I just read that Winifred Wells died on the 1st of February, and wanted to put a link to a story about her on here. She was truly a motorcycling pioneer who must have had amazing amounts of willpower to do what she did, which was to cross Southern Australia from coast to coast (and back!) on a 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet in 1951. She rode the 5,500 miles alone in only 21 days, crossing the Nullarbor Plain in the middle of the blazing hot summer. Her exploits are not well-known outside of Oz, and apart from a few Enfield enthusiasts in that country her story is not widely known either. It’s time that changed.
In this photo taken on her dusty return to Perth, from where she had started. She looks like she’s ready to go again. And it was not to be her last trip, either: She and her father circumnavigated the entire continent on two Bullets a couple of years later. I find her story inspiring for a number of reasons, but especially because almost no one expected her to be able to make such a strenuous trip on her own (which is obvious judging by the expressions on people’s faces in the photo). In the end, she proved them all wrong. Her trip is also a great example of the fact that you don’t need a big, modern machine with tons of gear to go travelling. A well-maintained bike of any kind and good planning will generally see you through. And, as they say, the best bike for the trip is the one you already own!