Arthur Richardson was the first cyclist to cross Australia’s stifflingly hot Nullabor Plain in 1896. He described the heat as “1,000 degrees in the shade”. The harrowing conditions weren’t enough to put him off though. Four years later, Richardson set another first: cycling around Australia.
His ride totaled some 18,000km and was recorded in his book, Story of a Remarkable Ride. Sadly, Richardson was badly injured in World War I and this plagued him. He became mentally ill and in 1939 he committed suicide, after killing his second wife.
You can read a 1900 newspaper article about Richardson ride online, from the archives of the Australian National Library. It comes in 3 parts: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.