I have successfully completed day one of my Australian bicycle touring extravaganza, and I’ve already learned a lot.
- Cyclists wear those silly little hats under their helmets to protect from bird shit (yes, a bird shit on me through my helmet today).
- Google Maps bicycle directions are not to be trusted (I found myself at two separate dead ends today).
- I think there may be something wrong with my knee (in constant pain while riding – can’t be a good sign).
A guy in Ballina told me about a very handy app called WikiCamps which shows you all the (user submitted) campsites, caravan parks, day use areas, etc. around Australia. It even allows you to filter your results using options such as “free” or “no crocodiles”.
I found myself on the Federation Trail (a dedicated bike trail) leaving Melbourne, and shortly after deciding to take my first break I met my first fellow cyclist.
Blake from Melbourne (heading to the Great Ocean Road), advised me that the next town, Werribee, is home to a sewage treatment plant and assured me that the entire city smells of sewage (only half true).
He went on to tell me that being shit on by birds is good luck (a lie), smoke a spreef, and disappear as quickly as he had appeared. Our chance encounter now at an end, I decided that it was time that I too got on my way.
I rode the entire day in my Mountain Hardwear flannel and didn’t manage to get that sweaty; my knee was preventing me from exerting too much.
Another thing I’ve quickly realized is that my new bicycle is not nearly as maneuverable as the bikes I am used to. For example, after dropping my water bottle on the ground, I stopped to get it back. However, I quickly realized that I couldn’t simply lift up my bike and turn it around (or leave it on the ground because I always forget which side my computer is in).
I’m still not sure I like the way I have my gear set up, but I think we are getting there.
As night fell I finally found the highway rest stop that was my day’s destination. I filled up on some Hungry Jack’s (that’s what they call Burger King in Australia) and found some flat ground to set up my tent on.
If I feel well tomorrow (unlikely), then I may try my luck at making a 100 km run to Ballarat.
Spoiler alert: not going to happen.
- START: Melbourne, Victoria
- END: Little River, Victoria
- DAY’S DISTANCE: 45.28 mi / 72.87 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 45.28 mi / 72.87 km