After 40 years with Australia Post, former Katoomba and Springwood PO manager Tim Forde has finally put a stamp on the end of his career.
But far from putting his feet up in retirement, the 66-year-old man is setting off on a bike adventure, riding some 12,000 kilometres from Cairo in Egypt, through the African continent and down to Cape Town in South Africa.
Mr Forde intended to retire two years ago but was persuaded to stay on by his managers.
“I saw this bike ride so I thought for the two years I should have been retired, I’ll save money and get myself fit for the ride.”
Getting fit involved regular jaunts from his Wentworth Falls home down the hill to Linden or Springwood and then back up.
“You certainly know you’re riding the bike when you’re up here,” he said.
He and a mate also took themselves off to Bourke to experience some of the flat, corrugated roads he will encounter in Africa, riding 100 kilometres from Bourke to Louth on the banks of the Darling River and then another 130+ from Louth to Cobar, on a “shocking bit of road”, Mr Forde said.
The terrain he will cover in Africa will include such flat roads, as well as hills, dirt tracks, bush paths – a bit of everything.
He leaves Cairo on January 17 and over the next four months will ride down the Red Sea into Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and onwards to South Africa.
Mr Forde was born in Africa, in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and moved to Australia in 1977 after serving in the army for five years of the Rhodesian war.
He had already worked for the Rhodesian postal service for a decade so, coupled with his Mountains experience, he has clocked 50 years in post offices. That includes 20 years at Katoomba and eight as manager in Springwood.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Mountains,” he said. “They’ve been fantastic.”
He had been involved with both Wentworth Falls and Blue Mountains cricket clubs for years.
Mr Forde expects some of his African family, and some of his wife’s relatives, will be at the Cape Town finish line in four months to see him: “Hoping I make it, of course!”