Date writ­ten: 23 Sep­tem­ber 2019

Date post­ed: 7 Octo­ber 2019

This post was writ­ten by hand in my diary on the road, and entered into the blog when I got home.

I arrived at the Roy­al Exhi­bi­tion Cen­tre in Carl­ton this morn­ing with no small amount of ner­vous trep­i­da­tion, as well as some weary eyes, after catch­ing the 0520 train with my part­ner, Danielle. We said good­bye with a big hug at South­ern Cross Sta­tion, and I rode from there to Carl­ton, and parked at the big foun­tain to the south of the Exhi­bi­tion Centre. 

Not long after I arrived, Bec Yan­dell, respon­si­ble for look­ing after Ambas­sadors at One Girl, arrived and we walked around to Gertrude Street to grab a last cof­fee from The Don­key Café. By the time we returned, One Girl CEO Sarah Ire­land, and Fundrais­ing & Rela­tion­ships Man­ag­er Kara Gib­bons had also arrived, as well as a stu­dent and fel­low Ambas­sador who’d come along to help send me off, though unfor­tu­nate­ly, I did­n’t quite catch her name.

Sarah was also on a bicy­cle she uses to com­mute, and we com­pared bikes a lit­tle, then got right into post­ing on Insta­gram, and tak­ing as many pho­tos as we could, then we all walked around to the oth­er side of the Exhi­bi­tion Cen­tre, as the south side was off-lim­its to cycling. Once on the Muse­um side, we took some video footage of myself rid­ing the bicy­cle, then we all said good­bye and I start­ed off on the ride at about 0830!

I got to the major Flem­ing­ton Road round­about, and got caught up in the traf­fic flow a lit­tle and was forced to make a few u‑turns and cir­cle about a bit before I got going again down Flem­ing­ton Road towards Moonee Ponds. I head­ed up Mount Alexan­der Road, past Moonee Ponds Junc­tion — which is a bit spe­cial to me as I was born near­by! — and Essendon Sta­tion, in the area where I grew up. It was nice to be able to start the ride off in my old stomp­ing ground. I head­ed along Mt. Alexan­der Road along my old paper­boy route to Keilor Road, and through to Nid­drie. I’d mis­placed my leg­warm­ers, so picked up a pair at one of my old child­hood bike stores, Rapi­do Cycles, which is still oper­at­ing in Keilor Road.

I crossed the Calder Free­way into Air­port West and head­ed along Fullar­ton Road to Keilor Park, where I coin­ci­den­tal­ly rode past my Aunt Robyn, tak­ing a morn­ing walk! What are the odds?! Stopped briefly to have a quick chat and explain what I was up to, then head­ed off, again cross­ing the Calder, past Brim­bank Park to old Keilor Vil­lage, and up to Tay­lors Lakes. Along this stretch some young hoon decid­ed he’d show off his awe­some man­li­ness and ful­­ly-sick car by burn­ing off a dude on a bicy­cle. What a leg­end! I bet all he gets all the ladies…

I rode through Tay­lors Lakes, keep­ing an alert eye on the SUV traf­fic through Water­gar­dens and the out­ly­ing estates, and arrived into Melton about 1130. Apart from strong (45kph) head­winds and very dodgy road shoul­ders, as well as the usu­al Mel­bourne lev­el of road­works, the ride through Tay­lors Lakes and Melton to Bac­chus Marsh was fair­ly unevent­ful. I spoke to a nice lady at the NAB in Melton when I stopped for a quick lunch of scrog­gin (oth­er­wise known as trail mix) and water, as well as a cou­ple of local cyclists.

I fol­lowed the Old West­ern High­way down to Bac­chus Marsh from Melton, and it start­ed rain­ing. I came into Bac­chus Marsh past the orchards, and strug­gled a bit with the Grey Nomads get­ting annoyed at not being able to get around me due to the lack of a shoul­der. Saw plen­ty of Asian pick­ers in the fields wear­ing tra­di­tion­al rice pad­dy hats. Decid­ed to ride around the back way through Bac­chus Marsh and Maddin­g­ley to Iron­bark Road, rather than try to deal with the Pent­land Hills via the high­way in the rain. At the rise of the hill just before Iron­bark Road (McCor­ma­cks Road), the road con­di­tion here was shock­ing­ly unsafe, and I was forced to get off the bike and walk it up the hill, as trucks were pass­ing me with no notice and no room to move and each time I tried to veer off onto the grav­el I strug­gled to con­trol the heavy trail­er and bike com­bi­na­tion at such low speed and gearing.

At Iron­bark Road, what I’d thought was pret­ty flat in the car was hilly enough to be a prob­lem into the head­winds, and after stop­ping by the V‑Line rail­way track for a bite to eat, I start­ed to realise just how bloody sore and tired I was get­ting. How­ev­er, with my heart set on attend­ing a Kris Kristof­fer­son con­cert at the Civic Hall in Bal­larat tonight, I pushed on! The head­winds got to 50kph gusts and I start­ed to real­ly strug­gle. I man­aged about 6 or 7 kph at most, and by the time I stopped for a rest at the Bal­lan road­stop on the West­ern Free­way, I’d decid­ed to join the free­way at this point. I’d eat­en so many bananas and scrog­gin I start­ed to fear I might de-evolve to an ape-like form, as I head­ed along the West­ern Free­way, very sore, very tired. My legs were burn­ing as my quads start­ed scream­ing at me “WTF are you doing?!”. Even my lungs were burn­ing as all thoughts of Kris Kristof­fer­son were a dis­tant mem­o­ry. I just want­ed to actu­al­ly make it to Bal­larat in one piece. And this was just Day One! PUSH ON!

I passed the Bun­ga­ree turnoff, and called ahead to Danielle to meet me at the Wood­mans Hill Sec­ondary Col­lege on the cor­ner of Fussell and Vic­to­ria Streets in Bal­larat East. I near­ly got cleaned up by a light truck at the 80 kph road sign near the Mill Mar­kets, but felt elat­ed as I came down the Bal­larat-Bur­rum­beet Road from the West­ern, know­ing I’d made it to Bal­larat in the one day, and in time for Kristof­fer­son too! I show­ered, dressed and head­ed off to see the Sil­ver-Tongued Dev­il live, thus tick­ing off one of my Buck­et List Items, but I could bare­ly walk and with my west­­ern-styled out­fit and cow­boy boots, the man­ner of my walk­ing must’ve been hilar­i­ous to watch for the oth­er audi­ence mem­bers who had no idea I’d just rid­den 120kms all day, and must’ve thought instead I was just too far into cos­tume! Very fun­ny indeed…

Off to my own bed, and ready to hit the road for the ‘sec­ond depar­ture’ tomor­row morning.

How I’d rate today’s journey:

The Journey

The stats

1
Distance ridden
0h 0m 0s
Riding time
1
Elevation (climbed)
1
Average speed
1
Average heartrate
1
Calories burned
1
Max speed
4ºC
Temperature
1
Pedal strokes
Down­load file: bikeit-day1-melbourne-ballarat.gpx

This post first appeared at bikeitinadress.org

I have since retired the bikeitinadress.org web­site as it is no longer need­ed and was cost­ing me mon­ey. I have copied the key arti­cles here.

Category: Bike It In A Dress, Cycling
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