(Originally posted Saturday 24 March, 2007)
Safely home after the inaugural ‘Cycling Across Borders’, Mount Gambier to Melbourne Ride!
Not too much pain, quite good weather and only a few dramas.
What did we learn…well…there is a trail of onions between Mount Gambier and Camperdown, head winds hurt, small bats can become roadkill, the shoulders of most of our roads need widening, and it’s not much use waving to anybody.
Day 1, Friday 16 March – Mount Gambier to Dartmoor [50km – 2 hours]
Left Tenison Woods College at 11am after addressing the middle school assembly. Were presented with a $200 donation from the Student Council for MSF, plus a book and letter of greeting from the Mayor of Mount Gambier Steve Perryman to present to the Lord Mayor of Melbourne.
Quick stop in town for a banana, then to the Princes Highway to have the heavy transports whistle past us. Had old friends Barry and Glenda cheering us at one point; Billy attempted a stop while keeping his feets clipped to the pedals, with amusing crashlanding resulting.
Met by schoolchildren and police escort at Dartmoor and cycled up to school with them. Pleasant function followed at Dartmoor District Museum where locals chatted and wished us success.
Day 2, Saturday 17 March – Dartmoor to Ettrick [60km – 2.5 hours]
Departed in ideal conditions at 9.30am and cruised up the Greenwald Hill on the edge of town in fine spirits. Disappointed though that mobile phone reception was not good enough to do a live cross to ABC Regional Radio Mount Gambier.
Quick feed of doughnuts at the Heywood Bakery before zooming to Ettrick and our pickup point.
Returned home to celebrate Elly’s birthday – the right thing to do given she is the backup crew, much loved partner and mother [have to say that in public!].
Day 3, Sunday 18 March – Ettrick to Warrnambool [85km – 4 hours]
Resumed where we stopped the previous day, a little fearful of the forecast south-easterly wind. Was fine through Bessiebelle and even past Orford as we rotated at the front quite frequently.
But once we turned onto the Koroit Road! With only some dried apple to sustain us, it was a long, slow push to Warrnambool – 2 hours for 37km.
Quite tired when we arrived in the city at 7pm, but revived by a fantastic pasta dish prepared by Aunty Pat and Uncle Kev.
Day 4, Monday 19 March – Warrnambool to Murghebuloc [ 170km – 8 hours]
It only takes 5 minutes for the bottom to readjust to being in the saddle again, then another 5 minutes for it to be wishing it wasn’t!
Cool morning with a hint of breeze as we sped to Terang, stopping only for a publicity shot in front of the Great Ocean Road signs [more of that later].
Much needed ham and salad roll at the Terang Bakery after 2 hour stint, then onto Camperdown with conditions a little tougher. At least the shoulders of the road were wide and we kept seeing those onions to reassure us we were on the right road?
Lunch! Rest! Then turned northwards towards Cressy; both Billy and Michael pleased that a tailwind picked up just as the support vehicle drove past. Whistled through Foxhow at 30kph. Now, apologies to the residents of Foxhow…but we wouldn’t have missed anything if we have trebled our speed though ‘town’.
Quick break at Cressy before continuing east on Hamilton Highway. Very smug when we considered the time-distance log, but a bit prematurely so. The sea breeze sprung up and it was a character building last 25km.
Delighted to step off the bikes straight into Ken and Monica’s spa!
Rejuvenated, we attended the City of Geelong Lions Club dinner meeting to speak about our project. Other guest speakers spoke about fundraising for an Acute Leukodystrophy [AL] Support Group. AL is a rare but ultimately, fatal degenerative genetic disorder and the support group is also worthy of your assistance. We felt a little inadequate in our cycling quest as a couple of the speakers had done amazing feats like cycling 4000km from Perth to Sydney in 13 days [3 times!] and walking Australia top-to-bottom from Cape York to Cape Bruny
Day 5, Tuesday 20 March – Murghebuloc to Melbourne [100km – 5 hrs]
Stops at two of our ride supporters: Degrandi Sports in Geelong and G&D Cycles in Werribee. Do yourself a favour and shop there!
There are bike paths and bike paths. Geelong to Lara, and Werribee to Melbourne are two of them – but not the best of them. The former is ok for a family outing provided you start from the edge of town. And the latter gets you away from traffic until you hit the edge of town. But we are progressing – let’s get more of them.
City cyclists would know you must always assume cars are going to turn left in front of you – it’s a bonus if they don’t. On one occasion it was lucky Michael had made the assumption!
Into Docklands we rode, chatted to two passing police cyclists who then offered to escort us into the city! Didn’t have to worry about traffic then, all vehicles kept a healthy separation!
Photo under the Flinders St Station clocks and it was to the Melbourne Town Hall for afternoon tea with Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer. Extremely interesting chat during which we handed over our letter, received a reciprocal gift, took photos and felt a little bit special.
More photos outside for the Education Times, then it was a much deserved and appreciated dinner at Olmecs Cafe, Richmond, before retiring to our perennial ‘hotel’ in Melbourne at the Aylwards.
A late night, or was that early the next morning, report for ABC Regional Radio Warrnambool.
And that was it – over.
Many thanks to our old ‘treadlies’ for handling the task with aplomb. Narry a break, puncture or even squeak despite not even getting a service before leaving! It meant the back-up wasn’t needed, but thanks anyway Elly and Oma/Mum. To our friends ands relatives who put us up – superb. For Billy and Michael? What doesn’t drive us apart should bring us closer together. Tolerance is a wonderful thing!
And to those people who listened to our cause, and have already donated money. You have made it all worthwhile. Keep up the good work because MSF will be keeping it up at their end.
Rotterdam…Rome…here we come.