4,000 for 40 – April Ride 1 – Pre-ride

The Making of Midnight Oil

Saturday April 2, 2016

Midnight Oil is one of Australia’s most internationally successful bands. The band started in the late 1970s as a pub rock band and slowly started to become much more political. They are known for having a deep social, political and environmental conscience. They have pushed hard for indigenous rights and reconciliation. They have given a voice to the voiceless. And they have done it all with a tremendous passion and a live show that is full of energy and intensity. You won’t find many bands anywhere in the world with a better live show. The lead singer is known for his bald head, tremendous height and unique dancing style. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 1 – Day 1

Tumblong to Wagga Wagga via Wantabadgery

Sunday April 3, 2016, 45 miles (73 km) – Total so far: 971 miles (1,562 km)

So Nigel dumps me by the side of the highway a little bit south of Gundagai on our way home from Canberra on Sunday. It is by my request. My plan is to ride home from there via Wagga Wagga (because the more interesting route through the hills would put me in considerably more smoky air from prescribed burns).

It’s a warm day with sun and a strengthening breeze. It really is a perfect autumn day. You can tell that Nigel is used to me disappearing on the bike, and that he has no real concerns. After we’ve unloaded the bike and my gear, I tell him he can go ahead and go. And he does. He does ask if I have my phone and that it is charged. Then he leaves me there in the dirt with a pile of panniers, a front wheel and a bike. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 1 – Special Feature

New Oceanic Take Away – defining local

Sunday April 3, 2016, 45 miles (73 km) – Total so far: 971 miles (1,562 km)

This page is about buying local and supporting local business. It documents my required purchases to qualify for a Bike Life Challenge ride. As part of the Challenge, you must make a local purchase of some kind with each ride.

So you can’t get much more ‘local’ than The New Oceanic Takeaway shop in Wagga Wagga. It has been owned for the past 40 years by a line of Greek families. They make up their own batter for the fried foods, hand-form fresh hamburger patties each day and hand-cut their chips from fresh potatoes. There is not much healthy food to be had there, but the food on offer is fantastic, old-fashioned takeaway. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 1 – Day 2

Wagga Wagga to Jindera via Collingullie and Pleasant Hills

Monday April 4, 2016, 104 miles (168 km) – Total so far: 1,075 miles (1,730 km)

I am not too sure how this day is going to go. But I’m not worried about it. I’ve got a couple days to get home and a good idea of where I can camp and get water along the road ahead.

I have enough food for two days in my panniers, a bottle of Coke and an extra litre of water along, too. There will be nowhere to get food on the route except at Collingullie (too early in the day) and Walla Walla (close enough to home you might as well ride the last 15 miles). The only place to get water will be at Pleasant Hills 60 miles into it. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 2 – Day 1

Winton Wetlands to Tatong

Saturday April 9, 2016, 34 miles (55 km) – Total so far: 1,109 miles (1,785 km)

I wish autumn were the perfect season to ride here, like it is in the Western US states I’ve ridden. It could be, but it is not. All of the perfect autumn days with stable weather, light winds, sun and perfect temperatures are always filled with bushfire smoke from planned burns. Sigh…. get rid of the heat, and then I can’t breathe.

I’m having a heck of a time trying to find somewhere to ride this weekend. There are burns all over the place – the website list shows 251 already lit, about to be lit or to be lit in the next 10 days. Sigh…. I don’t want to ride out in the flat bits among the farmers burning stubble either. Maybe I just won’t ride. My lungs are tight from three weeks of ambient background smoke anyway….

But then I tell myself to just get over it. Just go ride. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 2 – Day 3

Tarrawingee Bushland Reserve to Jindera via Springhurst, Chiltern and Albury

Monday April 11, 2016, 62 miles (100 km) – Total so far: 1,243 miles (2,001 km)

I’ve set my alarm so that I can be on the road early and away from all the outlying areas whose residents might commute into Wangaratta for work by the time they’ll be on the road.

My breathing is not quite so bad this morning – the smoke is less thick this morning but still a background nuisance. That smoke, however, is providing a pretty amazing sunrise. There is some intense stuff going on over there behind the trees. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 3

Oak Brand Cookies N Cream: The local loop

Sunday April 17, 2016, 11 miles (18 km) – Total so far: 202 miles (325 km)

After two weekends in a row being away for most of my four-day weekends, I had a fair amount of things to catch up on this Sat/Sun. I also wanted to hang around the house while Nigel was using the chainsaw to do some tree work. Ambulance response times here aren’t all that flash, so should he need emergency assistance, it would be quicker for me to drive him to the ER in Albury than wait for an ambulance.

While all of this didn’t allow me to put down any good miles over the two days, Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 4 – Day 1

Molesworth to Euroa via Caveat and Creightons Creek

Sunday April 24, 2016, 45 miles (72 km) – Total so far: 1,288 miles (2,073 km)

I spent most of the week trying to figure out a plan for this weekend’s ride in the Strathbogies. I pondered routes, where to leave my car, where I might be able to camp, how to avoid truck traffic and how to avoid long weekend traffic, and where I could get water and food. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it to come together neatly. So I finally decided on a general plan by Friday evening. On Saturday, I headed south in the car and the plan fell apart immediately. But… the weekend was pretty perfect anyway. Go figure. Read more

4,000 for 40 – April Ride 4 – Day 2

Euroa to Molesworth via Strathbogie and Merton

Monday April 25, 2016, 54 miles (87 km) – Total so far: 1,342 miles (2,160 km)

About 375 million years ago, things were a lot more exciting in what is now Euroa and Violet Town. The earth was very active and readjusting its stores of magma. Today we are again going to ride up into the remnants of that activity.

Yesterday we rode up and over the Strathbogie batholith – a blob of magma that hardened underneath the earth as it cooled. Today we are going to ride up into the adjacent Violet Town volcanics as we traverse the long-collapsed cauldron of a volcano. Batholiths and volcanoes often go together, and here they butt right up against one another. Read more