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.

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