Energy efficiency General Ride The Talk

3 Things you might not know:

1.       Australians create more GHG per capita than anyone else in the developed world

2.       Burning coal releases mercury, selenium and arsenic as well as uranium, thorium and other heavy metals – if a health impact study were done today, it would probably not be allowed.

(If your reason for avoiding Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) is that of the mercury contained therein, then use CFLs as the extra coal burnt to provide the energy to light standard globes releases more mercury than the CFL bulbs contain.)

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Week 13 – South West WA

Hi everyone, another “catch-up” blog. Sorry to keep you in suspense…..

I left South Fremantle after bidding Tim & Shani a fond farewell at about 7:30am on Sunday morning. Today’s ride will take me down the coast towards Bunbury where I will be doing a lunchtime talk tomorrow. I have decided to ride to Binningup – a distance of approximately 135km – which gives me a mere 35km to ride into Bunbury the next morning. I will be taking the scenic old coastal route rather than going down the newly opened freeway.

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Week 12 – Perth & environs

Sorry for the hiatus in posting this everyone. I have been busy since this week took place – the 12th in my odyssey.

After my rest-up in Lancelin, I got back on my trusty bike for the notional 101km haul into the outer suburbs of Perth. My destination today is Padbury and I head back out to the main highway and start on my way – headwinds again greet me, so today is likely to be a slog. By the time I make it about 90km, I am desperately in need of a break and some cold drink, so it is with great delight that I find a roadhouse and I go in for a ‘pitstop’.

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Broome, Geraldton and beyond….

The bus trip to Broome was uneventful and I arrived at about 7:30am and was greeted at the bus stop by Bart, one of my hosts for tonight, who gave me a key for their home. I rode out to their place, unloaded my bike & trailer and headed off to see the renowned Cable Beach which undoubtedly lives up to its reputation – this is truly one exquisite part of the country, made even more so by the location, as it is, in the middle of the WA outback.

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Bundaberg-Agnes Water

Well, my trip that day to the reef didn’t materialise so I just veg’d out in Bundaberg for the day. Another disappointment: my promised talk that evening has been abandoned! I don’t know what happened but there is no use worrying about it now. 🙁
The next day saw me on the road by 7:30am as this was to be a big day with predicted hot temperatures and I wanted to get into Agnes Water in the early afternoon. I was soon making good progress. Before very long I found myself near the turnoff to Rosedale. I decided on the 2km detour in order to get something to cool me down – the temperature was really starting to climb! I made it to the general store and splurged on a box of icy poles – next question: could I eat all 8! A: no – not really, but the proprietor suggested putting the excess into my drink bottle which I duly did.
Back on the road with the next stop being the roadhouse at the Miriam Vale turnoff for lunch. The people there were very friendly and, after my re-fuel, I continued on towards Agnes Water where I arrived just after 2pm. I headed for the information centre as I had a contact there that could help with some media exposure – thanks Georgia.
With a couple of photos of me and the bike outside the info centre for good measure, I then went to find myself lodgings and some food to keep me going until dinner. I settled on the Backpackers 1770 in town as it was close to everything and had reasonable rates. It was then that I discovered that, contrary to my expectations, I had a spare day up my sleeve so I quickly booked a daytrip to Lady Musgrave Island – at the southernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef. This is a coral cay which means that, if it wasn’t for the coral, it would be “Nothing Atoll”! 🙂 It looked like I would get my wish of a trip to the reef.
The bus was to pick me up at 8am so it meant another early night. The next day dawned overcast which was unfortunate but I take what I get and am thankful that I am getting to see the GBR at all. I gulp down my breakfast and get the bus down to the Town of 1770 wherefrom the tour departs. Our journey is on the MV “The Spirit of 1770” – a reasonably large high-speed catamaran-style vessel. Unfortunately the crossing is quite rough that day, so my hastily gulped down breakfast just as hastily comes back up! 🙁
The trip takes about 90 minutes to get out to the island and I am allocated the first island tour. We get out to the island on a glass-bottomed boat and so we get our first view of the reef. The island is built out of coral and the plant-life has been taken there as seeds inside birds and so the island has developed over time with abundant Pisonia forests and bird life. Many turtles also breed on the island though we missed out on seeing any during our walk. We then headed back to the pontoon where a sumptuous lunch was being served.
After lunch, I went on a semi-submersible trip around the lagoon to see the view from below water. Whilst the coral is quite amazing, I was somewhat disappointed with the colours which I thought of as ‘washed-out’. Perhaps bleaching is happening here or maybe the overcast conditions have made for a less than ideal viewing day. Nonetheless, I had a good time and topped it off by snorkelling amongst the coral & tropical fish. Quite an experience!
Fortunately the trip back to the mainland was considerably calmer so my lunch didn’t go the way of breakfast. We arrived back at about 5:45pm after a full day’s adventure. Again I will be getting up early in order to ‘beat the heat’ so it’s an early dinner and off to bed.

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My spell with Andy, Clare, Brian, Noreen (& how could I forget little Rosie) in Gympie was truly a lovely experience and has helped to dispel my homesickness on one level (but will make it all the keener on another).
I made it to Maryborough OK but, for some reason, yesterday was a very ‘flat’ day energy-wise. Terrain-wise it was anything but…. (Andy, I followed your directions and got onto the Old Maryborough Rd OK – the problem arose when I noticed a signpost pointing to Corella Rd and took it….which led me back to….Gympie!!!!!! 🙁 – I zigged when I should have zagged.)
After retracing my tyre-marks, I was finally heading in the right direction (but with an extra 8km under my belt!) and Andy’s other directions then made good sense. I got to the highway, turned off at Gunalda but already I noticed a lot of water lying about. I went over a number of bridges awash with water and finally, just before Gundiah, I had to turn back due to over 3 ft of water cutting off the road and was forced back onto the Bruce Hwy. 🙁
You are so right about this road, Andy. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I made it to Maryborough at about 4pm, found a campground and pitched my tent – with a 6pm talk, there was no way I could get to Susan River, where a kind couple, Kim & Connie, had offered me digs, get changed and get back to Maryborough still fresh. The kind fellow at the caravan park is working to ‘go sustainable’ and offered me the unpowered site for nothing. Again, generosity of spirit comes to the fore. My talk went well but to a rather small audience – I can’t understand why they vary so much. Maryborough even featured me in their daily so event advertising wasn’t the issue.
I arose early this morning, packed up my things and headed off towards Childers via Susan River – I stopped in to see Kim & Connie as I was passing anyway and then continued on my way. I made it to Childers in reasonable time and so I made the executive decision to go on to Bundaberg (only another 57km by the back way) – the talk I was supposed to do in Childers was unfortunately cancelled. I got in to Bundaberg, with only a tenacious magpie causing me grief during my ride, at about 5pm – 142km in 6:03 saddle time (I’m a MACHINE!) – this was my biggest day yet.
I hope to go out to the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow – I want to see it before it gets bleached away.

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Yandina – Gympie (via Noosa Heads)

Andy (my warmshowers billet for tonight) kindly sent me a map of how best to get to Gympie avoiding the highway. I saved the details to my netbook as a pdf as I couldn’t be assured of internet access.

The next morning (Sunday) I set off at 7:45am after having breakfast & breaking camp. It was raining lightly which became heavier for about an hour. I arrived in Eumundi and had to make my decision whether to ride to Noosa or not.

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Week 7 – Hollywell to Yandina

On Tuesday morning, I bade my good friend Rob and his parents in Hollywell farewell and hit the road again, bound this time for Shailer Park where I was to do a talk. I was making good time (perhaps because earlier I had been overtaken by a couple of girls on racing bikes who spurred me on to greater efforts!). After about an hour and a half, I decided to stop for a break at a coffee shop. It was there that I struck up a conversation with a fellow cyclist, Murray (who looks a lot like Lance Armstrong, I’ve got to say).
After chatting for a while, he offered to lead me into Brisbane via the route he takes which avoids major roads as much as possible. He also offered me a bed for the night – the generosity I am finding on my travels constantly awes me. He lives in Mt Gravatt and so, off we went. It was just as well I had a knowledgeable guide for the route was circuitous and I would have been lost many times over if left to my own devices. The one thing I notice when riding with others is that my average speed somehow magically increases. 🙂 We arrived at Murray’s home just before the heavens opened showing once again my good fortune.
My talk went well that evening and I arrived back at Murray’s place to a lovely rice dish prepared for me – delicious! I constantly amaze myself with the quantity of food I can consume without it affecting my waistline. After another restful night’s sleep I set off at 8am for my brother’s place in Woody Point, just north of Brisbane. Murray led me to the start of Creek Rd and now I know why it is called Creek Rd – not because it follows a creek but because it crosses lots of them! What a roller-coaster!!
This led me onto the cycleway over Gateway bridge – the speed signs limited me to 10kph but they had nothing to fear on that count! What a climb….. Once over, I got myself onto Nudgee Rd where I met up with my brother Bill who had come to guide me to his place in Woody Point. I have certainly been fortunate with getting into and around Brisbane, I’ve got to say – local knowledge is priceless. It was also great connecting with my brother again as we don’t see each other often enough , or for very long, and he has recently had a scare with his health. It is good to see he has slowed down somewhat and is ‘smelling the roses’ more often.
The next morning I did a media piece for the Redcliffe Herald before my presentation that evening. My Redcliffe Council contact, Glen, was almost embarrassingly effusive in his critique of my talk but it is good to get the feedback – it’s nice to know I’m on the right track with my talks.
The next morning saw me leaving for Maroochydore (or at least near there – Kuluin) – I was steered away from the main roads by my brother but, on the way, I managed to knock my phone out of my back pocket badly cracking the screen and upsetting the touch nature of it! 🙁 My phone also has my maps so this was most unfortunate. It still kind of worked so I pressed on. Eventually, I ended up on Crosby Hill Rd leading up to Buderim….and I mean UP – 10% up! I eventually got to the top and then had an even steeper grade on the way down to Kuluin (13%). I was very glad of my disc brakes, I must say though even they were fading towards the bottom. I stayed that night with the parents (Val & Bob) of a friend (Dom) from work and was made most welcome. I spoke with Vodafone that afternoon to ‘fess up to breaking their phone and they have kindly offered to send a replacement to Darwin for me. That’s just awesome & I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
My talk in this part of the world had been organised for Saturday afternoon in Yandina, about 20km to the north-west, so I decided to ride there and camp overnight at the caravan park. This was such a ‘doddle’ that I decided to leave at about 10am – quite a relaxed departure.
I arrived in Yandina a little over an hour later and soon got a call from the Sunshine Coast Daily asking that I meet with a photographer for a shoot to go with the interview I had done the previous day over the phone. Being the media floozy I am, I of course said yes. 😉
After the shoot, I headed into town to do my talk which was to a small but dedicated band of people. The connections I am making with communities all up the east coast is heart-warming. Sharon (my council contact) informed me of the Noosa Bio-Sphere Festival that would be on the next day and hoped that I could make the detour to attend. I am headed for Gympie and will have to see how the weather holds up, apart for anything else – the forecast is for rain in the afternoon.