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Frank Rides Postie Bike Through The Tropic Of Capricorn To Set Record

September 1, 2009 - Frank Wheeler didn’t want to ride just any motorcycle in his adventure to follow the Tropic of Capricorn from the east to west coast of Australia, that would just be too easy.

“I call it an adventure because it’s just not another weekend ride,” said Mr Wheeler.

“I could have used a large capacity off road trail bike with big horsepower, long travel suspension, electric start and long range fuel tanks, but as a postman came by to deliver my mail I was inspired. I realised that it would be a real challenge to make the proposed Capricorn Challenge on a Honda CT110.”

Frank is no stranger to adventure. He broke a world distance record for solar boat racing with his solar powered boat - ‘Sun Pirate II’, walked a Honda power carrier unsupported across the Simpson desert (camels are too much trouble), circumnavigated Australia on a motorcycle and was the first to cross Australia on a motorcycle with a sidecar.

He’s now the first person to ride a 100cc motorcycle through the Tropic of Capricorn.

“The idea of using such a thing seemed somewhat ludicrous as I am of mature age, 193 cm tall and weigh 120 kilograms, but after riding a friend’s Honda CT110 for a weekend I was convinced it was possible. A real challenge with a fun factor as the catalyst.”

After conducting some research it came to Frank’s attention that he would need to be totally self sufficient for several days at a time and carry enough fuel, food and water to take him over 800 kilometres at a time.

“I carried five litres of water, a small amount of food stuff, tent, sleeping bag, foam sleeping mat, air pillow, communication gear (satellite phone), two extra heavy duty tubes, tyre patches and tyre change levers, wrenches with a very small tyre pump. Other tools included chain breaker, flashlight, maps, compass, temperature gauge, diary, phone book and permits for traversing through some restricted land areas, cameras and other odds and ends.”

“I had to make some minor modifications to the brake pedal to accommodate my size 15 boots, and made a rubber windscreen that wouldn’t crack or break and never need cleaning.”

Frank left his home at 12:30pm on Friday 19th June, 2009, with everything he needed packed in two water resistant bags, and set off to traverse the Tropic of Capricorn in Australia.

“I had the taste for adventure and didn’t feel like stopping, so I kept on riding through the first night and reached Rockhampton and the start of the Capricorn line some 17 hours later.”

Over 31 days Frank rode more than 11,500 kilometres, 7000 of these on dirt, sand, rock and bull dust roads.

He followed the invisible line as closely as possible from Rockhampton through to Alice Springs, and then on to the ocean north of Carnarvon, WA.

“It was not an easy trip, it was long and arduous. It was also challenging and satisfying.”

Throughout his trip Frank had no mechanical trouble with the CT110, and the only things he had to replace were some tyres and tubes.

“There was the occasional football sized rock strewn across the track, which was like hitting a boulder on the CT110. During the trip I managed to miss most of them, but the little Honda did take a few big hits without any serious damage.”

“The fuel for the whole trip cost me less than $500, and in some locations the price of fuel was $3 per litre.”

“I found that 30 litres of fuel would give me a range of over 800 kilometres. The CT110 has a 105cc engine displacement and five litres of fuel will get you around 150 kilometres. With the stretches of sand and rock considered, it averaged out to about 35 kilometres per litre of fuel for my expedition.”

Once reaching the end of the Tropic of Capricorn line Frank had intended to air freight his bike home and fly back, but after reaching his destination faster than expected his plans changed.

"I wanted more adventure and what better way than to ride back across the continent of Australia just for the experience, on my now truly proven world class adventure machine.”

“I zig zagged my way back across the country on dirt roads, following the great central road to Uluru before heading down the Finke trail and then the Oodnadatta track and didn’t hit pavement until Bourke NSW.”

While Frank hasn’t planned what challenge he will take on next, he’s already thinking about it.

“I’m thinking of a few things, but nothing conclusive yet. What do you suggest?”