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.
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.
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.
I arrived in Wangaratta from Shepparton today.
Yesterday I rode from Bendigo to Shepparton and the 135 km took me 5 1/2 hours on the bike – that’s an average of 24.5km/h – I’m a machine! 😉 I went through Colbinnabin, Rushworth & Tatura; some lovely parts of central Victoria.
When cycling, you travel at a speed that allows you to appreciate the scenery.
To get to Wang, I decided (with advice from my lovely hosts from last night, Glenn & Lisanne) to ride through Dookie and over the Warby Ranges – a much more picturesque route – unfortunately, this also meant a bit of climbing with the added downside of a false summit to contend with. 🙁 At 101km, this was a shorter day, so I slowed my pace to a more comfortable average of 22.5km/h and 4:30 in the saddle. this is still a pleasing pace and my body is holding up remarkably well for an ‘old codger’. 😉
Well, I’ve presented in Ballarat and now Daylesford and my talks are actually starting to feel quite comfortable now. Some great questions from the audience in both locations and there has been some energetic to & fro that has stimulated me as well as the audience.
As I expected, this journey will be as much of an eye-opener for me as it will be for those I am trying to inspire. Hopefully, the stuff I learn along the way I can impart to others in my trek. There are people in both these locations who are an inspiration themselves. I will try to live up to their standards.
It’s now less than two weeks before I leave my home and family to promote Energy Efficiency Australia-wide.
Well, it’s getting close now! I head out of Melbourne on the 29th July towards Ballarat and won’t see my family again until nearly Xmas-time. It’s really beginning to dawn on me the enormity of this undertaking but it will be all worthwhile if it helps to save energy and bring this issue into focus for people.
July presentations are starting to fill up – the week prior to my departure is full.
Look in my calendar http://www.ridethetalk.com.au/calendar-2/ to see where I am and where I’m going. If you hover over a date it will show you details of the presentation. If there are no details there, your council hasn’t signed up yet; please get in touch with your local council to ask for a presentation near you! 🙂