• Tilmann Waldthaler (Twitter: @TWaldthaler)Source: Twitter: @TWaldthaler
The incredible story of lifelong cyclist Tilmann Waldthaler, who has cycled over 520,000 kilometres through 143 countries and now lives in Cairns, has been revealed.
SBS Cycling Central
20 Feb 2021 - 2:28 PM 

The now 78-year-old has shared his incredible lifelong adventures with ABC Far North Queensland. 

Waldthaler was born in Germany but raised in The Dolomites - a mountain range in North-East Italy. 

In 1972, on the way to Darwin from Cairns, he met a "crazy guy on a bicycle" who was cycling around the world. 

"I was fascinated by the stories he told me, and I thought, 'Wow, if he can do that maybe I should try to do that too," he told Sharnie Kim.

Inspired by this encounter, five years later Waldthaler - then age 35 - decided to commence an incredible 55,000-kilometre journey over five years starting in New Zealand, crossing Asia and the Middle East and ending up in the Arctic Circle in Norway. 

"When I look back, these five years on the bike, it was my apprenticeship in life."

"It changed my complete life. I became a different person."

Over the years, Waldthaler - who came to Australia in the 1960s as a trained pastry chef - continued to embark on epic cycling adventures all over the world. 

He went from Alaska to Patagonia over a span of three years, around the world via the equator from Dakar to Dakar in Senegal over four years and over five years he travelled from Norway's North Cape to South Africa's Cape of Good Hope. 

In 1982 he even met his wife Renate cycling in the Sahara Desert by herself. 

Waldthaler declared it was the 'freedom' of cycling that made him pursue these mind-boggling journies. 

The passionate traveller even worked in the bike industry for two decades, testing products and writing articles. 

Now, he and his wife live in a retirement village in Cairns and still cycle today. 

"I can jump on my bike and do 160km today."

"I don't look like an 80-year-old, I don't think like an 80-year-old, I don't act like an 80-year-old person,

"I have never been in hospital for any length of time. I don't take any tablets, blood thinners or whatever people take,"

"It doesn't matter how old you are. If you really want to do something, if you're energetic enough, you can fulfil your dreams, and this is my dream — to go cycling."