Chris Barker during a recent ride with the bunch. Image: Facebook

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Tributes Flow For IndyPac Veteran Chris ‘Caveman’ Barker

He’s one of Australasia’s most passionate, committed and accomplished long-distance bikepackers, and also one of the friendliest and most helpful riders out there. His sixth IndyPac start, at the end of the 2024 edition of the gruelling 5500km ride across Australia, Chris ‘Caveman’ Barker will have logged close to 30,000 cross-continental kilometres.’

That is how a planned interview with IndyPac veteran Chris Barker aka ‘IPWRCavemanSix’ would have started, the enthusiastic South Australian keen to share his IndyPac tale with readers during the second week of the 2024 event.

Instead, we are joining countless others in mourning his loss, 62yo Chris being hit and killed by a motorist in Western Australia at around 6am on Thursday morning. Chris Barker was 1313km into the marathon Perth-Sydney ride and around 190km west of the SA border.

Thousands are mourning the loss of Chris Barker AKA Caveman who was killed after being hit by a truck in a suspected hit-and-run during the 2024 IndyPac. Image: Supplied.

In a moving and heartfelt tribute, Barker’s son Aiden said he couldn’t express how devastated he and his family are.

“I’ve never heard him speak so much about a ride before this one,” he said. “Dad was doing something that he loved,” he added. “My family lost a great person and so did his IPWR family.”

It is believed Barker was hit by a truck, with police stating it was a hit-and-run.

Another 2024 IndyPac rider, a man aged in his 50s, was also hit by a truck, around 2 hours later, approximately 400km west of where Mr Barker was killed.

The second rider was treated at the scene and later airlifted flown to Royal Perth Hospital. He is reported to be in a serious but stable condition.

Remembering Chris Barker

A friend of ours here at Bicycling Australia, Chris Barker was an outgoing, amiable, helpful and incredibly enthusiastic rider.

Always helpful, super friendly and incredibly generous, tributes have flowed in for IndyPac rider Chris Barker.

In his 2024 IndyPac bio he wrote –

‘Having a crack at a 6th IndiPac. 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, cancelled day two border closing due to Covid 19 & 2022 (3rd place).
Love the camaraderie in this incredible cross-continent challenge. Every year is a new story.
I look forward to meeting and possibly riding with IPWR riders along the route.
My treasured memory was meeting & sharing an “Overlander” moment with Mike Hall at the South Mole Lighthouse in Fremantle several days before the race.
The toughest year for me by far, was the inaugural IPWR when attempting to ride an ultra-distance event with a fully laden (touring mode) a Surly LHT bicycle.’

Tributes Flow For the ‘Caveman’

Tributes have poured in for the much-loved husband, father, cyclist and friend to many.

These include –

  • I never met Chris but I felt I knew him I am devastated to learn of your loss and send you my heartfelt condolences at the loss of such a great man He was always there for me and in his own way helping me through the loss of my son Mike Hall I really do feel for you and your family He will be sorely missed by me as well as hundreds of others from.the Indie Pac family Ride in Peace Chris So sorry my heart breaks for you. Patricia Hall
  • Chris was the first rider I met at Fremantle before the start of the 2018 IPWR. Since then becoming a friend online, Chris watching my dot on my rides and checking on me often. Today we lost a gentleman on or off the bike, his love of the IPWR and its “family” is truly inspiring. My condolences to Chris’ family. Eternal tailwind my friend. Dale Tan.
  • Rest in Peace Chris – you are and always will be an inspiration to us all. I didn’t know you sadly, but your Facebook posts in the Dot Watchers group were always so supportive, happy and kind. I’m sending all my love to your family and friends. We are all heartbroken for you and for them.
  • My darling Chris, my heart is broken and the pain is unbearable. I love you and will forever miss your golden heart. Thank you for all the adventures we have shared together. Sleep well my love, I’ll see you in the morning xxx
    Forever your Laanie xxx
  • I was just a few days ago talking to Chris on private messenger regarding his ride and his excitement at doing this one after missing a few.. I cannot believe this. My thought. Prayers are with you all.. so, so sorry for your sudden loss..
  • Love and condolences to family and friends. A true legend of the event. Ride on Chris.
  • I love you, Dad. I wish we had more time.
  • Absolutely tragic! Rest in peace Caveman condolences to his family and friends
    Jacqueline Pemberton
  • Bloody hell 🙁 so many hours spent riding with you over the years. Love you mate, such an inspiration.
  • This is so hard to comprehend mate. I’m so sorry.
  • Unbelievable….Chris was so safety conscious, so experienced & had prepared so well for this ride. Caught up with him just a week or so ago…Thoughts with Lainie & family.

Bicycling Australia offer our deepest sympathies to Chris ‘Caveman’ Barker’s family, friends and loved ones. Rest In Peace Chris.


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