Archive for August, 2010

End of week 4

Yesterday, I went down to Taren Point to pick up some ‘hoardings’ for my trailer. (This I did after a radio appearance on BondiFM – thanks Serena & John.) The round trip clocked up 68km and took 3:19 on the bike – Sydney is a LOT hillier than Melbourne and almost NONE of the streets are straight – this created quite a challenge for this Melburnian cyclist!

I left Sydney this morning for Gosford, twice – I had to go back to Bondi from the city centre to pick up my trailer flag. I knew there had to be a reason I couldn’t find the bike path over the Harbour Bridge!!
On advice from the guys from Bike The Earth, I decided to go via Palm Beach and catch the ferry to Ettalong Beach – a much more picturesque trip. After going down and then up the Spit – big hill that! – I turned left and headed for the Wakehurst Parkway through Frenchs Forest to keep as much as possible off the ‘main drag’.
This turned out to be a great move – once I reached Warringah Rd, the road surface was excellent; the shoulder was reasonable and the downhill from there ended, not with another uphill, with a flat ride back to the highway through lovely countryside. It was then a bit of ‘up and down’ into Palm Beach. This is a beautiful part of the world!
The ferry trip was all of half an hour and then I was back on the bike for the final 20km into Gosford and my sister-in-law Noellene’s place. It’s good to be home – even if it’s someone else’s!
I travelled 93.4km today (including the geographical embarassment in Sydney central looking for the bridge bike path and the return to Bondi) in 4:36 ‘saddle time’ to give an average of 20.2km/h – I recorded a new best maximum of 67.6km/h going down the hill from Warringah Rd!

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Chilling it in Bondi

While chilling out in beautiful downtown Bondi, I came across an interesting article on the living savvy site “Is pushing out of our comfort zone always a good thing?”

Here are my thoughts based on my experiences over the last half year or so:

If growth is your plan, then a bit of discomfort is almost inevitable – a caterpillar has to grow and change to become a butterfly. My own personal odyssey has been uncomfortable, challenging and downright scary for me.
I’m just an ordinary kind of guy – father of two wonderful kids; a husband to the most supportive person I know but an ordinary person none-the-less – and I find myself having taken on a challenge to try to help create a safe world for my kids to grow up in.

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Canberra-Breadalbane-Moss Vale-Wollongong-Sydney

I got an offer of accommodation ~30km outside Goulburn near Breadalbane – a bit of a detour but it’s the sister of an ex-CEO of the ATA, so how could I refuse! 😉 A wonderful family atmosphere which just reinforced how much I’m missing mine. They are a farming family (Maryanne, Frank & their children Annabelle, Matthew & Madeleine) and have been doing it tough these past few years with the drought. Fortunately, things look pretty good for this year so I hope things get better for them.

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Canberra weekend

Well, as I said previously, I’m in the nation’s capital. Chilling out for the rest of Saturday – had Vietnamese from a local restaurant for dinner and off to bed to sleep (soundly) again. Tomorrow is the Walk Against Warming – an event not to be missed.

It has dawned overcast, cold and threatening rain but we are determined that it won’t rain on our parade. My host Steve, the convenor of the Canberra branch of the ATA, is very much a kindred spirit – he just loves bikes and even has a new style of recumbent bike called a Cruzbike. Unlike ‘normal’ recumbents, this one is a two-wheeled, more erect bike with front-wheel drive. It looks just amazing.

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Gundagai – Yass – Canberra

Well, here I am in the nation’s capital! After 2 ½ weeks and almost 1100km, I’ve arrived to stay with yet another ATA member – it blows me away the generosity of spirit of those I am staying with.
The journey: I rolled out of Gundagai at 8am in fine blue sky weather to immediately hit a hill to join back with the Hume! Oh well, nobody said it was going to be easy. More climbing and then rolling hills with some of them knee breakers. The air temperature is quite low but I soon find myself shedding layers.
First stop was a toilet break at Coolac about an hour out of Gundagai; back onto the highway and I made good time to Jugiong for morning chocolate at The Long Track Pantry – a fine establishment tucked off the highway. Back on the bike and another set of hills leads me to my lunch stop at Bookam where I desperately try to find “Danno” – Hawaii-5-0 fans will get this; the rest of you will just have to go without. 😉 A toastie & hot chocolate under the belt sees me back out on the road climbing my way to Yass (maximum pass height – that I noticed – was 650m) and, before long the turnoff looms. Of course, it goes up and OVER the highway (I guess that’s how it gets its name), down the other side and then UP again!
Fortunately, this is almost the last climbing I will do that day. At about 3:30pm I arrive in Yass and head immediately for a bakery for some carbos and yet another hot chocolate! My final climb is a doozy to my night’s billet but it is worth it. I’ve travelled 105km today – a lot of it up – at an average speed of 19.6km/h; a new PB maximum of 62.4km/h and a bike time of 5:33 hours.
Robyn and Dick (& of course Maddie) make me most welcome in that inimitable ATA way. They live in a house clad in ExinTex – a highly insulative wall cladding material and it shows in the thermal performance of their home. We go out for a lovely meal and have a lively conversation. I astonish even me with the amount I am able to tuck away – I don’t know where it’s going but it sure isn’t going onto my belly!
A great night’s sleep and a leisurely breakfast with my hosts sees me almost get away by 10am but, no, it seems I’ve picked up some shredded steel wire in my back tyre – I thought the ‘burbs were bad with the glass; they’ve got nothing on the highway and truck tyre casings with their mandatory steel belts. So, after extricating two shards of wire from my tyre I head off but get no further than the main street before my front tyre goes soft! Another wire shard – I should have known. I’ve now used all my good tubes so let’s hope I can get to Canberra without further incident. I restart my journey at about noon.
My first stop is in Murrumbateman for, you guessed it a hot chocolate, but they also have fresh blueberry muffins – yum. I press on towards Canberra and make it to Hall for lunch. Almost there now, so I continue down the Barton Highway towards Canberra until I reach a roundabout that has been blocked off by the police so I have to take an unexpected detour – thank goodness (and Vodafone) for my phone with its maps! (I later find out there has been a bridge collapse!) I eventually arrive safe and sound in Chifley to the south of the city centre at about 4:30pm, where Steve has been waiting patiently for a couple of hours. I unload the bike and settle into my abode for the weekend. Keep Reading…

Wagga-Gundagai

Well, today was much better – and it would need to be! Before heading off I did a media spot on local ABC radio – all good.

Since I am now starting from Uranquinty not Wagga itself, I have an extra 17km to do today which will push today’s ride over the 100km mark. 🙁

It drizzled on me into Wagga from Uranquinty and, when I got there, I found a message on my phone to call WinTV in Wagga LAST night – oh well! Being the media tart I am I called anyway and they sent out a cameraman to take some more footage of me. I think this is all very weird (not being used to the attention and all) but, if it helps me get my message out there and more people to my events then it can’t be bad.

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Yack-Albury-Wagga

The ride to Albury from Yackandandah was uneventful and I arrived in time for my media appointment. I then got a call back to the park to do a piece for the Albury-Wodonga News Weekly – I’m such a tart! …..then it started raining; and boy did it rain – I got to my “warmshowers” home (a share house with 4 great people: Gemma – my host, Alex a german tourist, John her partner and Ollie – all very wonderful people who were very kind to me and good to chat with) quite wet. Had a shower and then got a call to do an interview on WinTV so back into the wet clothing and hauled everything onto the bike to make it look “authentic”. 😉

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Wang-Beechworth-Yack

I’m now nicely ensconced in Yackandandah with fellow ATA members (Frances and Iain & their family) – they treated me to a lovely dinner followed by cake (did I say that it was Iain’s birthday?) with some friends of theirs. The ATA network is just fantastic!

Tomorrow, I head down into Albury – I need to be there for 10:30am to do a media piece for Prime TV so I thought that moving on to Yackandandah was a good idea. The road down to Albury should be good and the weather should hold off (cross fingers).

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