Ride The Talk

Handy hints #2

Walk, ride a bike or take public transport to the shops, work or school. Walking and riding can have a positive benefit on your health as well. This will also help you connect with others and help restore the community we seem to be lacking nowadays.

If you must drive, consider car pooling as a way of reducing your personal greenhouse gas contribution. If you rotate who drives, you will also save lots of money.

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…and on into Queensland

Another milestone – I am now in Queensland, having decided to cross the border early and catch up with an old school friend.

I left “Chateau Poss” and my kind source of a comfy bed just after 8am bound for Tweed Heads and beyond. I headed back up Friday Hut Rd and then down that steep climb I came up on Friday…but, I stopped so often to take photos, I lost the benefit of the descent – such wonderful countryside!

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The journey continues – week 6

Saturday was a day of leisure, domestics and discovery in Bellangry (about 17km from Wauchope) – I had a leisurely breakfast with Stuart & Heather and, once my clothes washing was out of the way, I set to repairing punctured tubes and giving my bike a minor service. Stuart then took me up to his shed – he has been converting a Daihatsu Charade to an electric car. I must say the quality of the workmanship was great – very, very neat work. The car itself runs very well and….so quiet – it’s odd to have a vehicle other than a bike move so silently! This thing has oomph as well – Stuart drove me around his property and it is more than capable of climbing quite steep hills – impressive. We managed to while away the day quite easily. I was leaving the next day and Stuart offered to ride with me to the highway.

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Week 5 – Gosford to Wauchope

I encountered some more geographical embarrassment – this is getting to be a habit, but at least this time I was mainly unladen – in the central coast on Monday before my talk, after meeting with the guys from BikeTheEarth. I did 74.3km in 3:12 hrs at an average of 23.2km/h and a maximum of 68.7km/h and found myself in all sorts of interesting places I didn’t expect!

I headed off on Tuesday morning bound for Newcastle and took the more picturesque but somewhat hilly coastal route. Again I managed to raise the bar on maximum speed – 72km/h this time. I stopped at a bakery in Budgewoi for morning tea of a couple of cream buns – true cyclist’s food!

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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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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.