Brisbane cyclist finds refuge in Busselton amid ride around Australia

Headshot of Breanna Redhead
Breanna RedheadBusselton Dunsborough Times
Maurie Laughlan on Busselton Foreshore.
Camera IconMaurie Laughlan on Busselton Foreshore. Credit: Breanna Redhead

A broken bike has led to a new home for Maurie Laughlan, who “fell in love” with Busselton on his ride around the country.

The 71-year-old has been on the road since February last year when he packed up his belongings in Brisbane to ride anti-clockwise around Australia.

The track of Maurie's ride around the country so far.
Camera IconThe track of Maurie's ride around the country so far. Credit: supplied

“I just feel in love with Busselton,” he said.

“I’m a runner so I met people in the runners club, and because I’m in the music industry, I go down to the music every weekend and the jetty and it’s just fabulous.”

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Currently unable to find a rental, Laughlan stays at the local backpackers offering work in exchange for a room.

“I work for nothing, I’m a volunteer,” he said.

“They give me a room and I work, and you learn something everyday it’s great.”

His ‘say yes’ theory has earned him myriad jobs on the road, a stark contrast to his previous life as a resort worker and DJ in Brisbane.

“One night I’m on stage dancing in front of people and then I was chasing cows on a cattle farm, I love it.”

The trip was prompted by the cyclist’s inability to travel during COVID. He would typically go to Japan to cycle in the resort’s off-season, in which he has accumulated nearly 20,000km across the Japanese mainland.

“I decided well, why don’t I get my bicycle and ride around Australia,” he said.

“My uncle was a cyclist, but I started just little in Japan, I studied there for three years full-time and catching public transport was expensive so I would ride everywhere and I got to know Tokyo like the back of my hand.

“Now I just have a bike there and go in the off season.”

Throughout his journey, he said above most he has learnt about the kindness of strangers.

Maurie riding through the outback.
Camera IconMaurie riding through the outback. Credit: supplied

“I was riding along in the middle of nowhere, just south of Broome and I could see the cars for miles ahead, and I saw a car that went past me, it was about a kilometre or so ahead and pull over to the side and door opened and closed so fast, I thought they must have just went to the toilet or something but when I got up to there, it was a bottle of cold water sitting on the side of the road, ice cold,” he said.

“There was also a time I lost a pedal out north in Avon Downs, I had to walk my bike nearly 15km and I passed a police station and these guys took a bicycle pedal off their own bicycle and put it on mine, and I’ve still got it on, I deliberately kept it.”

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