Dermot Higgins, the recently retired schoolteacher from Rush Lusk ETNS is in the process of becoming the oldest person at 55 to cycle around the world – and it’s all for charity.
Dermot set out from the school last June amid great fanfare on his mammoth journey and he is presently in Australia, about to descend on Adelaide. The County Leader followed Dermot on his facebook account as he approached Adelaide.
“Australians really like to talk about the weather. I suppose its because, like in Ireland the weather changes here so often. And it may also be because there is a real ‘outdoor culture’ here in Oz.
“But the language they use when talking about the weather is very different. A ‘ripper’ is a strong wind. A ‘stinker’ is a period of hot weather and you can have ‘hot changes’ and ‘cold changes’. Thankfully this afternoon we had a cold change.
“It was really refreshing to be able to cycle in about 20° and I even had a decent tailwind behind me so I made really good progress.
“But it gradually became hotter and hotter, peaking at 52° by midday. At that temperature the bitumen was melting and the water in my bottle started to boil, I was drinking gallons of water, but I couldn’t cool my eyes and this became really painful. The glare from the sun, even when I was wearing good sunglasses, was horrendous. And adding to their general misery were the flies, -hundreds of them kept buzzing around me trying to soak up my sweat.
“Eventually it became too hot to continue, so I stopped at a petrol station just outside the seaside resort of Port Wakefield. There, I drank a couple of litres of water and another 2 litres of coke and then stretched out on the ground in the shade of a tree to rest up until the temperature dropped a bit.
“By 2 o’clock, I noticed that that cold change was on its way. The temperature dropped dramatically to about 40° and unfortunately the wind has changed direction also, turning a full 180° so now I’d have to battle against a fairly strong, gusty headwind.
“I struggled onwards towards Adelaide. I was now cycling on a dual carriageway and the traffic became quite heavy. I passed through a little town called Dublin.
“My hosts in Adelaide are Genivieve and Juan Knight. I’d met them them while camping in Esperance and Genivieve had kindly offered me a bed, if and when I ever reached Adelaide.
“After what has been a pretty arduous journey, full of adventure and some toil, across southern Australia, I really feel that I need a full days rest to recuperate and Genivieve’s beautiful house overlooking the ocean is the ideal place to do just that.