Cycle Oz day 26 – A Bit of British Class 

  • Start: Melbourne 
  • End: Torquay 
  • Day distance: 97.1km 
  • Total distance: 1308.01km 
  • Average speed: 17km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 05:36
  • Total time: 07:10

It was so nice of Cardbord (Nathaniel) to let me stay for 3 nights so I could get myself sorted for the next leg. I took a photo of him and his mates this morning all in their pyjamas but it has mysteriously disappeared from my phone. Weird. 

I got a nice early start at 8:30am, not pleased that the weather was pretty miserable. It had been raining for most of the night and everything was wet and the sky was grey. But it looked like it could be clearing. It was cold and I put on the shoe covers Yvonne had given me to keep my feet warm and dry. 

Google lead me out of the city, and I was grateful to be leaving the city traffic behind. It’s pretty unforgiving. I forgot to mention the incident from yesterday. I was cycling to Commuter Cycles and I was in a cycle lane when an absolute wanker in a ute came within millimetres of me, on purpose. Unfortunately he then had to stop at some lights so I caught up to him again. As I passed him he shouted that ‘I shouldn’t be on the fucking road’. Nice. I was on a cycle path. So I cycled on the pavements as much as I could after that. Regardless of whether I was allowed to or not. 

There were a bunch of cycle paths on the roads out of Melbourne and there were no incidences. After about 20km I joined the Federation Trail which got me off the roads for a bit. And other than cycling right through a landfill site, which was really disgusting, and going through some grotty industrial areas, and passing factories spewing out god knows what, it was a nice path. 

All nice paths come to an end and I had to join the M1. The freeway. I wasn’t sure whether I was allowed on the freeway, but it’s the only road to Geelong so I took my chances. The sign at the entrance said no pedestrians or animals, and there were signs everywhere for bikes so it was ok. Riding on the freeway is pretty miserable. Hundreds of cars and lorries hurtling past you at 100km+, but there is a nice wide shoulder. 

The new Brooks Saddle was working out pretty well. I had been going for a good 50km before I got off. It’s quite hard but I knew it would be to start with. There is a common misconception when it comes to saddles that you need something very cushioned and with lots of gel. Gel isn’t good for long distances because it breaks down and it can’t be fixed and too much padding can be detrimental to your butt by not providing enough support. The idea with the leather saddle is that it provides natural suspension as the leather softens and as it moulds to your shape. I’ve heard varying stories on the breaking in process, from it being comfortable right out the box to it taking 300km to break in to it taking 1000km to break in. But the saddle is the most popular among cycle tourists the world over, you surely can’t go wrong with a handcrafted product that’s been around for over 100 years. 

My experience was that it was pretty comfortable straight away. A bit stiff, but not a lot of pressure on the bits. It’s quite slippery, and the nose naturally points up a bit to stop you sliding forwards so the saddle should be set level to the ground. I was worried about that but it was alright. Maybe it had something to do with my bum being broken in already from 3 weeks of cycling, I’m not sure how comfortable I would have found it had it been my first outing 

I stopped at an information centre to pick up a map of the great ocean road. The man in there assumed I was doing it with a group and when he found out I was alone he was horrified. He didn’t think it was possible. He was wrong. Another man was admiring Priscilla’s panniers and was incredulous over how little stuff I was carrying. He asked about my trip and when I told him I was going to Darwin he was impressed, he turned to go, but came back and said ‘you do know that’s it’s a really long way to Darwin’. I remain polite to these people but sometimes I just want to reply with ‘oh my god no! I had no idea! If it’s a really long way maybe I should just turn back!’. 

A bit further on I stopped at an Aboriginal Culture centre and bought an Aboriginal flag to add to my pointless collection of patches. 

The M1 turned back into the Princes Highway, there were a few side roads I could ride on to stay off the main road and as the road went through Geelong I started cycling on the pavements. I joined the B100, the great ocean road. Although not officially the start of the great tourist road I felt like I was finally on it. I entered Surf Coast Shire (it’s a real place!) and then came into Torquay and found my warm showers hosts for the night. 

How I feel when I’ve only got 5km left for the day!

They were out but had left me instructions on where to find the key. So I let myself in to their home and took a shower. Then I answered the door and took in a package for them. So weird! Leiset and Paul have a one year old son so they have their hands full, but Leiset still gave me tea and soup when she got back and cooked up a great dinner of vegetable risotto and a pudding of stewed apple and rhubarb. Delicious.

Entertaining a one year old who had no interest in going to sleep is exhausting, and I’ve only done it for 5 minutes. There are probably autocorrects and spelling mistakes galore in this post but I’m too tired to read it through. 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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.

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