Laurie ‘Truck’ Sams swaps bikes with a local during the early stages of his ride from Hanoi to Sydney.
Laurie ‘Truck’ Sams swaps bikes with a local during the early stages of his ride from Hanoi to Sydney. Contributed

Former SAS soldiers take on 10,000km bike odessey

TROY Lockyer could be kicking back at home taking it easy.

Instead, the former SAS soldier has been battling torrential rain, dodgy roads and even worse drivers on a bicycling odyssey.

And he's been doing it for a mate.

Troy recently joined fellow SAS veteran Laurie "Truck" Sams on part of a 10,000km ride from Hanoi to Sydney to support veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Laurie, 67, served with the SAS in Vietnam in 1970 before losing a leg in a parachute accident in 1995.

He set out from Hanoi on May 12 and aims to reach the steps of Sydney Opera House on November 20. 

So far he's ridden his trusty bike through the steamy jungles and paddy fields of Vietnam in intense wet season humidity dodging potholes, motorcycles, buffalos and lumbering lorries.

He's even featured on Vietnam's English language TV channel VTV4. 

He was recently joined by Troy and ex-Trooper Giles Beresford-Peirse for the 1490km leg from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok and the Thai border town of Surat Thani.

There, former SAS warrant officer Matt Brown took over co-rider duties for the 1220km leg to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur.  

Troy employs both Giles and Matt in the Perth office of his his security company Lockforce, which is made up of ex-SAS operatives offering security services to the mining sector and other industries. 

"These guys are younger than me and they're super competitive, so I'm going to have to pick up the pace a bit," Laurie lamented.

"We fly from Singapore to Perth but then there's the Nullarbor and beyond, probably with another bunch of whip-cracking slave drivers."

A world champion parachutist, Laurie was awarded Australia's Star of Courage in 2001 for saving his tandem parachute student in the 1995 accident.

After learning to walk with a prosthetic leg, he led two trekking expeditions along the Thai section of the notorious Thai Burma Railway and has completed charity bike rides right around Asia, especially in Vietnam. 

He said he set his sights on "the long ride home" to Australia as a friendship initiative between Australia and Asia and to support injured veterans.

"I'm blown away at the number of vets suffering from PTSD and other injuries, not just from Vietnam but all the conflicts we have been involved in before and since," he said.

"I lost mates in Vietnam and many others are still suffering terribly, so I'm using the ride to raise money for their treatment and really shine a spotlight on their problems." 

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