I haven't written anything cycling related in a long while, but like many, I've been closely following the Indian Pacific Wheel Race back home in Australia for the last couple of weeks. I was watching the race last night and noticed Mike's Spot tracker stop near the intersection of Williamsdale Road and the Monaro Highway. The next time Mike's tracker moved, it was travelling at 98km/h towards Canberra.
Mike was a hard man. He won Tour Divide twice, set the record for Trans Am and founded the Transcontinental in Europe. But it seems that even the hardest of men cannot survive a place so antagonistic toward such a simple and noble mode of transport.
There are so many questions and thoughts racing around in my head. I love adventure and the spirit of adventure cycling, but moments like this make me ask myself whether the risks of such epic events outweigh the honour they bestow on their participants? Whether bikes and cars can ever peacefully coexist? Whether or not I would be remembered as the person I want to be remembered as if the same thing happened to me next time I hop on my bike? Right now I feel like hanging up the road bike and just riding trails, but I know that won't happen.
Mike inspired me to ride. He made me believe in cycling as a noble pursuit and helped pull me back from becoming jaded by the industry to see riding for the beautiful and pure thing it is. My heart goes out to Mike's family and friends, to the driver involved and to the broader cycling community, particularly the bike-packing community, who have been touched by this tragic day.
There will be a sombre tone at this years Tour Divide grand depart
Vale Mike Hall
4 June 1981 - 31 March 2017