Peter Heal has been an active member of Audax Australia Cycling Club since the early 2000s, during which time he has built an awesome portfolio of rides and has actively contributed to the running and development of the club in many ways.
The Audax ride archive records Pete as accumulating over 80,000km from Australian homologated events covering every variation of ride types offered by Audax Australia. Les Randonneux Mondiaux cites 6 Australians in their “LRM+PBP Double Digit Club” for riders who have ridden 10 or more LRM grand randonees or PBPs of 1200km or more. Leading this peloton is Peter Heal who has completed 25 such events. Pete’s first listed 1200km brevet is the 2004 GSR. His most recent was the Riverina Routes 1200. In the midst of his normal 1000 or 1200 km rides there are a few very long rides like the Trans Oz 4000km and Around Hokkaido 2403km.
Although not Audax rides, it is important to note Pete’s two unsupported records. In 2009 he rode from Fremantle to Sydney in 11 days, 17 hours and 8 minutes (which broke the transcontinental record by more than two days), and in 2010 a lap around Australia in 48 days, 23 hours and 37 minutes, again lowering the previous record by approximately two days. Both records still stand.
Peter Heal’s riding history is unique in our club.
Peter Heal has a long and ongoing record as a ride organiser and volunteer.
As a ride organiser, Pete has shown a passion for developing and running new and innovative rides across the whole palette of Audax Australia’s ride types. Whereas some people only run road rides in their own locale, Pete’s name may be found in the calendar as the organiser of rides ranging from Dirt rides to road rides in the ACT or Alice Springs (has anyone else run Alice Springs rides?). From short dirt rides up, his routes are always well researched, interesting and above all challenging.
As an aside, many people think of Pete as a recumbenteer and he is highly respected internationally as both a rider and builder in that community. He also has a serious background in mountain biking and maintains that interest as well as occasionally being seen on an upwrong (conventional road bike). He has also built a large number of the bikes he rides.
As well as developing and running rides Pete often assists others as a volunteer on their rides, often travelling far from home to help. It is not uncommon for Pete to arrive at the start of a ride a few days before the event to complete the route as a vollie before fronting up to provide long hours of support helping other riders achieve their goals. An example of Pete’s level of support was the first Murray 1200 which he rode as a vollie, then swung into providing support where he manned checkpoints on long, hot days providing riders with cold drink and icecreams and then spent time at night quietly sorting mechanical problems for one rider who was pushing time limits, tired and hungry. Once the rider was fed and rested, his bike was ready to go.
Since joining Audax Australia as a member of the ACT Region, Pete has performed many roles on the Regional Committee; currently president, but also as calendar coordinator, brevet secretary (at least). Through involvement in the National Committee one of Pete’s contributions was the establishment of the (now) Risk and Safety Committee. In any of these and other roles Pete is consistently focussed, well organised and steers progress firmly and consultatively.
Many of us have had the privilege of travelling, working and riding with Pete and unreservedly recognise him as a quintessential randonneur.