First Trans Oz bike race will take riders 2,000 miles across Australia

£5,000 prize for winner of epic challenge

After cycling solo across Australia earlier this year, British explorer Mike Laird has decided to organise an epic amateur bike race that will follow a similar route.

The first Trans Oz Bike Ride will cover 3,374km (2,097 miles) in 17 stages, with competitors starting in Melbourne and riding north through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to finish in Cairns.

The race in May 2011 will include road, dirt road and hill stage, and riders will need to average 198km a day to be in with a chance of winning the £5,000 prize.

Early stages of the route will retrace the steps of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition of 1860, when seven men died attempting the north-south crossing on foot, camel and horseback.

The Trans Oz will surely prove more successful, although competitors will still face hazards including extremes of temperature and the local wildlife – Laird encountered redback spiders, brown snakes and giant lizards on his journey.

“This truly was an experience of a lifetime and I'm delighted to be able to open this up to other people with an appetite for adventure!" said Laird, who lost 21lb during his ride across Australia due to the gruelling terrain and scorching heat.

"We've planned and researched every element of the race to ensure that the Trans Oz Bike Ride runs as smoothly as possible. We’re looking for people with a serious passion for cycling to become involved. Anyone with determination, bags of energy and a decent bike should reach the finish line.”

Mike Laird celebrates the end of his epic solo cycle ride across Australia earlier this year in Normanton, Queensland

Laird, 41, is a seasoned traveller who took part in the BBC’s Castaway 2000 TV programme alongside Ben Fogle. Since that time he has led and joined expeditions in remote locations as diverse as Ethiopia, Bolivia, Mongolia and Alaska.

In 2007 he joined the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan as a photographer. He is CEO of the charity Marocaroundtheclock as well as a trustee of the UK Scientific Exploration Society and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

To find out more about the Trans Oz Bike Ride, visit www.transozbikeride.com or email info@transozbikeride.com.

Race stages

Date

Activity

Distance covered

9 May 2011        

Stage 1 – Melbourne to Bendigo

148km

10 May

Stage 2 – Bendigo to Swan Hill

188km

11 May

Stage 3 – Swan Hill to Mildura

222km

12 May

Stage 4 – Mildura to Broken Hill

265km

13 May

Rest day

14 May

Stage 5 – Broken Hill to Packsaddle

209km

15 May

Stage 6 – Packsaddle to Tibooburra

127km

16 May

Stage 7 – Tibooburra to ‘the bush’

142km

17 May

Stage 8 – ‘The bush’ to Noccundra

141km

18 May

Stage 9 – Noccundra to Eromanga

180km

19 May

Stage 10 – Eromanga to Windorah

250km

20 May

Stage 11 – Windorah to Stonehenge

171km

21 May

Stage 12 – Stonehenge to Longreach

220km

22 May

Rest day

23 May

Stage 13 – Longreach to Winton

180km

24 May

Stage 14 – Winton to Hughenden

206km

25 May

Stage 15 – Hughenden to ChartersTowers         

243km

26 May

Stage 16 – ChartersTowers to Ingham

246km

27 May

Stage 17 – Ingham to Cairns

236km

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