Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Great Vic. A bike ride... Part IV

Getting there and away... reality hits... and if only it were that easy

What ya don't know surely can't hurt you... But I had to go and read more of that email this morning and I came to the bit that said THIS! 'Limited V/Line transport to Albury'

Full message HERE
The bottom line, there's gonna be a lot of cyclists headed to Albury and the Railway isn't prepared to accommodate the influx of customers!
"If a V/Line conductor determines that there is not sufficient room to carry a bicycle on a V/Line train, it will not be able to be carried on that train" 

(Thanks for nothing V/Line! How I wish you could operate at the standard of British Rail back in 1955! See HERE for some pointers!)

I've had all day to think about it and I've decided that this situation could actually be an opportunity for me to make a longer trip. I've checked the maps and the railway timetables and there is another line through central Victoria to a town which is a rural hub for agriculture. Shepparton (or Shep as we like to call it). This appears to be the closest I can get to Albury by rail without boarding the Albury train. The problem is that Shepparton is about a 165km bicycle ride from Albury! That's more than I'm comfortable doing in a day so I've got some more planning to do.

Getting there and away. PLAN B.

Melbourne to Albury:

pt 1.  Catch train Melbourne - Shepparton.

Melb - Shep V/Rail about 2.5 hours

According to Google Maps the shortest distance from Shepparton to Albury is 163km with a few twists and turns along the way. That's too far so I've decided on another rout which is only about 10 km longer and will take me to some places I've never been before.
Here's the plan:

pt 2. Day 1. Ride Shepparton - Yarrawonga cross border into NSW and the tourist town of Mulwala

Approx 81km, estimated time 4 hours if I don't miss any back roads or short cuts. Find a free camp somewhere near the lake.

Shep - Mulwala cycling about 4.5 hours.

pt 3. Day 2. Ride Mulwala - Albury (via Rutherglen)

Approx 96km and about 5 hours straight pedaling if I don't get lost on any of those back roads I mentioned earlier. I'm thinking I'll give myself a whole day for this part of the journey as I'll be passing through some interesting country and may make some stops along the way.

Mulwala - Albury 5 hours, probably more it looks interesting
OK, I admit it, until now I've been treating the whole planning thing like a bit of a joke, but it's finally starting to dawn on me that if I don't do a bit of strategic planning I'm going to be standing at the station with my bike in pieces, none of the gear I need, no idea where to go next and probably (if past performance is an indication) no air in my tyres!

 Play around with the map if you'd like to find a better rout.

I suppose I should also be thinking about what time I roll into camp on Saturday. I'm sure there will be some important information about the actual ride that I'll need to hear.

Great Vic... A bike ride. Part III

Getting there and away


Darwin to Melbourne: 
Fly to Melbourne in a stinking fosil fuel burning airplane! Arrive very late at night. Hang out at airport for a while, put bike together then ride on to family. Spend a couple of days getting my gear together. Tubes, tools, torch, tent, that kind of stuff.

Melbourne to Albury: Catch train to Albury on Friday, enjoy a 3 or 4 hour train ride through scenic country Victoria, MAGIC! Arrive in Albury find somewhere to camp before the riders gather.

 Cycle Albury to Mansfield 4 days yeh!

Return Mansfield to Melbourne:
Catch 'organized transport' bus from Mansfield to Melbourne
Ride train or cycle Melbourne - Watsonia.

Great Vic... A bike ride. Part II

A few details about the Great Victorian Bike Ride 2014

(ha ha... blogging this was a good idea, now at least I'm bothering to read some of the details on the Bicycle Network website)

Where:      Albury to Lilydale
Duration:   9 days including two rest days (I'll only be riding 5 days... day one is a rest day... cool!)
Dates:        29 November 2014 - 7 December 2014
Distance:   520km (I'll do 334km Albury to Mansfield)

Towns the ride will pass through, Albury, Yackandandah, Bright, Myrtleford, Moyhu, Mansfield... There's more but I'm not going there so who cares! (Or check the route out HERE)

Terrain: A bit of unsealed road to negotiate and.... whoah! Holy crap! What the?! Hills! Bloody big ones! Oh yeh... 'The High Country'! Right, hills... We don't do hills here in Darwin. The elevation profile looks like I imagine my electrocardiogram will look when they've revived me after my first attempt to climb one!
This is an image of an ECG, it's not the actual Elevation map if you want that click HERE
I saw something in the email they sent me today about preparation, better go back and find out what I'm supposed to be doing.

OK there's a video and some basic advise HERE, on 'Final preparation tips'. (Final? Oh... whateva!) I'll summarize:

  • Something about next few weeks of training (too late mate, I only have one week!)... 
  • Ride multiple days in a row = Check! 
  • Don't have to ride long distances = Check! (top points on that one!)
  • More than three days per week / commute = Check!
  • Get used to being on the bike for several hours at a time. = (Well... Nahhh)
  • Get some experience in windy, rainy weather. = Huh? (We aint got none of that here yet.)
  • Wet weather gear.... = (in Darwin that means take your T-Shirt off and enjoy a warm shower... what's this joker talking about?)
  • Raincoat = (Is this guy a bit of a sook or what? Raincoat? What for?!)
  • Prepare for cold = (Huh?)
  • Nutrition, experiment with foods, energy etc.. = Check! Check! Double Check! (You got it brother! I'll get onto that right away... you can never be too prepared!)
  • Hone your descending skills = (descending? Oh yeh hills... Oh crap I'm going to need to fix my brakes!) 
  • Get your bike serviced before riding or make sure you check the cassette, chain, brakes, bottom bracket, tyres... = bla, blah blah blah... (OK, OK, I get it, I'll check my brakes, sheesh! bit fussy if you ask me!)

Damn it's past midnight! I thought this was going to be fun but it's shaping up to be a bunch of humbug!

Catch ya tomorrow, when I've had a chance to find out where they're hiding the fun on this little adventure.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Great Vic... A bike ride. Part 1.

The Great Victorian Bike Ride:
Commences Albury, Victoria 29th November 2014.

I am booked to go!

I have a bike...

The bike I'll take to Melbourne, which I hope will be my transport on the Great Victorian Bike Ride
I haven’t been devoting much thought to it, or done any training or anything but it’s just occurred to me that in one week from today I’ll be headed to Melbourne to take part in The Great Victorian Bike Ride!  I’ve been receiving reminders and updates from the very organized ‘Bicycle Network’ but to be honest I’ve found it all a bit convoluted and, well, organized for my liking. However the fact remains that there are only 11 days until the big ride and I do intend to participate, so maybe now is the time to start thinking about it.
How surreal it is! This social bike ride is something I had wanted to do for years when I was younger but somehow my life took a turn in other directions and I found myself at motorbike rallies and falling asleep on bar stools instead…
Now, at the tender age of 45 and living at the other end of the continent (Island… whatever!), circumstances, finances and spousal consent have come into alignment and it is possible I may actually get to do this.
 A plan has emerged and my tickets are booked. After 30 years of thinking about it, I’m finally about to go and take part in this ridiculous journey. This self-confessed misanthrope, will join the travelling circus of social butterflies, lycra clad grandpas, cycle chic wannabes, excitable school kids, hormonal teens, trendy looking fitness freaks who don’t sweat and heaven knows who else this ride might attract. I’m imagining a disorganized throng being herded like sheep into conforming lines at amenities by perky marshals with whistles and wearing fluoro green vests. Grumpy tired riders fighting for a camp site and lining up for cold meals or standing in muddy paddocks waiting to use the amenities…. Maybe there will be sleet…? Possibly hail and wind. (They have those down in Victoria!)
What have I gone and signed up for?! God knows why I’m doing this but, next week there will be a gathering of 1,000s of cyclists, pedalling across the Victorian High Country and it’s looking very much like I will be amongst them.
I think I’ll post some of my preps, itinerary and details of my kit on here just for fun and if I get a chance I’ll do an update or at least some photos of the ride or something like that.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Attachment: thieves in the night

Last night a couple of thieves tried to steal my bike, which I am somewhat attached to.

Now I'm taking time to re-calibrate my mind with Jack

“I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures ...” 

(Jack Kerouak - The Dharma Bums)



 Peace Out!



Monday, November 03, 2014

A mountain of Hope

Watching, 'Into The Wild' this morning which features a real life character from Slab City in the Colorado desert, California, his name is Leonard Knight. Leonard passed away in February this year but what a message he has!


I woke with a headache and a crystalline vision in my mind.

I HATE this Australian government, because:
They are proof beyond all doubt that there is no enlightened future for the human race. We are doomed to go down clambering for power, clutching at wealth and personal reward, stepping on the heads of our fellows as our civilisation crumbles.
When we had the opportunity to cooperate and work together in a united effort to realise our great potential and when we most needed enlightened leaders, they gave us self interested autocratic fascists.
And so this is how we will end!

And when the going gets tough the Australian people will light a BBQ and cook their neighbors for dinner.

It is the truth about us which keeps us in a state of constant denial. When we see it clearly our hearts sink and we tremble with dread. Better to live in a hopeful lie than accept that reality. 

There is no magical future where The Scientists solve all the problems we have created. There is only now and the decisions we make NOW. We chose a heavy night on the piss, burned all blueprints for a sane future in one final lust filled romp with no looking back, slept through the alarm and didn't wake up in the morning. The cupboard has been eaten bare, weevils are in the rice and the well is dry (or contaminated with fracking waste...) 

Good Night.