Julie Lawrence and partner Lisa Ditlef-Nielsen made their own bikes from bamboo and have ridden from London to Benalla before heading off to their final destination of Sydney.LIBBY PRICE August 7, 2014 3:30am
Benalla woman Julie Lawrence and her partner Lisa Ditlef-Nielsen are raising money for brain tumour research and water aid riding hand made bamboo bikes from London to Sydney via Benalla
It was over a few drinks in a London pub that Julie Lawrence confided in her partner, Lisa Ditlef-Nielsen, that she had a dream of cycling to Australia to stay with her mother in Benalla whom she hadn’t seen for seven years.
Ms Ditlef-Nielsen, 30, admitted she too had given it some thought, so they immediately started researching and madly saving for the trip.
They initially wanted to build a tandem bicycle but did a test run on hired bikes.
‘‘It nearly killed us. We’re not compatible cyclists. I’m a much slower rider,’’ Ms Lawrence, 43, said.
They’d both been to New York to learn how to build single-speed bamboo bikes and were determined to use bamboo again.
‘‘There’s the beauty of bamboo, but it also conforms to the rider, is very solid and absorbs a lot of the vibrations. And it’s very affordable when you’re building a custom made bike because you can use bespoke geometry,’’ Ms Ditlef-Nielsen said.
‘‘And of course, it doesn’t rust!’’
The bamboo was imported from Mexico and the bikes took 10 days to make using a computer program that did the drafting using leg, arm and saddle measurements.
Ms Lawrence believes it was the first time the program had been used for making ‘touring’ bamboo bikes.
The women left London in March 2013 and headed to France, then Germany, and followed the Danube River to the Black Sea, taking a few detours to countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary, mostly camping in tents. They caught a cargo ship across the Caspian Sea for an 18-hour trip which ended up taking four days due to bad weather. They arrived in Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan, where it was –20°C.
Unable to get a visa to ride through China, Ms Lawrence and Ms Ditlef-Nielsen ended up flying to Thailand, and were lucky to be among the first cyclists allowed to ride through Myanmar.
Ms Lawrence was anxious to get to Benalla, so they then flew to Perth and tackled the Minda Biddi trail in WA’s south-west, one of the world’s longest off-road cycling tracks through a natural corridor of unspoilt karri forests and bushland.
By the time they reached Adelaide, they decided to cheat and caught a bus to Benalla.
Next month Ms Lawrence and Ms Ditlef-Nielsen will embark on the final leg of their journey to Sydney, where they hope to set up a bamboo bike-building business and cafe.
Ms Lawrence’s passion is building bikes for disadvantaged children and women.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.