Francis Birtles left Fremantle, Western Australia in December, 1905 to cycle to Melbourne. This was a great trip for the age, and attracted a lot of interest from the public. In 1909, he published Lonely Lands, the story of his journey.
His other adventures included setting a cycling record for the Fremantle to Sydney crossing, and riding around Australia several times. By 1912, Birtles had circumnavigated Australia twice and crossed the continent seven times.