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Frequently Asked Questions

Background


When will the event be held?

If we are involved in facilitating any event on the IPWR course in the future the following will apply. The IPWR begins at 6:22am local time in Fremantle, Western Australia on the third Saturday in March. Until the inquest into Mike Hall's death is completed (expected to be 2019) we will not play any role in organising or promoting the efforts of the inpiring overanders who choose to ride the IPWR course at any time.


How long is it expected to take?

Around 14 days for the fastest riders but this will be dictated by the conditions on the road and the many challenges this brings.

What’s the significance of the 6:22am start time?

It was around this time that Mike Hall tragically lost his life on 31 Mar 2017. This is our way of continuing his journey. We ride on and seek to finish what he started.

Is there a time cut?

No. The ride takes as long as it takes.

What does the winner get for finishing first?

Nothing but the honour and glory of being first person across the finish line. Unless they have organised it, it is likely that no one will even be at the finish line to greet them.

What liability do the organisers have for the event?

Each entrant is their own race organiser and therefore, fully accept and assume all such risks, known and unknown, and all responsibility for losses, costs, and damages incurred as a result in their participation in the IPWR. 


Safety


What is going on with the investigation into Mike Hall’s death?

The investigation is on-going and it’s important that the matter be conducted thoroughly. The IPWR has assisted with inquiries and will continue to do so where requested. Until the investigation reaches its conclusion, expected to be in 2019, whatever that may be, we won’t be making any further comment. Any questions regarding the investigation should be directed to investigating police in the ACT.
 
Will you put minimum requirements around sleep? Surely race organisers are putting road users at risk if they don’t?

Similar to Audax events, the experts in ultra-endurance cycling, no restrictions to daily riding time will be included in the IPWR rules. This is a far more complicated issue than many without considerable unsupported ultra-endurance bike racing experience would realise at first glance. Ultra-endurance cyclists are managing unpredictable conditions, situations and terrain out on the road and need to be able to make the calls that are best suited to their particular circumstances. Riders must have the freedom to decide when and where they stop, for their own safety.

There are many scenarios where any restriction on ride time would result in serious danger. These are scenarios that the IPWR ringleaders have personally experienced in multi-week unsupported races. A rider must not be forced to stop at the top of a mountain pass in a snow storm if they misjudged the time required to complete the climb and their ride time limit is up, they must have the choice to continue for their own safety - stopping for hours could result in hypothermia. A rider must not be forced to stop in the desert when being followed by dingos if their ride time limit is up, they must have the option to continue until safety is reached - stopping could result in a dangerous animal encounter. A rider must not be forced to stop short of a critical resupply, shelter or medical option if their ride time limit is up, they must have the option to continue to reach an urgent supply of water, food or medicine. Stopping could result in dehydration or waiting longer for medical treatment. Riders must have the freedom to decide when and where they stop, for their own safety.
 
How will you ensure that racers are visible on the road?

For any IPWR event that we are involved with in the future, minimum requirements will be in place and enforced when it comes to visibility. This includes two independent front lights, two independent rear lights. Between 4:00pm and 8:00am local time or when visibility is poor, a reflective vest also has to be worn at these times while front and rear lights must be in use. A rear red reflector must be permanently fixed to the bicycle and a reflective ankle straps must be worn at all times. Use of reflective tape on the crank arms and seat stays is also part of requirements. As experienced cyclists, racers will know that it’s strongly recommended to wear bright clothing.


Racers will need to attend a pre-race safety check on the Thursday prior to the IPWR starts in order to be on the start line. Should they fail this safety inspection, they face warnings and removal from the race.

Riders shouldn’t be allowed on the Nullarbor where there are trucks.

The IPWR is relieved that there are concerns for the safety of cyclists as it illustrates an awareness of road safety. We would be extremely disappointed if motorists weren’t concerned for the safety of others on the road and it’s a responsibility we all share every day. Many cyclists ride across the Nullarbor every year and it’s a challenging environment. From an IPWR perspective, entrants play an important role in setting a gold standard in riding safely – remaining visible, riding with care and predictably.


Trucks will be found along the majority of the IPWR route and we look forward to working to working with the trucking community in the lead up the to IPWR and having an open and constructive dialogue with them about creating a safe, shared environment for all road users.

What authorities do you work with to assist in ensuring a safe environment on a race route?

There are only a handful of us who work on the IPWR but as was the case in 2017, we’ll be in contact with the police and local councils in the lead-up to and throughout any event that we facilitate in the furture. We’ll be looking to expand our involvement with the various transport groups and trucking unions as well.
 
What will happen if a race entrant is spotted riding in a dangerous manner?

If we are involved in facilitating any event on the IPWR course in the future the following will apply. If IPWR ringleaders are made aware of anyone within the race riding in a way that brings the race, or unsupported racing into disrepute, they will be issued with a warning and if warranted, will be removed from the race.

What do you hope to achieve with the race given the safety concerns?

Mike Hall was sadly one of many cyclists who have lost their lives on Australian roads. In the year to June 2018, 45 cyclists were killed on Australian roads (source: Australian Automobile Association).  If this was an entire football or cricket team, we would all be asking questions how this was possible. While road rules are imposed and enforced by our states and territories, respect across all road users is not dictated by boundaries. We were greatly encouraged by the support we received not just from the cycling community, but from all walks of life across the land. First and foremost, it is our aim for every single participant to reach the finish line unscathed and without their lives being threatened. We owe this to one another as human beings. The huge amount of interest that we now know the IPWR can generate, allows us to start a national conversation about safety for all road users. We should all be concerned if a cyclist does not feel safe on our roads.

If we are involved in facilitating any event on the IPWR course in the future there will be a lot of attention on these cyclists. The care and consideration they are given – just as they consider the needs of other road users – needs to be reciprocated by the rest of us to other vulnerable road users.

Harding & Keenin.

"Had we not gone carefully into it and merely listened to argument, we would undoubtedly have been discouraged. As it is we know just what to expect, realise the tough job it will be. But we'll make it." --- Vera Harding.

In 1938, Vera Harding (aged 22) and Anna Keenin (aged 20) rode from Perth to Sydney on their three-speed tandem. They collected a bunch of wagers for completing various sections of the route within certain times. They battled searing heat, rough tracks, dust storms and long sandy stretches. They also adopted a terrier, "Tandem Pete" along the way. Well, he adopted them at camp one night not far from Kalgoorlie. Tandem Pete ran much of the way, but also spent time in the following escort car.

The route across the Nullarbor was little more than a track through the desert (it wasn't fully sealed until 1976). Hardy and Keenin got to Sydney, turned around and rode back to Perth in 28 days.  Source: The Mail, 8 Oct 1938

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