Dan and Catherine Talbot get in some training. Picture: Michael O’Brien
Sitting atop a five-foot wheel and grinding along vast stretches of highway is the best way to see WA’s diverse landscape, Det-Sgt Dan Talbot says.
Det-Sgt Talbot, his wife Catherine, friends Peter Taplin, Dan Bolwell and Gokulan Gopal are riding from Perth to Kalgoorlie to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Institute.
But their mode of transport is far from conventional.
The Busselton policeman and his friends are avid penny-farthing riders, and will not stray from excruciating distances in the saddle.
When his friend and colleague Sgt Matt Turner told Det-Sgt Talbot about his Children’s Cancer Institute fundraiser Cocktails for a Cure in Kalgoorlie, the keen cyclist’s reaction was “I should ride the penny there”.
The 600km, six-day journey will not be the furthest ride Det-Sgt Talbot has done.
“I’ve ridden the classic century in Tasmania which is 160km in one day,” he said.
“People automatically think it is really hard to ride a penny-farthing that far, but I know it is doable.”
Matt Turner with his daughter Emily, who was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma tumour at the age of 14 months.
The heat and wind were the greatest challenges, and climbing was difficult because the bike had just one gear.
“It also has no brake — the way to brake on a penny-farthing is to put your foot on the back wheel,” Det-Sgt Talbot said.
“They are very pleasant to ride, as dangerous as it is.”
His team will have a support car with them for the journey, which will start on June 5 and finish on June 11.
Sgt Turner’s daughter Emily was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 14 months.
“She is seven now and has been in remission for five years, but I have been raising funds ever since,” Sgt Turner said.
He hopes to raise $50,000 for the Children’s Cancer Institute through Bright Blue, the Police Commissioner’s Fund for Sick Kids.