FIVE decades of mateship has been cemented over the past month as two retired teachers have ridden more than 1000 kilometres alongside the Murray River.
Keith Pike, 71, first met Heiner Schenk, 70, when they were new teachers at Thornbury High School in Melbourne in the late 1960s.
Their friendship has endured despite Mr Schenk moving back to his native Germany and Mr Pike having shifted to Tawonga South.
“Heiner and I have done quite a lot of long bike rides,” Mr Pike said at the weekend.
“We have ridden in the UK and Europe and we were looking for another long distance ride.
“I said to Heiner ‘It’s about time you rode in Australia’.”
So after setting out from the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia with a six-kilometre walk on March 16, the pair have ridden more than 1000 kilometres and aim to reach the river source tomorrow after hiking about 10 kilometres over the final leg.
“You’re not going uphill until you get to Tallangatta,” Mr Pike said.
The worst day for Mr Pike came when he suffered three punctures in a day between Robinvale and Tooleybuc.
He had run out of tubes.
Overall, he has had 16 punctures, while his friend has suffered just one.
The men are raising money for the Mission Aviation Fellowship and in particular its medivac service to help sick people from East Timor.
You can follow their adventures on the internet at murraymouthtosource.blogspot.com.au.