RYANSTON’S Luke Thomas completed an incredible and inspirational journey across Australia on Wednesday when he arrived at the Kilcunda Pub after cycling 3500km from Perth.
Family and friends greeted the 30 year-old at the finish line after he completed the 36-day trip to raise money and awareness for beyondblue, and break the stigma of mental health.
The challenging ride across the Nullarbor saw Luke take off from Perth on September 14, cycling for 32 days with four rest days, a couple of broken spokes and one punctured tyre along the way.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and I thought raising the money was a great idea because it was close to my heart,” Luke said.
He said the journey highlighted how prevalent the issue is.
“I had my sign out and people would ask me about what I was doing then I’d open up and in turn they’d open up.
“It was crazy the amount of people I ended up meeting who had suffered with depression or have had family members who have suicided.
“The trip sort of turned a little bit in that respect and there was a whole other meaning for doing the ride.
“The biggest thing I learnt was getting my trust in humanity again, because so many people were showing care and compassion.
“It went together with what I was doing the ride for, and everything changed with the purpose and I learnt a lot about myself as well.”
On the drive over to Perth with his mother Wendy and grandmother Win, he buried food and water at checkpoints along the way to pick up on the ride.
Wendy and Win joined him as support for the first couple of days, before he was left to complete the ride on his own.
His bike was equipped with two pannier bags on the front and two pannier bags on the back, which held his water, food, clothes and sleeping gear.
He slept in his tent during the trip, stayed in some hotels and was provided with free accommodation at times.
Halfway across the Nullarbor, he bumped into a Chinese man who was riding east around the world, and rode with him for about 1100km, which he said provided great company.
Luke said the ride was mentally and physically challenging.
“There was probably only once or twice that I completely lost it, but it was about trying to not look at the bigger picture and go day-by-day,” he said.
“That was awesome because it gave me that metaphor on life to be able to take things day-by-day and not look too far ahead.”
When crossing the Nullarbor before Adelaide, he travelled with a big storm ahead of him and behind him, and a strong westerly tail wind saw him travel 260km in a day, which was his biggest day by far.
“There was 20km where I didn’t even pedal, I was going uphill and building up speed as there was that much tail wind behind me,” he said.
“It was actually quite scary at some points and that was the most sketchy part because the road on the South Australia side of the Nullarbor is two lanes, and the WA side has got the shoulders, so you’re going along and road trains are going past you.
“It was probably the best day. The most crazy, exciting, terrifying day.”
Luke has raised more than $2000 for beyondblue and would love to see more donations.
To show your support and donate towards the cause, visit https://beyondbluebashcommunity.everydayhero.com/au/luke
If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties, visit beyondblue.org.au
Luke’s inspirational ride across Australia