10-year-old becomes youngest person to ride across Australia – Hope 103.2

10-year-old becomes youngest person to ride across Australia

By Katrina RoeFriday 1 Nov 2013Hope Mornings

A 10-year-old boy has just become the youngest person to ever ride a bike across Australia. Daniel Mallinson and his Dad, Geoff, have just completed a six week ride from Perth to Sydney

Daniel, who was just 9 years old when he started, had only ridden 100 kilometres on three separate occasions.   

“We knew he could ride big days.  I knew he could ride 120 or 150 kilometres in a day, but I had no idea if he could do that five days in a row.  And the only way to find out is to get out there and give it a go,” his Dad explained.

At the beginning of the journey, Daniel told Hope Mornings he felt nervous about crossing the Nullabor.  “I feel nervous, but I still want to do it.  I feel like it’s going to be tough.” 

There were some particularly difficult days during the Nullabor crossing.  “We’ve had a couple of hot days when we were a long way from anywhere and a bit tired and missing home.  And we’ve had a few times on the side of the road where we’ve considered giving up,  saying: ‘This is pretty hard.  Is this something we want to keep doing?’  But the next day the sun comes up and it’s glorious out in the bush again and we get to meet interesting people and we keep pushing on.”

Daniel said he will probably always remember his tenth birthday, celebrated in a roadhouse at Muntrabilla.  Unfortunately there was no birthday cake, “But I did get a chocolate sundae with a sparkler on top,” Daniel said.

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Audio: Hear Daniel Mallinson talk about riding across the Nullabor and turning 10

Even though Daniel and Geoff aimed to break the record for the youngest person to cross the country by bike, the ride also had a more serious goal.   Daniel and Geoff were also raising money for an orphanage in China called Elim Kids.  The orphanage is run by Geoff’s sister and takes care of kids who are HIV positive.  Daniel’s adopted cousin was the very first Elim kid. “We’re raising money to help get the drugs so they can go to school and get an education,” Daniel explained.

Geoff also wanted to prove that too often adults underestimate what kids can do.

“I think kids can do a lot more than what we give them credit for.  I think most kids if they’re given an opportunity can rise to the occasion.  And certainly one thing we want to do with this trip is put some ideas in kid’s heads and parent’s heads.  You can do all sorts of things, whether it be adventurous or academic or whatever.  Put your mind to something and you can do some pretty cool stuff.”

Was Geoff worried that Daniel might give up and quit?

“Oh I was.  And that was fine.  We wanted to give it a go.  We wanted just to see how we’d go.  We were prepared to jump on a train or on a bus and come home and have an adventure still and see a bit of the country, but he’s proved that he’s been able to push through and been able to learn more about himself and drive himself in a way that’s pretty hard.”

“He’s definitely changed.  He’s certainly got bigger quads now so he’s excited about that!  He’s more capable of pushing through hardship.  He’s certainly got a wider experience of what it means to be an Australian.  So I think he’s got a little bit more depth than what he had before.”

Audio:  Hear Daniel and Geoff at Hope 103.2 studios at the end of their epic ride

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