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First Published Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Cycling in Australia

19:21 AEST Wed Apr 15 2009

A 15-year-old Brisbane boy with Asperger’s syndrome who went missing for two weeks has been found in Sydney, after riding his bike more than 950km down the Pacific Highway.

Police found Ethan Johnson of Kingston, south of Brisbane, at Merrylands train station, in western Sydney on Good Friday.

He had slept at truck stops and under bridges, and ate at fast-food restaurants during his six-day, dawn-to-dusk ride to Sydney.

He had as good a reason as any for the epic journey down the east coast on one of Australia’s busiest highways – because he thought he could.

“I just wanted to see if I could get down to Sydney on a bike and how long it was going to take,” Ethan told the Nine Network’s A Current Affair program on Wednesday.

Ethan said he had planned the adventure since November last year and made no apology for failing to call his mum to let her know he was okay.

“At the time, I didn’t want her to know where I was,” he smiled.

His mother, Tammy Johnson, said they had to keep putting a little bit of money in his keycard account each day so that he could continue to eat, but not enough so that he could get further away.

Ethan decided to make the trek because he didn’t get to see enough of the city during a school excursion when he was 12, she said.

He was last captured on closed circuit television about 9.20am (AEST) on March 30, leaving the Robina train station on the Gold Coast.

“Because we had the CCTV footage, we knew he was safe and the fact that he kept using his keycard as he went along we knew where to find him when he hit Sydney,” she told AAP.

“We kept putting a little bit in his account each day so he could buy food but not too much so he couldn’t get too far.

“We got him on the morning he took the last bit of money from his account.”

Ms Johnson said that when she was finally reunited with her son, she gave him a big cuddle and he started crying.

“However, he’s quite happy. He just didn’t think to tell anyone he was going for a bike ride to Sydney,” she said.

“He got a bit disappointed because he was found a bit quicker than he thought he would be. He didn’t get to explore too far.

“He had ventured into the heart of the city but there were too many people so he left the city area – he doesn’t like crowded areas.”

Ethan told his mum it was good to be back home and he wouldn’t do it again.

Asperger’s syndrome is a autism-related disorder which inhibits a person’s ability to socially interact.

Source:   http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=801603

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