The West

Mexican cyclist flies her national flag
Mexican cyclist flies her national flag

For many Australians the word ‘‘Mexico’’ may conjure images of crime and corruption, but a longdistance cyclist from the central American country is trying to change that.

Fifty-four-year-old Bertha Corte rolled into Manjimup last Tuesday, seven months into her solo ride around Australia to change people’s perceptions of her homeland.

The former United Nations ecological consultant decided totake action after moving to Sydney three years ago and getting tired of encountering negative views of her native Mexico.

‘‘All people thought of was crime and corruption but there’s so many wonderful things about my country like the history, the beautiful scenery and the friendly locals so I decided to ride around Australia alone to raise awareness of this,’’ she said.

And it hasn’t been easy. Ms Corte said she has survived a night-time attack by wild dogs in a deserted rest area before reaching Tennant Creek and had also had her bike and all her gear stolen from a McDonald’s in Perth.

Luckily CCTV footage led to the recovery of her belongings and she was continuing on her way to Albany last Wednesday, averaging about 100km a day.

‘‘Never have I been alone for such long periods before,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s an amazing experience; you become more confident, but if I was to advise anyone about doing this trip I would say to do it with others as it would be more fun.’’

She said crossing the Nullarbor would no doubt be another tough phase in her epic journey, but she was feeling optimistic about arriving back in Sydney about November.

‘‘This is the most amazing experience of my life. It’s an adventure I began with the intention of changing people’s perceptions of Mexico, but I’ve got more out of it than I ever could have imagined,’’ she said.

‘‘I hope, by meeting people and engaging in conversations about my country, I have encouraged some to travel to Mexico to see for themselves what a wonderful place it really is.’’

To read Bertha’s blog visit

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