I bid Michelle and Jo adieu and headed off on Monday morning bright and early. Well, the journey to Swansea was the first time I have managed to get my average above 20km/h for the day! Only just, mind you, but I’m not going to quibble about degrees. I did 108.7km today rolling down the east coast with what felt like a bit of a tailwind. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. What a great part of the country this is – [small] rolling hills and great views of the Tasman Sea until I reached Bicheno when the road headed inland. I stopped there for some grapes and a drink before continuing on my way.
Well, after suffering near-terminal blog-block way back in Western Australia, I’m back on the case!
When last I posted about my journey, I was in Nannup in South-west Western Australia staying with Bee & her partner Stewart.
I have since made it back to Melbourne so I will give you a brief outline of how I got here:
From Nannup I rode up through wind, rain (& hail) to Bridgetown – the talk there was disappointing in that only two people turned up but two is better than none and so the show went on. I would have perhaps been better to talk in Manjimup but hind-sight is as always good-sight.
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.
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’.
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.
Today’s journey will take me to Gladstone (about 130km) so I need to make haste. I manage to cover the 30km back to the Miriam Vale turnoff before 9:15am so I take time out for a cake & drink at the roadhouse I had lunch at two days prior. It is then back on the road and my next stop is Miriam Vale where I stop for morning tea of a bun and strawberry milk. I hear of a couple of cyclists travelling in my direction in front of me.
Andy (my warmshowers billet for tonight) kindly sent me a bikely.com 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.
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.