22-26 November 2020
You don’t always know when the end is near. Sometimes you don’t even know when you’ve reached a conclusion until hindsight later on makes it clear. Some endings are cataclysmic; some just flow on the trickle of time: think early-phase volcanism or the slow erosion of high mountain peaks.
Yet so many times post-conclusion, there is evidence left behind of what once was. It’s the chimney of a house long since gone. It’s the shards of glass that escaped the broom. It’s the knowledge gained from experience that says, “don’t do that again.”
So this trip formed from a bunch of pieces left behind:
- My marriage has been over for some time, but there are many pieces of love left behind. We still try our best to look after one another. As such, I’ve purchased a bucket list experience for him to drive a race car around Mt Panorama in Bathurst. They only do this event once a year, so that is what determined the dates for this tour.
- First, I planned out two tours that would have me riding my bike to/near Bathurst. One plan was if I were to take my own car. The other plan was if we were to travel up together (he would pick me up on the way from wherever I’d made it to).
But motels in the towns I was going to travel through were booked out or nearly so (Sydneysiders escaping the virus for long weekends). Even though the virus is currently pretty much in control in Oz, the number of people that come with full motels freaks me out a bit. I know the virus is still out there, even if we aren’t experiencing an outbreak. So those plans fell apart. I was still left with a couple pieces though: a desire to do a tour and the days off to do it before heading to Bathurst.
- So I planned out a trip that would take me away from people (hopefully) and up into the Toombullups near home. I’ve ridden up there before, from Tatong to Tolmie, but there are still lots of roads to mark off on my map.
Plus, there’s all the pieces left behind showing that the area once experienced volcanic activity. The whole plateau is just a bunch of volcanic rocks from the Devonian (and some underlying and overlying Ordovician sediments and Carboniferous red beds). There are 3 separate volcanic rock types from 3 different events to look for.
So I’ve picked up all the pieces to nut out the basics of a five-day ride. I’ve got some ideas in mind of what I may do, but I’ll let my body and the weather tell me what to do.
Preparation – Food
I’ve never carried five days of food on the bike before, even when I was fit and healthy. But there will be nowhere to resupply, and I’m really limited in the distance my body can manage, so I carefully plan out some meals and snacks that should get me through.
I also need to carry a heap of water as the first day will be hot and humid, and we may not be able to get water until later on Day 2. This means I take off with 5 litres of water, the most (or equal to the most) I’ve ever carried I think.
Preparation – Gear
I really only need the basics for this tour. It’s short and I won’t be near humans which means 1 pair of on-bike clothing and 1 pair of off bike clothing. Rain is forecast on day 1 and 2, so rain coat goes in instead of warmie jacket (most of the year in Oz, I just take one or the other).
- ground sheet
- tent pegs
- tent fly
- flip flops
Other Front Pannier
- two tubes
- basic tool kit I carry everywhere
- chain lube
- small nylon folding bucket (had this for 10 years and is great for bush bathing)
- toiletries (little bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush)
- some wet wipes
- TP and little spade
- water purification tablets
- guy’s floaties and rope
- couple of spare ziplocks to carry out rubbish
- sleeping bag
- one 2-litre water bottle
- one 1-litre water bottle
- 1/3 of food weight
Other Rear Pannier
- sleep sheet
- 1 pair under wear
- 1 pair super lightweight hiking pants
- 1 pair extra riding shorts
- 1 t-shirt
- 1 pair socks
- rain coat
- maps and notebook
- one 2-litre water bottle
- 2/3 food weight
- (I meant to take one thermal top and quick dry camp towel but forgot them)
- Verne and Kermit
- phone and wallet
- head net (for pesky fly avoidance)
Rear rack – sleeping pad with tent poles wrapped inside
On me – riding gloves, 1 fluoro shirt, bra, 1 pair hiking shorts, 1 pair socks, helmet
Now let’s go!