Grab your helmet and join long-time cycling enthusiast Daniel Oakman alongside National Library curator Susannah Helman as they talk about Daniel’s latest book, Wild Ride: Epic Cycling Journeys Through the Heart of Australia, and the collection material that tells the stories of the people behind these great cycling adventures.

Australia is home to breath-taking landscapes, as rugged as they are beautiful. Some are driven to explore these places on foot, some from the air, but this book tells the story of the courageous men and women who explored this beautiful country on two wheels.

Please note: The photographs handled by Susannah during the filming of this event are reproductions made especially for this event from the original glass plate negatives held in the Library’s collection.

The Book

Wild Ride book cover

Wild Ride: Epic Cycling Journeys Through the Heart of Australia tells the story of the cyclists who were overcome by the need to venture forth on two wheels; the courageous men and women who undertook some of the most epic bicycle journeys of all time. While many of Australia's bicycle pioneers rode to beat records or be the first, others rode for no other reason than to immerse themselves in the wild. They willingly surrendered themselves to their fate in a land at once majestic, magical and hostile. Fortunately for us these bicycle pioneers were not content to merely ride. They wanted to share their experience with other like-minded folk and Australian readers devoured their stories; heady accounts filled with unbridled wonder, drama and derring-do.

The journeys retold in this book are a thrilling reminder of a period of exploration largely forgotten in the age of the motorcar. We might simply choose to enjoy these pioneering feats vicariously from the comfort of our armchairs. Or, we might be inspired to venture out on our own pedal powered explorations. At the very least, they will make our excuses to not go for a ride seem rather feeble indeed!

About Daniel Oakman

Daniel Oakman

Daniel Oakman is a museum curator, historian and bike rider. He has curated exhibitions about bicycles, cars, cities and urban design; including Freewheeling, a ground-breaking travelling exhibition on cycling in Australia.

As a writer, he is best known as the author of Oppy, the gripping biography of Australia's greatest endurance cyclist, Sir Hubert Opperman.