Day 1 | big first day to St Leonards: there's a bed at the end of the road tonight
108 km | Heading west total: 108 km
It seemed fitting I left Melbourne by cycling down the old sewage line biketrack. Showers and gloom. Not what I was thinking for an auspicious first day of my long planned journey.
Seems I don’t rush into these decisions, in fact I’d been thinking of a longer bike adventure ever since I was pushed by a huge wind into Ceduna at the end of that second big Australian bike trip in early January 2000, 1500km over 14 days from Mildura via the north side of the Murray River and the terrific Eyre Peninsular. The temptation in that case was just to keep on riding: the wind had been huge behind me, but the Nullabor was stretched out ahead of me and I had work to return to.
I’d once taken a bike around Tassie with those continual ups and downs: an embarrassing long time ago. I’d done a few of those roller coaster rides in NZ as well: from Auckland to Christchurch shortly after the Tassie trip; the Nelson to Christchurch roller coaster a few times; and a round the South Island.
My first big biking trip in Australia in recent years had been 8 days along the Murray River in August 1999 to do an I-currently-hate-my-work de-stress: the third jaunt had been in summer 2001 for about 900km from Holbrook to Bairnsdale via Tumbarumba, Cabramurra, Thredbo, and the Snowy River (my brother’s borrowed bike frame snapped in half shortly afterwards); the fourth effort that recent shakedown trip for the trailer from Melbourne to Canberra via Bairnsdale, Tumut, Kiandra, Jingellic, Echuca, Clunes.
None of these forays had dissuaded me from the Australia Big Trip. They were just a tantalising taste.
This one is supposedly a lap of Oz before I head off to NZ on a permanent basis. To start with I’m only saying it’s Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. That way if I change my mind there’s no ignominy.
But as they say the longest journey starts with the first step.
Make that first pedal.