Friday, August 31, 2012

We're Off! - Perth to Fremantle

Set off on our adventure on 31st August. On the road by 7.30am.

Fabulous cycle tracks both sides of the Swan River with little pedestrian or cycle traffic.
A track took us from north Perth, through the centre and on to Fremantle.
Had to stop frequently to ask for directions and found the locals extremely helpful and friendly, even accompanying us some of the way.

Crossed the river several times and at one stage became a little off track and found ourselves on the Canning Highway! Del called into a local gym to ask for directions and a young engineer called Nigel drew a map and, in his car, guided us through the back roads until we were safely on our way.

Arrived in Freemantle in pouring rain, only to discover that there were no motels nearby and the nearest caravan park was 6kms away.

Headed there, put up the tent and investigated Fremantle - Freo to the locals.
Bought dinner and stores for tomorrow, then caught up with our journals and blog in the camp kitchen.
It rained non-stop - first rain in Freo for 40 days apparently. Just our luck!

Did 46.5kms today.

Next day we were off to Mandurah partially on cycle paths but eventually on the main highway which was considerably faster.Heavy traffic but all giving us a wide berth. We're extremely visible. Roads are wide with a good cycling shoulder so far. 110kms speed limit so big trucks and trailers (44 wheelers), 4WDs and powerful V8s and pick ups hurtling past, but no danger as long as we keep well to the left of our cycle lane. Temperatures around 19 degrees with frequent showers. The trucks send up showers of spray every time they pass.
Mandurah is a picturesque town - similar to Taupo.
Next day we headed for Preston Beach, 64 kms away.We arrived cycle weary and were dismayed to find that the advertised camping ground had closed years ago. There was only a general store and a new resort complex called "Footprints". We had no choice other than to try to get a unit for the night. As we arrived at Reception, a group of around 12 people waiting there greeted us with a round of applause when they saw our "Perth to Adelaide" sign.
After a comfortable night in our very expensive chalet, we set off early (7.15am) for Bunbury. We cycled in developing cloudy conditions and the odd shower and just made it to the Bunbury Discovery Caravan Park when the storm broke and the skies opened. Thunder, driving rain, gale force winds - and HAIL! We'll have to wait until the conditions improve - could be a couple of days as sever gale warnings have been issued for this area. Impossible to cycle. We've taken the opportunity to improve the waterproofing of our tent and dry out our wet gear.
We've covered 220 kms so far, averaging 60 kms a day but we'll need to increase this when we leave to make up time. So far, apart from a few mossie bites and bruises, we're fit and well. Everywhere we go, people are fascinated by our rigs and our adventure.

Storm Clouds a-brewing!

Would you believe it! It's still pouring buckets and blowing a gale so we've decided to stay a third night until it blows over. Too dangerous to cycle on the main highways in these conditions. Have decided that, to make up for the delay, we'll by pass the scenic coastal route south through Margaret River, and instead we'll take the more direct route along the Southern Highway to Albany. It'll take about a week to get there, but we'll save a day or two in the process. The benefit - more yummy fresh Bunbury food and hospitality! Max temperature around 17 degrees with improving forecast for tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Perth - and Beyond!!

We were up with the birds this morning.
After going through the final routines of closing down the house, we were collected by the airport shuttle. A quick ride to the airport, our extra large baggage was checked in without a problem and we were soon on the plane.
Arrived in Perth and took a taxi to the Perth Central Caravan Park where we had booked a small , self contained cabin .
We were ravenous and walked to the local BP station for sandwiches before unpacking the boxes. Relieved to find that the bikes and trailers had arrived in good order, save for a broken bell!
Pitch black by 6.00pm but Del insisted that he reassemble the trailers that evening and by 9.35pm Ozzie time (1.35am NZ), we were ready for bed.
The following day (August 30th) the bikes were assembled and we did a test run with the trailers. All good!
Spent the afternoon visiting Perth City - a mix of old and modern architecture, with mining businesses everywhere. Unsophisticated city commuters but no sign of poverty and so willing to help. Full sized bronze sculptures around every corner - kangaroos, people etc but main complaint - severe lack of handy supermarkets for fresh produce!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Del and Cindy's Marathon Cycle: Time to start blogging!

Del and Cindy's Marathon Cycle: Time to start blogging!

It was late 2011 when Del first mooted the idea - around his 71st birthday. All I had in mind was a relaxing cycling holiday in Perth - or Adelaide.

That year we'd enjoyed two fabulous cycle tours in France - one from a barge on the Canal du Midi - the other a self guided ride along the Loire.

This new adventure sounded a lot of hard work in comparison. I dragged my feet for quite a while, eventually giving in to the idea.
Del began road training in earnest as soon as he got the nod.

We invested in a bike trailer for me which took a little adjusting to. Del had one already for his Reinga to Bluff cycle in February 2011.
We made several trips around the neighborhood with our trailers in tow and with ever increasing weight loads until I could handle any situation. As I found training rather boring, that was about the extent of my physical preparation. I'd just have to develop fitness on the trip.

We carefully planned the route, following the coast south from Perth then eastwards to Esperance, up to Norseman, across the Nullarbor to Ceduna, on to Streaky Bay then across the Eyre Peninsula to Cowell, catching the ferry from Lucky Bay to Walleroo, then on to Port Wakefield and Adelaide.
I googled all the stopovers to make sure that we had names, addresses and phone numbers of every possible caravan park, motel or roadhouse and the cycling distances between them.

By now, even I began to get quite excited at the prospect of it all as the plan unfolded.
We'd fly from Auckland to Perth on 29th August 2012. We calculated that the prevailing wind would be in our favour for most of the time - fingers crossed!
We already had sleeping bags, a tent and basic camping accessories but invested in extra thermals for the chilly mornings we had been warned about. We also included chafing cream in case of saddle soreness.
Del had the bikes serviced at Bike Barn and grabbed a couple of cardboard bike boxes from them.
We decided to invest in Marathon Plus tyres for both bikes to minimise punctures and bought an extra bike tyre and trailer tyre, inner tubes, spokes, tools and repair kit for emergencies.
In the final few days before leaving home, we did several trial packs, weighing and repacking the trailers and boxes.

We were raring to go!