I was looking forward to taking a day off so much. My body was really starting to feel it. Along with the claw hand I have associated pain in my elbow and my knees are a little sore too, together with general muscle fatigue. I want this to be a challenge, but I also want to enjoy myself.
There is one bike shop in Bairnsdale, Rivera Cycles, and my hosts Jacinta and Mick are good friends with Gary the owner and they arranged for me to go down and have them look at my set up.
So I cycled the couple of kilometres into town, much easier without all the stuff on the back, and went through all my problems with Gary. Well not all my problems, we would have been there all day! He raised my saddle and lowered my handlebars to start off with. Hopefully that will help relieve some of the pressure on my butt as my pelvis will now be tilted forwards more.
The saddle is such a hard thing to get right. It’s a very personal thing, similar to hiking shoes. We all have feet but they are all very different. The same with our bits, no two are the same. So I realise it’s going to take a while to get everything right. They had a few test saddles in the shop and Gary fitted this yellow one and suggested I take it for a test ride. When he asked how far I wanted to go I was thinking to the end of the street and back. When he said he knew a good 10k route I looked at him in horror. I really didn’t want to cycle anywhere today! I tested the saddle but it wasn’t quite right, but I can see / feel the benefit of the cut out part.
We also spoke about my ulnar nerve problems and looked at handlebar options. It’s something I had considered even before buying the bike, and to be honest I’m a bit annoyed with myself for not getting the handlebars changed out from the start because I knew that was one of the things I definitely wanted. But maybe it has worked out for the best because the butterfly handlebars they ordered in for me (arriving tomorrow) are a third of the cost of the ones in Omafeits in Sydney. We also discussed shoes and the efficiency of being clipped into the pedals. New shoes means new pedals and the cost soon mounts up, so I am taking one thing at a time.
I went back to Micks house, having been far more active than I had intended to be today and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. I spent my time researching the next section and researching Brooks saddles. Jacinta cooked up an absolute storm for dinner, chicken with so many vegetables. Brussel sprouts, green beans, broccoli, squash, carrots and potatoes. It felt so good to eat.
The following day I stayed in bed until 11am. I was feeling lazy and my arm was sore. I watched the rest of OITNB and was left feeling a little mixed in my opinion of season 5.
The test Saddle I had ridden ‘home’ on yesterday didn’t feel quite right either so I put my own saddle back on. My first attempt at tinkering with my bike myself. I’ve moved the saddle forward slightly and I’ve angled the nose down a bit. Hopefully, with the new riding position, this will help with the pressure on the undercarriage, and it will see me through to Melbourne at least.
I got a call from Gary to say the handlebars had arrived and I cycled into town and dropped off Priscilla to have her makeover. I took a wander around Bairnsdale, browsing the aisles of the supermarkets for inspiration (I didn’t find any) and I looked at wrist braces but it was a bit confusing, especially as I feel like the problem is stemming from my elbow.
I collected Priscilla and loved her new bars straight away. It was so nice of Gary to fit me in before everyone else, and order and fit new handlebars within 24 hours. He also helped me with the fit of my bike, refit all my accessories and tweaked the gears. So any future cycle tourists should make the stop at Rivera Cycles if they need anything.
I’ve been treated so well at Mick and Jacinta’s house. They are one of those incredible breeds of people who are happy to leave a total stranger in their house, give them the keys to their car and say ‘help yourself’ to whatever you want. They didn’t bat an eyelid when after being there 2 nights I asked to stay yet another night, instead I was treated to a wonderful meal every evening, including apple crumble and ice cream for my last night!
As with most places I stay, I’m not really that keen on leaving. I could live here…
I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world.
663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider donating a few…pounds / dollars / euros / yen… and together we can change lives.