Handcyclist Andreass Dagalet stops over in Maclean during his circumnavigation of Australia.
Handcyclist Andreass Dagalet stops over in Maclean during his circumnavigation of Australia.

Around Australia ona handcycle

By ADRIAN MILLER

ANDREAS Dagelet's first intention was to do something that nobody had ever done before.

And, he figured, why not raise money for charity along the way?

So, since April last year, he has been handcycling his way across Australia.

That's right ? handcycling.

Mr Dagelet, who became a paraplegic in 1995, set out from his home on Coochiemudlo Island, Moreton Bay, in April last year, intent on circumnavigating Australia on his handcycle.

And in 10 days time he will do just that, completing a 16,000 kilometre, Guiness Book of World Records-endorsed, journey.

In Maclean last week to enjoy a well-earned rest from his travels, Mr Dagelet said he was reluctant to celebrate early.

"I haven't accomplished anything yet," he said.

Most people would disagree with that assertion, but Mr Dagelet is adamant many hurdles still remain.

"For the whole journey, even when I passed the previous record in WA when I was only a third of the way along, I kept thinking 'there's still a long way to go'," he said.

"Each day brings a new challenge so I haven't had time to reflect on it yet."

And there have been many challenges.

Such as coping with irate drivers, rain and menacing headwinds.

And of course, the small matter of his support caravan being written off in an accident in Port Macquarie.

But Mr Dagelet keeps powering along Australia's' highways, determined to ensure the money keeps flowing in.

"The aim was to raise $1 million for charities ? I can't imagine we've raised that much ? but we'll take whatever we can get," he said.

And so, after meeting Prime Minister John Howard, Cathy Freeman and countless other dignitaries, where to after his remarkable odyssey?

"I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and enjoying a couple of beers without having to ride the next day," he said.



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