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A slow dash for cash.

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 17 December 2011 | Views [1707]

Rare beauty in the form of blue sky at Corindi Beach.

Rare beauty in the form of blue sky at Corindi Beach.

I'm pretty close to doing this bike ride in the nude. Other than loving the birthday suit look, it would make more sense the way the weather is. Getting wet is one thing, as a bike ride in Broome was always hot enough to ensure you would end up wetter than seeing Rob Pattinson anyway. The rain is just so persistent and annoying that I'm sure I'll start chafing off clothes soon regardless.

With so many people asking me if I am doing this ride for charity, I might start telling them that I am. I riding to find a cure for chafing, so give me some cash, and try not to use your imagination too much. But who am I kidding, I'll be demonstrating the best cure is prevention by performing like a bald gorilla on a bike. The money will more likely be spent on a veggie burger at the end of the day to help me forget the fact that I'll be androgynous by the time I reach Melbourne.

I had a rest day in Corindi beach because I woke to sunshine and blue skies, and well, that had nothing to do with the decision cause I just couldn't be fucked riding that day. Blues skies and sunshine is the perfect weather to be riding anyway, but my legs weren't quite sore enough yet, so I thought I would let some of the dreaded DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) set in. I put up the hammock for the first time and laughed uncontrollably when it tore to shreds in the process. It had weathered significantly in the garden in Broome and joins the growing list of things I should have checked previously, but didn't.

I also should have checked the battery charge on my shaver before I took to my designer stubble that had started to look like it was straight out of Mugatu's 'Derelicte' fashion line. To no ones surprise I am sure, the battery died half way through the job. Now I am half hobo, half Kyan Douglas. Who? The dude off 'Queer eye for the straight guy' who always shaved 3 days before the show. Yeah don't worry, there are plenty more bad jokes from where that came from.

The sunshine persisted through the day so I took the opportunity to tan something other than my forearms. Constantly wearing bike gloves has left me looking like Michael Jackson and wandering around topless merely burnt my shoulders. With my upper body resembling Neapolitan ice-cream, I became more of a spectacle than I am when riding to places where most people would prefer to drive. Fortunately the clouds returned before the sun set and I was spared from adding peeling skin to my list of anatomical deterioration.

So I woke to another partly sunny morning but couldn't justify another day lounging around lamenting the absence of a hammock. After a shoddy pack proving I didn't really want to leave, I said goodbye to my friendly neighbours Kristy and Scott and ground through the first 10kms of the day like my muscles were made of steel. Not in a superman way, but in a totally inflexible way. I had heard from many quarters that the first week of a bicycle tour is always the hardest. I thought that was how long it took for the body to adapt to the rigours of riding every day. I now know that it is not the case. It is how long it takes for your mind to accept that everything is going to keep hurting so you might as well get on with it and think about something else.

Every day starts off sore and stiff and it isn't until about the 20-30km mark where everything starts loosening up and getting enjoyable. Unfortunately by this stage I was at Coffs Harbour and needing to do some shopping. I had thoughtfully left my face-washer to dry on my bike and found it laying on the chain when I had awoken. I didn't realise how absorbent they were but the face-washer was black and the chain was rusty, again. Nothing a liberal dose of lubricant didn't fix, and that was something else that needed restocking given that every ride in the rain requires more lubricant than Cleopatra entertaining the soldiers.

With no alternative route, the entire day was going to be spent on the Pacific Highway. That was until a bike path materialised out of no maps that the lack-of-Information-Centre had shown me. For 6kms I coasted along my own little path without a care in the world. I felt so free that I threw my head back, closed my eyes, opened up my lungs and started singing, sounding like it was the first time I had ever attempted it. Such rapture is normally inspired by the good grace of God, but it was my faith that riding along an isolated path would ensure that I wouldn't be meeting God any time soon.

Before reaching a fitting climax, but long after scaring off any wild life or talent scouts, the path ended and I was thrust back onto the highway with all the road trains and speeding motorists. The only time I fear St. Peter is checking his ledger is when crossing a bridge. Shoulders normally vanish and I am left to race across them praying I'll spontaneously mutate into Optimus Prime. If I see a road train looming up at the same time, I tighten the harness on my camelbak just to feel like I am strapped securely to something.

The 20kms to Urunga was made up of six lanes though. Two either side of a median strip for cars and one either side as a shoulder for me to duck and weave around unending pieces of glass like I was playing Asteroids. Once I turned off towards my destination of Nambucca Heads, the road deteriorated so badly it was time to play Moon Patrol.

Nambucca Heads is hilly in a way that made me smile every time I successfully navigated one. Big Daddy's look of consternation changes in my mind to one of admiration as my legs start to adapt to riding on something other than Broomes perfectly flat landscape. I bypassed all the caravan parks on the high ground and fortunately found one on the foreshore as I certainly wasn't going back if there hadn't have been one there.

The friendliness and generosity shown by Tony the manager was in stark contrast to the shark operating out of Iluka. Sure he was friendly too, but so would I be whenever I met someone so willing to throw money away like doing so was a good omen. Tony couldn't be bothered getting change out of the drawer so he just dropped the price. I was going to negotiate a further reduction to free, but Tony was too kind a soul to take advantage of.

I set up camp marvelling at how I had made it through the day with the trailer appearing to be packed by a thalidomide baby. It is Daylight Savings in NSW so even though it was 4:30pm, I still had plenty of light left. I love Daylight Savings and I cannot understand why it isn't embraced everywhere. I struggle with the concept myself sometimes in that I know what 'daylight' is, but even after extended research, I can't get my head around what 'savings' means. I think it is the opposite to spending, but it's an abstract concept like string theory, or American democracy.

I used the spare time to stretch the legs out with a walk around town. The board walk that skirts the hills was a pleasant stroll even in the absence of any sunlight. Fearing that I was making things to easy for myself I decided to wander up to Captain Cooks lookout. Taking on stairs when you had spent four hours that day working your calves to snapping point was not the smartest idea. When compared to most other things I had done recently, it actually was a pretty smart idea.

The view from the top would be quite sublime in prevailing conditions. As it was, it was still inspiring but less so for showing that grey clouds extended beyond the horizon in every direction. I could even see Grassy Head off in the distance, interesting for the fact that I was hoping to make it there by the following night. It would be one of the shorter rides, but 'short' is a word only surpassed in its beauty by 'flat'.

Tags: misadventure, relaxing, riding, weather

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