last wednesday night i decided i wanted to do some touring between melbourne and adelaide. on thursday i found out thorin was going to visit his aunt in penola in SA, and he said i could come if i wanted. so on monday, thorin drove me to mount gambier. it was already late afternoon when we got there so i rode 40 k?s to nelson, and camped on the beach. tuesday rode about 100 k?s and camped in mt clay state forest a bit out of portland. today, rode 85 k?s to warrnambool. and took the train home. i was thinking about doing the great ocean road to geelong, but the combo of the heat, and it being tourist season i decided to give it a miss. it?d be rad to do it a bit later in the year i think.
rode my yellow fixie. went by myself. tent tied onto the back of the saddle with toestraps, sleeping bag tied to the handlebars, everything else in a messenger bag.
some things i reckon i did well:
–got an AWESOME tent. it?s called ?EPE: explorer planet earth? it?s from mitchell?s disposals on eliz, it weights 2.5 kilos, it?s huge, and it?s freestanding, so you can camp on the beach. and it only costs $150. best. tent. ever. ok i don?t know that much about tents, but i really like it.
–brought a thermarest (well a $25 knockoff). a few experienced campers told me i didn?t need it, but i?m a pretty cold sleeper, and it really does keep you quite warm compared to just sleeping on the ground. and it?s pretty comfy too.
–camped sneaky-style on the estuary beach at nelson, rather than in a caravan park. need i say more?
–wore a long sleeve wool jersey. great in the cold, and great in the hot. (today i was riding in 36-degree heat for a bit) and keeps the sun off your arms a treat. bright color means cars can see you. (mine was a yellow del tongo jersey)
–mostly avoided getting sunburn.
–brought nylon trackpants. nice to wear at night for the mozzies, and really lightweight. and pretty warm too.
–brought enough socks for a new pair each day. they?re pretty light, and it?s pretty important.
–just went on the spur of the moment without planning too much. you work stuff out as you go along. i was a bit uncomfy but i?m still really glad i went. nice to go on my own too. though i suppose it would have been ok to have wendy along. apparently she tours on a pursuit bike with aero bars. so i?m told anyway.
–brought my hoodie. it?s pretty heavy, but it gives you a really nice hug at night, when maybe you?re feeling a bit lonely.
some things to do different next time:
–get a rack and panniers. my bag weighed i guess between 5 and 7 kilos depending on how much water i was carrying at the time. i think you could comfortably do about 50 k?s a day carrying a bag, but i was suffering pretty bad doing 100. the main things that got annoying were my shoulders and my bum (who?s had his dude go numb from riding?! my first time.) both of which i think would be better without the bag.
–get an easier gear. i was running 69 gear inches, which was about right for fanging around pretty fast, but with panniers, i?ll want an easier gear.
–get some really nice tires. vredesteins or something. i think it?d make a difference.
–make sure my tonails are nice and short. yep.
–bring prolink if i?m going to be gone more than a few days. i guess use serviettes as rags? chains get dirty pretty quick, and a clean chain?s a nice chain. this old motorhome coot offered me some oil stuff. i asked what it was and he goes ?only the stuff they use on the SPACE SHUTTLE!? i said no thanks. he also noticed my fixed gear. i love it when old guys look down on your fixed gear cus they actually remember a time when people rode fixed cus they couldn?t afford gears.
–get a little mirror. lots of time the surface on the road is way nicer than on the shoulder, but sometimes dickheads with campervans and boat-trailers pass you pretty close and it?s good to get out of the way. it?d be nice to not have to keep looking over my shoulder though.
–bring ear plugs. on the beach at nelson there were some pretty weird and annoying animal noises at night, and i didn?t sleep too good.
–plan my rest-breaks. for the 70 k?s from nelson to portland i was expecting towns along the way. but there?s nothing. so i didn?t have enough water (i think i need at least 1 liter per 30 ks) and i didn?t have any snacks. a nice motorhome gave me some water when there was 20 k?s to go, but i was still pretty miserable. when i got to portland i had heaps of potato cakes and dim-sims and hamburgers though which was nice. then passed out in the park for 3 hours. got a bit sunburnt cus it was too cold to lie in the shade. so before going on i got TOO MUCH water and snacks, cus there?s heaps of stops from portland to warrnambool. so i was carrying extra weight i didn?t need. still, better to have too much than too little.
–possibly bring good lights so i have the option of riding at night. (quiet roads only i think.)
–get a front brake. just kidding! come on, the whole fun of riding fixed is not having to have a brake.
some bits of the ride were really beautiful. like the glenelg national park. and the wind farm at codrington that just went on forever. and touring combines some of my favorite things: riding, camping and eating. looking forward to having a set up where i can ride a bit further each day.
ok so that was my trip! i took a photo on my phone, but my computer at home doesn’t do bluetooth, so that’ll have to wait.