Part-Time Explorer

Frank Rickus from the Hunsrueck region rode with his bike for 4 months over 16.000 kilometers and 63.500 meters altitude difference nonstop through Australia. He spent all in all 740 hours in his saddle and traversed 4 climate zones.

All by himself, away from family and friends, 16.000 kilometers with the bicycle around Australia. What kind of a guy is this Frank Rickus? The 41-year old from the Hunsrueck region doesn't appeal to you as an adventurer: married, shift worker, and local politician. Plus Rickus has asthma. However, the mayor from Mannebach possesses a second soul - the one of an explorer, a flamboyant, a dude who likes to do crazy things.

As is his last trip to Down Under, the continent which is known worldwide for housing belligerent and poisonous animals. On the road on endless streets in searing heat up to 135 degree and bone-chilling cold. But more dangerous than snakes and crocodiles are the truck drivers with the so called road trains according to Rickus. "These are tractors with up to three or more trailers," explains Rickus. "To be overtaken by these HP monsters is really super crazy."

But Frank Rickus has always been a little crazy. At the age of 15, for example, he went on a cycling trip with an almost blind, older gentleman, he had never met before to Italy, then to France and back. A typical win-win situation for Rickus: "The elderly gentleman needed someone to ride ahead and I was too young to go biking by myself."

Frank Rickus loves to do things, which others don't believe him able to do. That was already the case at his first (pretty) big bike tour in 1997 to the North Cape. The asthamtic had barely 30% of his pulmonary function at the time. "A lot of people thought I'm crazy and said: You will never make it! As a typical Leo, I am given the required bullhead and stubbornness to tackle such tours." It was worth it in the end. He is a new human, as if exchanged: "Not only my lung function improved tremendously during my bike tour. Everything feels easier and I feel like I can fly. "Besides I'm also always loosing a couple pounds of weight," grins the now 41 year old.

The same holds true for his last adventure. Upon returning to Melbourne, a completely new person stood at the exact same spot where he started 4 months ago. The nice, clean-shaven, somewhat chubby average guy turned into a rakish, wiry swashbuckler with a shaggy beard. It's not only your appearance that changes during this kind of tour: "The monotony of the endless long streets, the tranquility and the solitude have a meditative effect on me. I find myself partly in trance and I can turn off completely. You develop a completely different sense for time and place."

Which is why he always needs awhile to reintegrate himself into "normal life." "An internal unrest follows me the first two to three weeks," admits Rickus. It happens much faster externally: The beard leaves - my wife wants it! That's how the venturous extreme biker turns into the mayor of Mannebach within a few minutes - at least visually...

Frank Rickus used Ergon's SMC3 saddle and the GP3 grips for his Australian round trip. For more details to the products following these links:



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