! I thought i was on my mountain bike and just stepped off. What was i thinking ?????

Craig and i pushed on for 8 more hours. Everything was going ok until Sarah heard a major noise in her vehicle. It is now sitting at Nissan in Bathurst awaiting a prognosis. We have had to hire another car. We finally made it into Bathurst totally wrecked once again . Only 62kms to go and we are there.

After a nice shower and a thorough soaking in the tub of ice we headed out to a pasta place for dinner. It was just going to be a quiet night to celebrate my birthday when i got the biggest and best surprise i have had in a long time. Three of my best mates turned up and just walked in the door. I took two looks in disbelief and thought i was so tired i was seeing things. Steve Simmonds, Brad Sewell and Brendan Yell just walked in as if they had been with us for a week. They have also grabbed their bikes and going to ride the last day with us. It was a great feeling to have some good mates along with my crew to help celebrate my birthday. My spirits were lifted once again and i know tomorrow is going to be great.

Mal has just finished spoking the bike , Amanda has made the bed, Sarah is getting the food ready for the finish , Reg is finishing his last beer and Craig and i have just wrung out the washing.

Only 62kms to go . That does not seem like much ? But when you feel like we do and have done close to 1000kms in eight days, every extra km fells like your climbing mount Everest with one lung.

I would like to give a special thank you to Craig and Michelle Constable from Cowra Van Park. Their park is beautiful , the service was exceptional and they even made a generous donation. I would also like to thank a lovely lady called Hannah who out of the blue gave a generous donation to us as we called through Lyndorin.

Tomorrow is not just another day ....... It is the day.......goodnight until then _____

October 26, 2008

Day 7 Young to Cowra 72kms

I am sitting here in the van once again watching Craig getting a massage. And yes he is still complaining. Reg Mal and Sarah are also here having a few olives with some cheese and chatting about today's events. I feel like i have been to a 48 hour long party and all i want to do is sleep. I have an inner burning feeling that will not go away. It has been present for the past few days . I slur when i speak and i have also began to dribble when i ride. Nothing major is wrong but i am concerned about how much further i can push my body.

This morning we hit the road at 8.00 am with a massive grade three hill first up. My Achilles tendons on both feet were giving me pain like i have never felt. I had to walk up the first hill and my walking style was pathetic to say the least. Both Mal and Amanda begged me to get in the car and call the whole day off . I know my body and what it can do (at least i thought so ) and i made an executive decision to ride thought the pain and initiate a process called active recovery. I was screaming with agony grinding up several hills wondering if the pain was going cease when suddenly it did. The excruciating pain suddenly left and i was able to ride on with minimal pain. Craig and i actually rode 112kms today instead of 70. We rode the extra 42 today so we have an easier day tomorrow. One thing that did help today was Reg and Sarah fetching me two buckets and some ice. They gave my Achilles tendons an ice bath on the side of the road and man did it help.

Today Craig was a pillar of strength and impressed me substantially. You can't kill him with a stick. He plugged away hour after hour with minimal breaks.

The support car was very low on fuel which prompted them to race back to Young for a quick refill. Mal had a moment whilst filling her up. An air bubble developed and blew petrol all over him. Amanda laughed uncontrollably as Mal tied his clothes to the roof rack due to the smell of petrol.

I would like to thank the old man in the middle of nowhere who told me i was to stupid to be an idiot and the crew would like to thank Lewis & Missy Furner for directions when they were lost.

Don't forget everyone , its my birthday tomorrow so don't forget my presents!

Not only has Mal been my chief mechanic , driver , sun cream applier , and rock , he is now helping Amanda massage me. Can you believe that?

Well ! i am about to place my feet in a bucket of ice once again and settle in to bed.

We love you

Mum and i just wanted to say thank you for you kind wishes and we want you to know that we love you so, so, so, much. Jasmine , Hannah and Ruby, you are all missed tremendously by us. We love you all and can't wait to see you on Wednesday where we can squeeze and kiss you. We are sad that you cannot be here on my ( dads ) birthday. We promise to have a big party when we get back . Make sure you have got some presents for me.

Love you xxxxxxxxxxx mum and dad.

Day 7 6.00am Early start again

Hi everyone and good morning to you all. Its groundhog day yet again. There is a massive morning ritual that takes place each and every day. There is breakfast to be made and eaten , bikes to tune and cars to pack to the rafters and most importantly the water bottles have to be cleaned and refilled .We have to squeeze the gear in every time we pack the car. Mal is the man. He climbs out of bed and fusses over me all the time. He says, come on get up, there is your clothes , do you want a coffee, make sure you where sun cream , do you need a rub etc. The man just does not stop . He thinks if he stops he will seize up.
Everyone is feeling drained. Luckily Reg and Sarah get to have regular stops to organise the food and accommodation. Mal and Amanda on the other hand have been sitting in the car for approximately Eighty hours so far in the past seven days. Travelling at super low speeds. They have to remain focused at all times to call the traffic for Craig and i.
Motorolla have supplied us with state of the art radio gear. There is one for everybody so we can keep in contact at all times. Craig and myself listen to Mal and Amanda all day telling us ,keep left boys , trucks coming , careful , keep it tidy , large fast down hill ahead etc. A really funny thing happened last night on the way back from dinner. We were walking home and came to a round about and suddenly Mal shouts to every one , Keep left then when the car passed he said all clear , right to go now. like i said he never stops. He was still in radio control mode and did it naturally. When we realised what he had done and said we all had trouble standing as we were laughing so hard.
Even as i sit here typing people are walking past getting photos of the bike at this crazy hour. The media has drenched this area with the knowledge of our arrival and our intent which makes people very excited when they see the bike up close. I must have the most talked about butt in the state at the moment as every body asks me how it is feeling. Its quite embarrassing really having to tell a complete stranger how your hind is going.
Sarah just popped her head in and tells me Craig is not doing so well this morning so i will just duck next door and ask him for myself .... just one moment ........well i limped on over and asked how he is. I said Craig what is you sorest bit, he replied with a huge smile on his face my whole body is sore ! i told him as long as he can feel pain that it means he is still alive. LOL.
I better go because Sarah has breaky ready and we have a photo shoot in town at 7.30am .
Chow for now and we will update tonight.........

October 25, 2008

Day 6 Wagga to Young 140kms

Actually we rode 160kms today for just over 11 hours because we decided to call into the Junee fair to have a look and rattle the tin. That added another twenty kms to the trip.
We left Wagga at 7.00 am sharp . The weather was perfect . No wind , no clouds , and the temp was just right. Craig and i set a cracking pace for the first hour and a half going great guns. Then you would not believe what happened ? The wind came up and hit us right in the face. All of a sudden we were back to fifteen kms per hour and pushing hard , straining with with every revolution , reliving the nightmares from the previous days , head tucked down just wishing it would go away.

I came up with a description the other day of what it feels like to ride a Penny-farthing up even the slightest hill whilst i was struggling to recover from a 3km climb without getting off the bike. Imagine a sand dune that goes up hill for about 1 km and its really steep . leave your shoes on and throw 2 x bags of concrete over your shoulders. Tuck your head down and go for it at a steady pace. Carry those heavy bags all the way to the top without stopping once. No matter how much pain you are in or how tired and drained you feel , you must ignore the burning feeling and resist the temptation to stop . Imagine that. And now imagine doing that for eleven hours straight.

We were having a terrible time today fighting the elements when Mal suddenly came up with a brilliant idea. That's right Mal came up with it. Who would imagine. It was a brain storm. He drove the support vehicle in front of us instead of behind using the car and the huge sign to block the wind. There was practically no traffic so it was easy and very affective. In no time we were back to twenty kms per hour and going fine again .

We are drinking between 4 and 7 litres of water each per day. Its not that you are thirsty , its because you must drink that much. You have to continually remember to drink as you go in order to keep from dehydrating . Its important that we monitor how much and if at all we are sweating because if you stop sweating its to late to do anything about it.

After a long and painfull day craig and i dismounted from our bikes and limped into our cabins at the Young Touist park for a long awaited shower and some fresh clothes.

Enough about the complaining . Every day is full of highs and lows. And every day we laugh uncontrollably about a bunch of things. The funniest moment today involved Craig being attacked by a bird. Not because he is famous and a chick magnet . It was because he rode too close to a magpie nest. He was about 50 metres in front of us and the bird came from no where. As it swooped like mad at Craigs helmet , i was able to call the whole attack over the radio and beam it straight to Craigs ear piece. I was yelling , Duck , Here it comes again , Look out Craig , Duck , its gone , no it hasn't , Duck , its coming in hard, duck again and it went on for what seemed an eternity. The magpie was not going to quit until it knocked Craig of the bike. Mal , Amanda , and myself had a fantastic view from behind of the whole fiasco. We were able to watch him duck , swerve , and swing his arms wildly over his head whilst only just managing to keep control. Meanwhile the three of us were laughing hysterically. Mal had to stop the car , i needed to dismount and Amanda needed to get Mal a towel to wipe the tears from his face. Its moments like those that lift your spirits and lighten up your day.

Today we had many generous donations from the motorists and we even had a special visit and a donation from the Cootamundra Mayor (Paul Braybrooks ) while we were travelling through his town. Tomorrow is going to be allot easier than the last few and we are looking forward to it. Our bodies are wrecked but still going , and Craig and myself are very confident that we will make it the distance.

Mal pushed a couple of wrong buttons while i was typing and there are full stops all over the place that we cannot remove. Sorry about that. .
.. .

October 24, 2008

Day 5 Gundagai to Wagga Wagga 86kms

After our massive ride yesterday we thought that today was going to be a breeze. How wrong were we?????? The weather was perfect , the wind was only slight but our aching bodies were trying to tell us something. Talk about total fatigue. We both hit the wall at about the same time roughly 40 kms into the journey. We did not stop but is was a real struggle to meet our deadline for a media event in Wagga Wagga. We made it with only 2 minutes to spare with no real problems except for fatigue. However we did pep up on the 5km run from the event back to our accommodation feeling we may be OK for the 140km ride to young tomorrow.

A really busy day with the media. You would not believe what i did on ABC national radio on a live feed. I choked on a fly and coughed like a trojan. The poor interviewer laughed on air so much she forgot what she was talking about.


Craig has swallowed two flies

Craig has had 5 flat tyres

I have broken 21 spokes

Mal says 100 silly things per hour

The penny farthing averages 240 revolutions per km

Thats 147600 revolutions so far

We have had 24 radio interviews so far

We have had 12 TV interviews so far

We think there have been maybe a dozen news paper editorials

Also both craig and i have been attacked by a magpie.

The media has been really involved in the whole ride so far. Its amazing that thousands of cars and trucks beep there horns and yell comments in support of the ride. It really pushes craig and i along inspiring us to keep going strong. Sometimes when you are feeling very low and don't think there is any energy left , the simple sound of a car horn or a you can do it can make a world of difference.

When we finally arrived in Wagga Wagga today we urgently had to ride to the Sturt Primary School to meet a Local Councilor , the Asthma Wagga representative and the fantastic kids at the primary school.

We made a grand entrance at the rear gates of the school and rode across some grass and a basketball court to the under cover area to address the children. Unbelievable response as i came into their view. I kept looking over my shoulder thinking there was someone famous behind me but it was just craig. The cheering was deafening but made us feel fantastic. I met the councilor , the principal and addressed the kids with a talk about the bike and living with asthma. At the end of the presentation they surprised me with a bucket of money they had gathered together for donations. How cool is that?? The pic of the Wagga sign has three of us in it. The fellow in the yellow is councilor Ray Goodless from Wagga council who Represented the Mayor and rode back into the main town along side us.

I would like to send a special thanks to the RAAF in Wagga for raising funds and handing it to us along the journey . To Ron and Margaret from the Gundagai Tourist Park for supplying the softest bed on the trip to date. To Dave and Prue Downs from IGA Ashmont for their generous food donations. To Nicki Sewell for her tremendous efforts in the personal training in her Reactive-8 studio. Nicki , I am putting myself through the most horrendous and strenuous riding for hours on end ,and i could not have done a patch of it without your guidance and help. I can't believe how much inner strength and durability i have. There have been some incredibly low points along the way that i have been able to dig my way out of because of the level of fitness i posses.
Well we gave Sarah the night off due to the fact that the Asthma representatives from this area ( John and Margaret ) shouted us all out for a fantastic Chinese meal. They are both very generous people and we thank them both kindly.
Tomorrow is going to be huge. ( funny we say that every night , maybe because that's just the way it is ) 145km journey up and down some monster hills in what will prove to be another ten to twelve hour day . I am going to try not to think about it as i cry myself to sleep tonight.
As i sit here writing this thread Mal , Amanda and myself are laughing hysterically about absolutely nothing. I think we are all going mad !

Talk to you all tomorrow and sorry for yesterdays late blog . cheers

October 23, 2008

Day four Canberra to Gundagai 165kms

We started out really early. We had to get some miles under our belts because we had a whole bunch of media appointments in Canberra at 10.00am
I met up with a friend called ED who I met in Tasmania earlier this year at the Penny Farthing Nationals. He turned up with his Penny and gave Craig and myself a Guided tour of Canberra. We rode to the National museum , Technology park , Old Parliament house , New Parliament house , the glass works and all around lake Burleigh Griffin. Canberra is really well built and the roads are fantastic.
At 10.oo we met the the Senator of Health and Ageing , the honorable Jan Mclucas. I had to hand over some official paperwork from the National Asthma Summit and talk to her about the direction in which the Asthma foundation is heading. The senator is a great woman.She even took a photo of a family and the family had no idea that they had asked the senator to take the pic. We had Prime and Win interviewing us handing over the letter and we had to pose for some pics for the Canberra news paper.
We finally got into the rest of the huge 165km ride. It was huge , long , drawn out , hot , massive hills , plenty of road works , but......... Beautiful scenery . The country side is fantastic to look at at 20km per hour. One thing that was going our way finally was the wind. It was a fair temp and was finally coming from behind.
We rode today for twelve hours.... It will be much easier for me to tell you what is not sore than to fill you in on all of the finer details. My Achilles tendons are fatigued and giving me heaps of pain and Amanda thinks that the skin on my bot is about to break through . We are applying Paw Paw cream to it to help which may be losing an uphill battle.
As the sun was dropping quickly and we had another 20km to go we stopped at the Coolan pub where we received a very warm reception from the locals. We raised some much needed funds and got some great pics and even got a free six pack for later. ( thank you ).

We finally arrived at Gundagai at 730pm Just before the sun went down and settled in for some great pasta from Sarah and some good stories of the days events.

Today was very very hard. It was mind numbing and painful . I reached so many low points ,and experienced so much pain that i was beginning to wonder if I am at all Human??? Who would subject themselves to such torture?? I even had a few few tears to my self at the top of a Humongous hill thinking about how much i miss the kids and how i desperately i wanted be at home to help Hannah celebrate her eighth birthday today. But what got me through that rough section was thinking that her baby sister Ruby and her older sister Jasmine were there to make her day special , along with her grandmother and poppy.

Its really late now and i feel like i have been hit by the a380 airbus , captured by the enemy and tortured by them for critical information .

I would like to say a big hello to 1L at Bonells bay Primary and Mrs Newmans class at Morisset High. Its so comforting to know that you are all looking out for us and wishing us well.

Your wishes lift my spirits and make me feel like it is all worth it

October 22, 2008

Day Three Mittagong To Canberra 176 kms

What a massive day.

Where do we start ? We left Mittagong at 700am . Craig crashed into me at 720am riding up a huge hill. He had his head down going hard and did not see me stop in front until he hit me. Slam. He didn't hit to hard but he went down using my whole wheel as a landing patch. It was all good because we were laughing about it hysterically only one minute later. Mal was disappointed because Amanda jumped out of the car to help craig instead of filming it.

It was the coldest day on record in October in forty two years apparently.

Craig and i can defiantly support that claim. I went to have a drink out of my water bottle and it was frozen..... just kidding.... we had to ride with our mouths shut because our teeth were aching. We had every bit of cycling clothing we could find on and craig even had the newspaper shoved down his front for extra protection. If that was not bad enough we had to ride the whole way head on once again into a busting southerly ( with a massive wind chill factor ).

Mechanical failures today seemed to be in fashion ....I broke several more spokes, craig had two flat tyres and broke a gear cable and we also had a flat tyre in the support car..

With all of that happening , the seemingly endless icy cold head wind and the huge amount of kms we had to achieve , you could only imagine how big today has been. But surprisingly we are feeling ok. A little bit sore and very tired and once again I have to watch craig get his humongous calves massaged while I sit here and write this blog ( he complains like a baby as Amanda massages him with an evil smile on her face).

Sarah and Reg have been fantastic in the background running around getting things fixed, making breakfast lunch and dinner and most importantly today, going from bike shop to bike shop buying craig and myself some slip on thermal leg and arm sleeves to combat the freezing conditions. We would like to thank the Clifford Street Cyclery in Goulbourn for their fantastic support today in fixing craigs bike and looking after us on the price of the thermals.

Craig saw his first snake skin on the trip and I saw an echidna digging a hole. One really big problem we are experiencing is the amount of rank road kill that you can smell for 100 metres before you get there. It is really hard to hold your breath while riding a heavy penny farthing up a hill.

Well tomorrow is another day and its going to be bigger than this one. We are going to do a couple of hours riding in the morning around canberra followed by a 10.00am meeting at Parliament House with the senator for health and a few television crews.

Goodnight all and thanks for tuning in to our kid friendly blog .

October 21, 2008

Day Two Sydney to Mittagong 96 kms

The worst thing about me sitting here writing this blog is that i have to watch craig in the background being massaged.

Wow Today was massive. It all started at 6.00am with a big breaky care of sarah. We raced off to the city in sydney ( martin place ) to the channel seven studio for an interview with Koshy and Mel. The interview was great , Amanda got to watch the Veronica's and we managed to get some fantastic pics of the sunrise crew. Amanda thinks that the Veronica's need a couple of cheese burgers. You almost have to tie them down in the wind. Straight after the interview with sunrise we were attacked by prime sydney.

Finally we arrived at the M5 motorway to start off to Mittagong at 10.00 am . Unfortunately the RTA cameras were pointed straight at us and the authorities were alerted about our presence. We had all of the appropriate paper work and permissions but the RTA believed that they had the last say in who did what on the freeway. SSSOOOOOO the commander of the RTA had to get in his car and travel to us to give his say on the whole matter ( thats bureaucracy for you ). After an hour and a half almost we set of for Mittagong where we had to race against the clock to get there by sundown.

About halfway there we stopped off at a picnic area for some munch needed lunch. There happened to be a food and coffee van owned and operated by a great bloke called Joseph. He welcomed us with open arms and made us coffee and muffins and even did the salsa dance with sarah. It was great to have a coffee because Reggie dropped my full coffee in the bin early this morning thinking it was rubbish. lol

The day was tough once again riding against a massive head wind. I broke seven spokes today so there was a bit of down time changing them. I did have the two chief mechanics on the job ( reg and mal ). We were travelling somewhere between Sydney and Mittagong and a girl pulled up in a car. We thought she was going to donate some money but she had some news for us. 2GB sydney were telling the listeners that if the saw us on the road could they pull over and tell us that the radio station would like to talk to us and could we give them a call.

We called them and the radio host said on air that when we get into Mittagong can we call into the golf club and see the golf pro called Larry. He said to tell him he had to give us some money for our cause because he given them a plug on the radio whilst interviewing me. What a con. well we called into the club and were we had a great reception from the locals and Larry . I also met up with an old school mate Scott Consadine and had a great chat. It is a small world.

Physically we are wrecked. Tired and sore butts to boot. Tomorrow is going to be absolutely huge. 176kms to Canberra.

Every one is getting along nicely and we have even got Mal to fetch the washing and fold it. Oh Craig and Myself are now famous in Mittagong because we rode up Catherine hill. The start of it was 16 kms up and the end of it was really steep . It took us an hour to climb up it. The locals say that cheap cars have to detour around it.
Amanda and myself would like to say to Jasmine , Hannah and Ruby that we miss them and love them dearly and we cannot wait to see them next week xxxooo

October 20, 2008

Day 1 We made it

Bonnells Bay school to Sydney !

It was Hot, very windy and tonnes of traffic , but we made it in one piece . Craig and myself would like to thank Bonnells bay primary school , Greg Piper and every body who attended the school for our tremendous send off today. There was even a surprise appearance by a bike riding bear!

Mal hit a post in the car and scratched the mirror 300 metres from home then craig dropped the drink bottle off his bike in the main street of Morisset. We were off to an ordinary start but sorted our selves out by the time we hit wyee. My great friend Goldie escorted us and told us a few good jokes for the first 20 kms then wished us farewell.

You would not believe who Andrew Johns met today ? Thats right me and craig and the crew. We were lucky enough to cross paths in the entrance while he was walking for the black dog institute. It was great to meet and greet the best rugby league player in the world but the high light of the day was meeting Justin and James . That pair of crazy boys are the ones who paddled across the Tasman sea to New Zealand earlier this year in a sea kayak. They are two of the most down to earth blokes you could meet and it was a real pleasure to meet them.

Tonight we were invited to the National Asthma summit in the old rail buildings in Redfern. We were wined and dinned and then they introduced me with a drum role. When the drums rolled i rode the pennyfarthing out into the main auditorium where i did a few laps around and then spoke to Greg Smith ( the CEO of the Asthma Foundation ) about todays events. It created a real buzz for the crowd and even convinced them to donate some cash on the night. Mal and craig did a fantastic job shaking the tin and managed to get a few hundred dollars . We also secured another larger sponsor . The great blokes from Sports Haler have given us a sum of money to wear their product around our necks in the TV interview tomorow . You can check the product on http://www.sports-haler.com/.

Phyhsically craig and myself are doing fine ,except for a bit of sun burn and sun stroke, but is only day one. Tomorow morning we have an interview with Koshy and mel on sunrise follwed by an interview with prime Sydney. Then we make our way to the beggining of the M5 motorway and set off on a 96km journey to beautifull down town Mittagong. We hope the rain stays away and the southerly head wind ceases .

Well Myself , Craig , Amanda, Mal , Reggie and Sarah need some much needed rest for the big day tomorow . Goodnight .

We will update again tomorow night.

Ps Sarah is doing a marvelous job feeding the Troops and I am looking forward to a huge breakfast in the morning.

October 17, 2008


Only two days to go.........   Check out the biggest bike rack you have ever seen... I built that in at my dads factory last week and it works a treat. I would like to thank Cowan Manufacturing at Warners Bay ( my dads factory )  for the tremendous help and patience in helping me build both bikes and the bike rack . 
    People say i am an inspiration to them ? I hear that  often but do not think to much about it. When i think about how much my father is an inspiration to me and how proud i am of him , I guess then it really dawns on me what its like to make an impact on someone's life. My mum and dad are two of my very best friends and i would like to say thank-you to them both for their support so far and especially for hosting the biggest cocktail party Dora Creek has ever seen.
     My good mate Dave from Tubby signs Cooranbong Kindly donated a sign for the back window of the wagon.  What an amazing sign . Not only does it look great and he only had two days notice to build it but !!!!!!!  from the inside of the car you do not even know its on the window. Its magic of some kind? Smoke and mirrors???? you have to check it out to believe it. 
 Bonnells bay Public School is so excited about hosting the departure party. The kids are all very enthusiastic and can not wait to be on the news on mon night. There is also a huge sign out the front of the school with GOOD LUCK MR COWAN ON YOUR 1000KM PENNYFARTHING JOURNEY written on it.  Believe it or not i really am quite humble and its kinda weird to hear and see all of the buzz around town the challenge is creating. I even made front and fourth page in the  paper today.
    Which reminds me?  the media are starting a feeding frenzy over the challenge. Yesterday i spoke live on radio with 2NURFM  , ABC Newcastle , ABC sydney , 2HD , a Bathurst radio station , and Kevin Rudd ( i made the last one up to see if you are still awake ). Next week i am on tones of radio stations and look out for me on tuesday morning with Koshy & Mel between 8.30 and 9.00 on sunrise channel seven . Thats  just the beginning . 

 My support crew are also getting excited about the challenge.
     My beautiful wife Amanda ( whom i love tremendously ) 
     Mal Dean  ( who the paper said is my cook,,, He can only heat up beans )
     Craig Bateman ( riding with me for support and strength and plenty of laughs)
     Sarah  mclean    ( minister in charge of carbohydrates and protein )
     Reg Ryan  ( our newest team member who is a fantastic  bloke )
     Nick and Georgia ( Our sensational media team from the foundation )
My wife Amanda .... well ........ What can i say ........ i will make is simple ...... she is my rock ####

    We will be posting everyday during the event . So watch out for the latest info of the highs and lows posted with the latest pics .
   Chow for now   Michael 


October 15, 2008

The sign is ready! are our butts?

Only five days to go and all things are on schedule in preparation for the tortuous time ahead, our sign has been gladly built and donated by ampcontrol with the help of Cedar Signs at Raymond Terrace.

Looking forward to Leaving Bonnells Bay Primary School at 9:30am rain, hail or shine on the 20th October.

Attending the send off at the school will be NBN news and the Local state member of Parliament the Honorable Mayor of Lake Macquarie Greg Piper. So come along and drop a few bucks in the tin and send off Mick and Craig on there epic journey.

October 13, 2008

Last Training Ride

Craig and myself completed our last training ride this afternoon in prep for the big event. 
  We covered 60km  in three hours with a ten minute brake . Pretty happy with that effort riding at about 20km per hour on average. 
  Well craig is off to a smashing start officially swallowing the first fly . Thats taking protein intake to a new level. I managed to brake 2 x spokes today which is a little above average but I have plenty of spares. It takes me about 2 mins to replace one on the side of the road.

  The official starting place for the ride is now going to be Bonnells Bay Public school between 9.00 and 9.30 on monday the 20th of October . See you all there if you can make it.?