Pat Mahoney’s letter to the editor, above, intrigued a Courier journalist who called him to see how he was faring after his close encounter with a semi trailer on the Newell Highway.

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Pat lives in Miranda.

“I had been to a funeral in Moree and decided to ride home,” he said.

“I don’t ride all the way into Sydney, just to Hamilton, Newcastle. I have done that half a dozen times.

“I have relatives all the way from Goondiwindi to Willow Tree.

“I don’t usually ride that route at night, but I have never done it in the summer time.”

Pat, 70, made a 4.30am departure from Moree to beat the heat.

“The night time darkness made me ride closer to the white median line,” said Pat.

“I had heard many stories about people being hit by the wind off trucks.

“My Carrigan relatives told me that there are about 17,000 trucks using the Newell Highway.

“I only saw half a dozen of them but the sixth one got me.

“They don’t slow down. But they weave around you a bit which helps.”

The semi trailer roaring past created a wind which blew Pat off his bike.

“I hit the road ‘smash’. Usually when you come off the bike you are aware of something happening but this time it was very sudden. Because I hit the ground straight down I didn’t slide along.

“And I had been travelling quite well with a strong northerly behind me and I thought if I get a few hours like this I will be in Narrabri in no time and out of the heat.”

Pat loves riding.

“My cousin in Narrabri has been an endurance athlete like me and suggests ‘why don’t you get a life’ but he may not experience the country the way I do. He drives the road every day, I do it once a year on my bike.

“I get south of Narrabri and normally I am riding through safflower, and crops, the fields, green and beautiful.”

Pat admits he is an advocate for cycling. He rides every day.

“If I go with my wife to the Gold Coast I just ride home through Goondiwindi, while she catches the plane back,” he said.

Meanwhile, he is hoping someone will find and return his bike.

“It’s my commuter bike. I love all my bikes, but that one especially because I use it for getting around town.

“The person who picked it up may have been travelling to Narrabri,” Pat said.

“My injury now is good. I had an accident on the same elbow and had two operations on it.”

Was that a bike related accident? “Always,” he laughs. This accident hasn’t put you off bike riding then “No,” said Pat. “In fact I just rode my bike home from the gym.”

Pat’s letter to the editor:

My name is Pat Mahony. I will be 70 in a fortnight.

Both sets of grandparents, Mahonys and Carrigans, came from Boggabri and lived in Moree.

Though I was born and raised in Sydney, I still love the bush.

I set out at 4.30 am on Tuesday last to ride home from a family funeral in Moree.

I have done this often before, and love to do it.

But this time, I left in the dark to avoid the heat.

With my load on the front of the bike, I was too close to the white line, and the wind from a truck whacked me onto the ground.

That broke my pannier rack, and nearly broke my arm, so my great journey ended after only 22 kilometres.

I got a lift back to Moree with a couple of kindly train-drivers on their way to work, but I left my bike on the embankment on the side of the road.

Someone must have picked it up before I got back a couple of hours later.

I would love to have the bike back. If anyone can help, please give me a ring on 0476 260 361.

And I would like to record my sincere thanks for the caring attention I received from the staff at the Moree Hospital.

Pat Mahony, Miranda, Sydney.