Odyssey on an oddity

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Adventurer Emma Timmis has travelled less than 100 metres on an outdoor ‘elliptical’ bike.

But that hasn’t stopped her planning an epic long-haul record attempt on the niche mode of transport.

The Queenstown-based Brit plans to cross Australia on the running-bike – 8000km from coast to coast.

“It will be a massive adventure,” she says. “The idea popped up quite randomly. I’ve gone running-crazy recently and want to push my running but I’m concerned about my knees.

“I had a go on one of these; they’re designed to be low-impact. Those two things came together in my head.”

Timmis, 33, will set off from Denham, near Perth, Australia’s most westerly point, in August.

She’ll travel down to the southern coast road and then up past Sydney to Cape Byron, the farthest east you can go.

“I’m a bit scared of going inland – inland Australia sounds too dangerous. So I plan to stick to the coast as much as possible.

“But it makes it farther obviously. I’ve applied for a Guinness World Record for the farthest distance travelled on one in a single country.”

Timmis reckons it’ll take at least 75 days. The epic unsupported journey will include dodging kangaroos and wild camels in an otherwise featureless 1000km stretch skirting the arid Nullarbor Plain.

Timmis is raising funds for charity One Girl, which provides education for girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

“The statistic is you’re more likely to be sexually abused than you are to finish high school.

“Absolutely shocking and just that statistic alone makes you think ‘I want to help’.”

She plans to visit schools along the way, convincing teenagers to stick with sport into adulthood.

Timmis is no stranger to strange adventures, having rollerskated across The Netherlands and cycled 2200km from Manchester to Italy to go rock climbing.

She’s also the first woman to run the length of the Freedom Trail in South Africa; 2400km from Durban to Cape Town – a daily marathon distance for 57 days.

And she’s run 4000km across Africa.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz