Category: Trans Oceania 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

Enjoying a tailwind and a bit of sun!

The Nullarbor was long and basically didn’t change until Port Augusta: headwind and an open and long road. I started to get pain in my neck/shoulders, I was done with the dead kangaroos and the number of plastic bottles on the side of the road, and I could use a change.

Cycling into Port Augusta was a bit of fun. 15 kilometer downhill / flat, a soft shoulder, and roadtrains coming from both directions. I was so happy with my bicycle that I could jump on the soft gravel shoulder with 34 km/hour, and jump on the road again once they were passed – I love my bike!

Port Augusta was a refreshment, a bit of civilization, trees and nice restaurants. A really nice place for a rest day. And Port Augusta has a very cool botanic garden. The garden was established in 1993 to research, conserve and promote a wider appreciation of Australia’s arid flora zone (the Nullarbor may seem barren and lifeless, the opposite is true). Here are some pictures of awesome plants that are adapted to thrive in an environment where temperatures are extreme and drought can last for decades:

http://www.aalbg.sa.gov.au/about.html












Oh, and did I mention that there is a nice cafe as well?

The ride out of Port Augusta was a 30 kilometer long uphill (1-3%), and once over the pass, the world changed. Literally. From dust and dry desert, to green farmland once over the pass. There were farms and villages here and there and I was cruising through the country side. Melrose is a nice place with a cool bicycle shop.
What do you do when you need to get out of the saddle and need a 5 minute break? Yep, stop and have a nice conversation with a few cows!



After 3 days cycling (400 km) we cycled into Adelaide. And to be honest, I didn´t see much of town. My legs desperately needed a rest day and watching a movie, reading a bit and hanging around in the hotel seemed a perfect do-nothing strategy. I did went to the Waite Arboretum – 800 species / 2,500 specimens (trees and shrubs) from around the world, growing under natural rainfall, in one place. Cool place!

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/waite-historic/arboretum/



From Adelaide it was only 1.100 km to Melbourne. Initially land inwards: more cows! On our section from Kingston to Beachport we had a ‘coke’ stop (beer tasting) at a local brewery in Robe. Rob Town Brewery is a small family-run boutique brewery striving to make use of traditional and sustainable methods of brewing. And we tasted an exquisitely, smooth, sweet and strong amber ale, which has been made with a piece of ambergris found on the beach near Robe!
https://robetownbrewery.com.au/



From Lake Albert (one day after Adelaide) we cycled mostly along the coast all the way to Melbourne. Beautiful!

Places like Port Campbell, Appolo Bay and Torquay are tourist beach towns with cafes and restaurants, as well as beach activities. For some reason, the day from Cowes to South Duddley was only 40 kms. So our tour leader came up with a team challenge:


#1 The creative group picture – it was the first time I was in jail!

#2 This was a night to remember with Barb, Rinda and two aussie bikers!

#7 Not our best performance but we got points for it

#9 Chelsea our Tour Chef on a bicycle

#10 Don’t ask what’s in the watermelon 🙂

Obviously we won! 😉

A tough stretch Australia

The Nullarbor Plain is a relatively flat, almost treeless and a arid (severe lack of available water) part of southern Australia. It’s the world’s largest single exposure of limestone bedrock of about 200,000 square kilometers. It was the toughest stretch of cycling I have ever done.

The thing is, I knew it is 9 days of cycling from Norseman to Ceduna, with two days of 180+ km cycling, and two days of 150+ km. I knew I was about to cycle Australia’s longest straight road (146 km). I know there were road trains. And that’s all right.

Someone told us that it rains about 6 days a year – we got 5 of those. You know, cold and wet in the morning and no sun during the day to warm up. And you know, that’s also all right.

It never crossed my mind that we could have more than 1,100 km headwind! Call me naïve, growing up in flat countryside Groningen, I should have known better.

But sometimes it is what it is.

Cycling 184 km on the Nullarbor, with a strong headwind and drizzling rain throughout the day, it took me about 11 hours:

  • eat well and go to bed early: 19:30 hours (yes, that is possible)
  • start early means: get up at 05:30 hours (difficult, but possible)
  • drop of bag at 06:15 hours, breakfast at 06:25 hours
  • on the bike by 06:35 hours
  • lunch at 75 km, still cold feet at 11:00 hours
  • refreshment at 135 km, as there are no coke stops
  • just rolling into camp before sunset at around 17:45 hours

Long day. Doable and exhausting.

But it has been beautiful. Amazing sunrise, and sunset, kangaroos (both dead and alive) hopping around, and endless views (which are mostly all the same, but still, beautiful). Here are a view pictures:











And if you think this is tough?! Meet Joe:

Joe is walking (!) from Perth to Sydney, including the Nullarbor, for charity ‘Sane Australia’ – promote mental health awareness. 40km a day, 5,000 km in total! Great cause, please support him by donating here: https://www.gofundme.com/trekking-with-joe

Follow his journey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trekking.joe or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trekkingwithjoe/

Interview with myself

Three weeks in the saddle, long days on the road – time for sharing experiences. So, an interview with myself, and a bit of help from Neil (N) over lunch, and from Barb (B) on a rest day.

(N) How is the food and do you like cold cheese?
Chelsea is cooking delicious every day. Particular the steaks and halloumi salads. At lunch, a sandwich with peanut butter and jam always does it. Not sure what your question is about cold cheese?

 

(N) How is your bump? (a more important question as time goes by for sure)
Ha, doing so so. Have to get used to new saddle I guess – it’s not an office chair. Bump is a bit soar at the moment and I am not sure if people are interested in reading more details about saddle sore 🙂

(N) When are you going to change the oil in your damn Rohloff?
Ha, probably in Sydney? I have to admit, it needs to happen.

(N) What stuff has nearly killed you? Magpies, snakes, road trains?
Nothing so far – fingers crossed. Overall, drivers are careful especially the ones driving a 36.5 meter road train. Cars quite often drive slowly behind me while I’m going uphill. Road trains are always friendly and cautious – probably because they know they give you a blast of wind. Snakes don’t like people although they are fascinating creatures. Magpies are territorial and annoying, especially on a busy road uphill. I had multiple attacks and fortunately only one hitting my helmet.

(N) Whats your best piece of gear?
Could I choose two? My Jack Wolfskin tent is really easy to setup, provides a lot of space for me and my bag and is comfortable to sleep in. My Thorn Raven bicycle is just running smooth and pedals easy.

(N) Whats your most disappointing piece of gear?
Ah, my mattress. Used it for years but now one stitch in the middle has let loose so I have a bump in the middle. Sleeps a bit annoying.

(N) Any punctures?
No, not with my Schwalbe tires. Still running on Perth air.

(N) How is the weather compared to what you thought it would be?
More rain than expected but I’m sure that will be compensated in the Nullarbor.

(N) Best day so far? And longest.
Difficult to say. All days have ups and downs.
Best day probably 116 km from Ravensthorpe to Munglinup Beach. Beautiful road with overhanging trees out of camp, long stretch of gravel, amazing landscape and flowers along the road all day, two snakes on the road, and then ending on a campside close to a gorgeous beach. Perfect day!
The 136 km from Margaret River to Pemberton was a long day. Mostly raining, headwind, few coke stops and the idea of putting up a tent in the rain was not really compelling. Lucky us, they had cabins.
The saddest moment was for sure when Alaska Gail left the tour because of a broken collar bone due to bad luck.

(B) What did you bring along which is totally useless?
UK laptop power cable – I just bought a Australian one which makes the adapter useless.

(B) What do I wish I would have brought
Better tent pegs for loose ground – the ones I have won’t last until the end of the tour.

(B) Most memorable camp ground and why?
Munglinup Beach – first I wondered why anyone would start a camping that far in the middle of nowhere, 27 km from the main road. The camping itself wasn’t spectacular although it had a nice cozy kitchen area and good showers. But the road towards it was full of flowers, the surroundings spectacular and a beautiful beach just up the road.

(B) What did surprise you most?
The vast country and flora fauna – rain has it advantages. In the southern part of Western Australia, there are flowers everywhere. So beautiful!

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