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April 1, 2019
Photography by Kel Bush
At around 8pm on Sunday evening, ultra endurance racer Jacob Fryatt reached the steps of the Sydney Opera House to become the first to complete the 2019 Indian Pacific Wheel Ride.
Known to his online followers as PlantBasedPedaller, or simply PBP, 34-year-old Fryatt covered the roughly 5,500km from Fremantle in Western Australia to Sydney in roughly 15 and a half days, an average daily distance of around 350km. His longest day saw him spend 20 hours in the saddle, riding 512km from Murray Bridge in South Australia to Portland in Victoria.
A school teacher by trade, Fryatt was competing in the ‘Indy Pac’ for the first time. In his race bio, he wrote: “After dot-watching the last few years I thought I might have a crack at it to see what all the fuss is about.” Fryatt took the lead on day 1 and held it all the way to the finish, more than a fortnight later.
At the time of writing, Ryan “Ryzza” Vecht and Paul Chartres are the next two on the road, both roughly 700km from the finish and both within 15km of one another. The pair appear to have deviated from the designated route due to road closures, just as Fryatt did a couple days earlier. A total of 16 riders currently remain on course.
Fryatt was one of 21 riders that set off from the South Mole Lighthouse at 6:22am on Saturday March 16, the approximate time that British ultra endurance racer Mike Hall was tragically killed during the 2017 edition of the event, then known as the Indian Pacific Wheel Race. While the event’s founders, Dragon Face Pty Ltd, are no longer involved, riders have continued to set off at the same time together the past two years, all following the same route across the country.
The Indian Pacific Wheel Ride traverses the Australian mainland from west to east and visits iconic regions such as the Nullarbor Plain, South Australia’s wine districts, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, and the Australian Alps.
For video of Fryatt arriving at the Sydney Opera House, click here. For live tracking for the 2019 Indian Pacific Wheel Ride, click here.