Our Glorious return to Melbourne

We made it.  Yep that’s right.  My ride ended with me reading my computer 4015.7km then getting off the bike and heading into the Jawa Bar North Melbourne where an outstretched hand handed me a bottle of a nice European beer.

Three days earlier after leaving Warrnambool Troj and I had got our first real taste of the wet weather Victoria has been experiencing.  We got a little wet but what really surprised us was the lush green vegetation, it looked a lot like somewhere in Europe.  Troj had a few problems with his tyre, his tube had blown out dure to a tear in his rear side wall.  We stopped and patched it, hoping it would last at least to Colac.  It didn’t.  About 10km out his tyre blew again, I rode into town trying to get there before five to get a new tube and tyre.  I got there in time and headed back out, during this time Troj continued walking and I met him just 5km out of town.  After the repairs we headed into town, set up camp and had our first “major” drink in a while.  It wasn’t much but after not drinking more than two or three at one time  throughout the trip it felt like a big one on the amber liquid.  From Colac we headed along the backroads to Geelong, travelling through more lush scenery and light drizzle which kept us cool.  In Geelong we lived it up and stayed in a motel, went out for a few beers to the National to see a band and met up with Chris and Tim who were going to join us in on our ride into Melbourne.  The following morning we all met up at Cunningham Pier in Geelong with Matt from Bicycles for Humanity also joining us.  We followed the bike trail to Lara where we voted in the State elections and had breakfast.  After doing our civic duty we continued to Werribee when just on the outskirts the heavens opened up.  Within two kilometres of riding we were beyond saturated and stopped at the pub for lunch (it was a good excuse).  The publican saw us and offered to dry our clothes, while giving us clean t-shirts to wear and allowed us to leave our bikes inside out of the rain.  We stayed for a few drinks and a meal and soon realised the weather wasn’t going to get any better and had to soon get going.  Followng the federation trail towards Melbourne became an adventure.  Parts of the trail were flooded and we rode through about half a metre of water, my trailer was inundated.

At the end of the Federation trail in Brooklyn  Matt took us to where Bicycles for Humanity have their container and where they organise the bikes for shipping.  Here Andrew met us with his two little girls in the kiddy trailer.  The group then headed down Footscray Road into Docklands where Luke Troja’s Parents and my parents were waiting with friends to welcome us back.  It was good to see all the faces.  Fr4om here after a few photos and some chatting we headed to the Jawa Bar where Brett (the woner) was waiting with others.  More came and it became a but of a party.

At that point I felt a little strange, I didn’t know whether to feel releived that I had finished or sad that the journey was over.  I could have kept going, my body felt good and seeing the country go past slowly every day on my way to a new place will be missed.

I would like to thank all those who supported me, particularly Luke who joined me for half the ride, my parents and friends who all have contributed more than finances and of course all those who have donated.

This journey has taught me that you can do anything you put your mind to.  There were many times I wanted to just pull over and stop, particularly those extra long days along the Nullarbor, but I always found something to keep going.

Below are photos of the last day from Geelong to Melbourne, more photos will be added soon.




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In Warrnambool

Jesus? Irish Joke

We arrived in Warrnambool yetserday after riding in from Portland for a rest day today.  The first thing we did this morning was check out the famous Irish Pub in town where jesus appeared on the wall.  More like a drunken guy scratched some stupid silhouette into the paint and an even drunker pub goer saw jesus.  The last three days of riding has been pretty easy going along the coast from Robe, where we had another days rest and plenty of swimming in the ocean.  Port Fairy provided us with the oldest licensed pub in Victoria and we couldn’t resist having a midday day beer. 

The riding as I mentioned has been fairly easy with only slight headwinds and not many hills.  Although on the way to Mt Gambier I was feeling a little weak, probably due to 5 weeks of riding with only 4 rest days, feeling better now.  Only 3 days left of riding then into Melbourne.  Troj has been great except for his burnt legs, blistering and continous denied requests of me putting his shoes and socks on are the only things affecting him.  My Dad has met us in Warrnambool and my Mum met us in Adelaide which was good to see them and they seem excited in seeing me. 

Ok after here we go to Colac Geelong then into Melbourne on the Saturdaty the 27th.  We will be leaving the main jetty in Geelong at 9am and anyone wishing to join us can do so.  We will be arriving approximately at 4pm at the webb Bridge Docklands Melbourne.  Prepare for our glorious REturn.  After this we will be heading to the JAWA bar 297 North Melbourne for beers and to celebrate Luke’s Birthday which also occurs on this momentous day.

Photos will be posted at a later date as I forgot to bring the cable to the library.

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In Robe

Troj and I have made it to Sunny/windy Robe on the SE coast of South Australia. We are a day ahead of schedule so are having a rest day before we head towards Warrnambool due on wednesday for another rest.  Not much to say in this leg just 3 days of riding.  Again the headwinds are causing a bit of a problem, not sure about this stupid trade winds, do they actually exist..no.  Troj in his wisdom decided to wear shorts, probably for the first time in his life, and got his legs badly burnt, he walks around like he has a couple of wooden legs.   Got a few photos below.  Join us for our return at 4pm on Saturday the 27th on november at Webb Bridge Docklands.  Google it.

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In Adelaide

Alright..  Troj and I have arrived in Adelaide, came in on Saturday night after a 140km ride from Bute, a typical small country town which has downsized in recent years.  We rode through the rain and wind with Adelaide calling.  Since Ceduna we have covered almost 900km and made excellent time, now we can take it a bit easier on our way to Melbourne.  The Ceduna to Streaky Bay leg (the first for Troj) was probably the hardest since Ceduna, with a very heavy head wind for the last 30km and an absence of snacks.  Troj, the little trooper got into town first and proceeded to buy out the local supermarket of sugar based snacks.   This is pretty m,uch how it’s been for the last 6 days.  Troj is able to ride much faster than myself due to carrying much less weight and having panniers.  After Styreaky Bay we went North back to the Eyre Highway and follwed that due Port Augusta then down to Port Pirie.  We travelled through Iron Knob, an old iron mining town which now looks more like a ghost town, however, the pub was surprisingly surprising for being a converted school hall, no kids left to fill it I guess.  From Port Pirie we again went off the highway and took the back roads to Bute then to Adelaide.  It seems that this part of South Australia has seen better days, with many towns dwindling and stone churches, town halls and houses left derelict.  Bute pub is full of country folk, with lets say, more traditional views on people of other races and religions.  We also bumped into a German and British couple also on bikes riding around Australia. Now in Adelaide we have had a good rest and ready to push off tomorrow to Wellingtown then down along the coast.  We are on track to arrive in Melbourne on the 27th of November at Docklands and will keep you updated on the details of our glorious arrival.

Adelaide…IT’S OK!

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In Ceduna

Well I made it across the nullarbor, flat and dry, plus the bloody headwind.  Usually wetserlies prevail but just my luck easterlies for the whole week were blowing straight into my face.  After leaving Esperance I went east to Condingup Then up a dirt track called the Balladonia track up to Balladonia onto the Eyre Highway.  I spent three days on this track, the first day was great and I pushed about 140km but soon after that the road got worse and eventually I pushed the bike for maybe 20km, then the storm came about 40km from the end of the track.  I had to bunker down and catch the rain to drink as I had only 2 days worth of water, good fun.  Got to Balladonia and dried out all my gear and got ready for the Nullarbor.  I covered over 180km the first day and 160 km the second into head winds, this obviously sapped my energy and I could only do around 100km a day after that.  I camped at a mixture of roadside camps and roadhouses, not much out here as you can all imagine or probably know, plenty of grey nomads and road trains to keep me company though.  I met two cyclist going West at Eucla, they were thanking their lucky stars about the winds, one was finishing an 11 month journey on a recumbent, while the other was a small strong woman raising funds for lifeline.  By the way their is a Litho style cross at Eucla, probably due to the Litho people who inhabited this town, not sure if they’re still there  Anyway kept pushing and hit the treeless plain of Nullarbor, not that there is much before hand, the winds were still persisting and I was getting fairly tired.  Two days later East of Nundroo my wheel finally broke on me, It had broken a spoke about 4 days earlier and I was hoping it would last till Ceduna, but more broke and I had to stop riding it was about to collapse.  I waited on the side of the road for about 3 hours until someone was able to take me and all my gear into Ceduna just over 100km away.  Grant in his landcruiser picked me up and gave me a lift into town, very deflating, although I officially crossed the nullarbor I had to cheat. Anyway this morning TRoj turned up, we were able to get his bike and the local bike shop had the spokes, I used their workshop and in no time had the wheel fixed and troj had his bike built.  We are all set up for the next leg of the journey and will push off tomorrow for Adelaide

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In Esperance

Well I made it to Esperance, just under a quarter of the way…bam.  Rode into town at around 10pm last night after a 194km ride from Ravensthorpe.  15 hours in the saddle due to winds and hills.  Speaking of hills, the ride from Bunbury to Bridgetown, Kojonup and Ongerup (3 days) was not one for single speeds, let alone ones pulling 40 kilos of weight.  The area is hilly some of the hills trucks have to use low gears to go down so not to lose control.  Here I am going up, knees are still intact though.  I heard a bushfire was flaring up to the South West and the town of Nannup was evacuated so I though to head directly East, no problem get out of these hills and logging trucks.  Although they left a smell of freshly cut pinbe in the air as they went past in these windy roads they came a bit close more than a few times.   The logging trucks were replaced with road trains carrying sheep and cattle, not so nice smelling.  Then to add to the woes my trailer broke as I was leaving the tiny town of Ongerup.   About 120 people call this place home, not much there except a roadhouse and a general store.  Not to worry, Kevin the owner of the roadhouse was also a motorcycle mechanic, and with his welder (circa 1969) we made the trailer stronger and more stable then ever before (check out the photos).  The next two days I took fairly easy even though I had time to make up, that’s why I pushed myself into the night last night to get here.  From here on in is flat (hopefully) but long and dry.  I head East along the coast then go cross country hopefully hit Balladonia on the Nullarbor Plain in about 2 days time. I have added some photos here but my camera just went flat, I have all of them on my face book page http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=26647&id=100000801647991.

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In Bunbury

Arrived in Bunbury today after only an 80km ride, yesterday was 108km.  Will start the longer days to make sure I meet Troja on the due date.  Fantastic piece of Australia, white beaches, blue water, forests warm.  Bike and me are holding up well, nothing crazy to report yet.  Just got flooded on my first night, I think the bore near where I was camping burst or leaked or something, you can see in one of the photos below. 

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