It's only been four days since Adelaide (and my ten-day break), but I have decided to take another day off in Port Augusta to ensure I'm fully prepared before making my entrance into the Outback (and because I am addicted to days spent lounging around living off pizza and beer).
Home to under 13,000 people, Port Augusta will be the last real civilization I see before cycling 760 mi / 1,225 km to Alice Springs (or 335 mi / 540 km to Coober Pedy – depending on how you define civilization).
My bike has been creaking lately, and I suspect this to be a result of my still unlubricated chain. I say “still” because I have not applied any lubrication (bar my own sweat and blood) for the entirety of the trip (and I have heard that lubrication is advised following rain – which I've seen a lot of).
Probably not a good idea to venture out into Australia's vast and empty belly with near-zero knowledge of bicycle repair and a bike that sounds like it's trying to sneak up behind you.
Fortunately, the local bicycle shop turns out to be more bicycle focused than the decor would have me believe; the “FIREARMS & AMMO.” emblazoned above the door turns out to be quite misleading.
After buying some lubrication (for my chain – my bicycle chain), I retreat to my motel room where I abuse the provided towels in an effort to cure my bicycle of its ailments.
Not realizing that the best way to apply lubrication is to turn my bike upside down and balance it on its seat and handlebars, I struggle attempting to evenly distribute an oily mess across the chain – lifting the back of the bike with one hand, turning the pedals with another, and applying the lubrication with another.
As you can see, things are not working out.
Eventually, and at great expense to the hotel towels, I manage to return my bicycle to its original and non-squeaking state.
As a final note for today I would like to bring up something that will probably remain buried here, but that will hopefully surface again in a future post: the internet situation in Australia.
Being handed a piece of paper that says “WiFi Access: 300MB – PIN: 59JAU38” should be an immediate red flag when checking into my accommodation that I may have a problem accomplishing all that is required of me during this stop (note: this is not the first time this has happened).
Being that I subscribe to the “budget” version of life, sometimes these hurdles must be overcome. Will I be capable of downloading the number of podcasts necessary to occupy my brain during a multi-week ride across a continent with my allocated data allowance? No.
Will I make half a dozen trips to the reception to request new wifi access codes? Yes.
Will the motel reception become suspicious that I'm watching an unusual amount of pornography? Yes.
Will I care? No.
Tomorrow the struggle begins again. Let's hope I'm ready.