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Army November 25, 2010
By Graham McBean
CYCLING 4500km isn't everyone's
idea of how to spend your long-
service leave -- but then Maj Harri
Keinonen didn't call his holiday the
Tour de Madness for nothing.
Maj Keinonen, Defence Imagery
and Geospatial Organisation, left
Russell Offices in Canberra on
September 16 and has been on his
recumbent trike ever since.
Two years in the planning, he is
now 2200km and 55 days into his
dream road run and presently using
Hobart as a home base to explore the
He plans to meet his family in
Melbourne at Christmas and then
return to Canberra via Sydney in the
first week of January "half the man"
he was before he left.
"It has just been a wonderful expe-
rience of taking each day as it comes
and relying on myself to sort things
out as they happen," Maj Keinonen
"It has just been brilliant -- nothing
exciting to tell but just a great deal of
fun and lots of great experiences."
Maj Kienonen initially took up rid-
ing the recumbent trike after wrist and
lower back pain forced him off his
more traditional two-wheeler.
The Finnish born rider's initial plan
was to ride from Madrid to Helsinki
but costs compelled him to devise a
local version of the tour.
Long, lonely hours hitting the bitu-
men are no problem to him but he
said the mental challenges of such an
intense endurance feat were very much
more difficult than the physical chal-
And while the Tasmanian wilder-
ness has been "absolutely fantastic"
riding solo through the Huon Valley is
not for the faint hearted.
"Some days are 130km or so with
some pretty big hills to cross and you
need to have mental stamina just to
keep going in the middle of nowhere,"
"It is a big mental game more than
Even so, being physically prepared
does make life easy.
The recumbent trike was fitted out
to enable him to be self supporting and
he carries a two-man tent, sleeping bag
Apart from these essentials, his
trike is fitted with a wind generator
and solar chargers for navigation aids
He said the recumbent trike was
perfect for touring and handled better
than a two-wheeled bike loaded with
panniers, all in comparative comfort
Apart from an amazing road run,
Maj Keinonen has been blown away
by the friendliness and kindness of
people along the path.
His mildly eccentric holiday seems
to warm people to his journey and he
has been struck by the friendliness of
the people he has met.
In Hobart he struck up a conversa-
tion with an interested observer. The
chance meeting just happened to be
with a man also into cycle touring.
He asked Maj Keinonen if he had
accommodation and then offered him a
room at his place.
"He said 'you're welcome to stay
at my place as long as you want' and
that's where I am at the moment'.
"He is away for four weeks and he
gave me his keys and I have the run of
"It is just very generous and hos-
With about 2300km to go "depend-
ing on side trips on the way to
Sydney" he said there have been no
epiphanies on his journey -- just a lot
He makes no big deal of the slight-
ly offbeat long-service holiday.
"As my wife attests, I am an intro-
vert so I get my energy from within
-- so the solo tour just suited me down
to the ground."
'Onya' trike: Maj Harri Keinonen, Defence Imagery and Geospacial Organisation, prepares his steed for the
tour of a lifetime.
Photo by AB Craig Owen
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