When Angus McDonald set sail for South Africa to report on the Boer War for The Argus newspaper, he left behind a wife bored with manicures,pedicures,hairdressers and shopping malls.
Mrs McDonald yearned for something more !
Thinking to fill in a few empty days in her diary, Mrs McDonald decided to get on her bike and venture from Sydney to Melbourne upon her iron steed.
She double dared a friend, Mrs Birken, to go with her and, accepting the dare, the gals set off on their high adventure at 6.30am on October 4, 1899.
They were happily trundling along on their treadlies when only 130kms into their trip, Mrs Birken fell and twisted her arm at Mittagong. Refusing to be called a wuss, Mrs Birken battled on until Goulburn where she stopped biting on her lace hanky, admitted defeat and the title of Wussiest Wuss Wuss of 1899, then promptly popped herself on a train back to Sydney.
Mrs McDonald was unable to decide if she should continue or not; after all, as everyone knows the wilds of Australia were commonly populated with bicycle stealing- bad breathed- hairy backsided -Bunyips. So she took a day off to rest, window shop and think over her options - how to get her bike home when there was a ban on bikes on peak hour trains?
But, throwing caution to the winds, Mrs McDonald plucked up her courage and set off, braving the wild Bunyip territory and arrived in Melbourne at 10.30 am on October 11, just in time for morning tea and some serious Collins Street window shopping.
Mrs McDonald's little trip did more to popularise cycling for women than anything or anyone else at the time.