Canberra-Breadalbane-Moss Vale-Wollongong-Sydney by: JK | Thu 19 Aug

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.

-3C this morning in Breadalbane and the frost was thick on the ground. I had another 100+ km day today to get me to Moss Vale. (….where I’m staying with the person I was trying to organise a talk through – council said no, but she offered to put me up for the night. Just marvellous!) I made it to Breadalbane proper in time to wave to Annabelle as she was about to board the school bus. She’s a sweetie!

I got to Marulan without incident for morning hot chocolate and bought myself a sandwich for later as there is not much in the way of opportunities between there and Moss Vale. The rest of the trip was uneventful except for witnessing some beautiful countryside at a stop to eat my sandwich and another for the requisite hot chocolate in Sutton Forest at a hotel there. I had to go into the bistro there for my drink and couldn’t help but notice the halogen downlights – all 48 of them (and that was just in the bistro!) – that’s 2.4kW of lighting that is on for 12 hours a day.

After finishing my beverage I sought out the publican, a lovely lady, and found out that she had been talking to her accountant only that morning about her escalating power bills. I gave her some details on some new technology that may help her and carried on my way. I headed off again and managed to get into Moss Vale by about 3:00pm – the local bike shop there wasn’t able to provide the type of patches I needed to replenish my supplies so I will pick these up in Wollongong.

My host for this night was the lovely Kimberly and she is somewhat of a kindred spirit (working in the sustainability area herself). Her dog Zorro was  delightful & intelligent, if somewhat demanding of attention – all good. I gave Kimberly a mini-version of my talk and she came away with some good resources I hope. She even went as far as to set some essential oils burning in my room to help me sleep – not that sleeping has often been an issue for most of this trip! Again the thoughtfulness of my hosts is a delight to me.

After a good breakfast under my belt, I headed off at about 8:45 for Wollongong – a later than normal start but it is mainly downhill and only about 70km today so I thought I could stand the delay. 🙂 I made the Robertson Country Bakehouse by 9:30am for a cream and jam bun and hot chocolate. Delicious!! I don’t know how I’m keeping the weight off but off it remains.

I carried on down the road and headed down Macquarie Pass. I stopped to take a photo of my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from the top of the pass. Absolutely amazing! It’s scenery like this that I get to see that others in cars must miss that really makes me glad I’m on a bike. My trailer is still tracking so stably behind me that I almost forget it’s there. Going downhill, I must be careful though as it adds considerably to the braking distances even though I have hydraulic discs. Against my normal instincts, I was on the brakes a lot and just as well – the road was closed to traffic near the bottom as a truck had broken down in the oncoming lane – this caused quite a backlog of traffic and I came upon it as I came around a bend! Sometimes being conservative can almost save your life. I carried on and recorded my top speed that day of 59.4km/h as the winding road straightened out.

When I reached Albion Park I stripped off a layer of clothing as the day was now getting quite warm. On the freeway I was able to motor along for at least part of the way at a respectable 43km/h – soon I had to leave the freeway however and take to the old Pacific Highway. I was soon climbing again and before long I reached Wollongong. I had ridden the full 70km and arrived before noon making my travel time less than 3 hours and my average speed over 25km/h – it’s amazing what a good bit of downhill will do for your stats!

Kimberly organised with her friend Linda to host me in the ‘gong – thanks both of you; it’s greatly appreciated. 🙂 That afternoon I did another interview with WinTV and the next morning I did a radio interview – the media interest is very heartening. Later that afternoon I did my talk in Wollongong at the University. Again the numbers were lower than I would have liked but beggars can’t be choosers – I think I connected with them and that is better than not connecting at all. Perhaps it was the afternoon time-slot; perhaps lack of promotion – the WinTV interview was aired after my talk. 😛

Since I ended up with an extra day in Wollongong, I decided to head on to Sydney on election day (21st August) – I had been told of a bike path that skirted the ocean for a lot of the distance up the coast. I thought this might be good so I headed off along the path grabbing ‘to-die-for’ vistas that just screamed ‘photograph me’ – I wondered if I would make it to Sydney by nightfall, such was the stopping for shots! I decided also to go through Royal National Park to avoid the highway as much as possible. This turned out to be another good idea and I enjoyed the tranquillity of riding amongst the trees very much. The downside to this was the climbing that I of necessity had to do as every downhill had its requisite uphill. Still, I believe it was worth it and eventually I found myself leaving the park and re-joining the Princes Hwy.

I was able to put on a good speed travelling along the shoulder of the highway and soon found myself on the outskirts of Sydney. Now the fun began! There were signs up to “Share the Road” and “Beware of Cyclists” but for many drivers these held no sway. I found it especially challenging going through a tunnel near the airport with several angry honks from cars behind. I kept as far left as it was safe to be and just hoped that I didn’t need to swerve to avoid any potholes or other obstacles. Eventually, I managed to get off the highway and onto backstreets and, before long, I found myself at my niece’s place in Bondi. Again, it’s good to be home (be it far from home or not) and this time especially so as I will be settling here for almost a week.

Canberra-Breadalbane-Moss Vale-Wollongong-Sydney

Week 03

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