This time last year, I undertook a huge challenge that I’d never even dreamt of before, let alone attempted: I rode my bicycle from Melbourne to Adelaide, wearing a school dress for the charity One Girl’s 2019 Do It In A Dress campaign, raising money for the education of girls in Africa.
The charity runs this campaign every year as their major fundraiser, and the idea is that participants come up with fun and/or challenging activities whilst wearing a school uniform dress (in honour of many African school-aged girls who can’t) and their respective friends and family sponsor them and donate to the overall cause. I had the idea in February 2019 to do something a bit hard, a bit different, and came up with Bike It In A Dress, my effort towards the campaign. In June, I became an official Ambassador for the One Girl team, and set out planning and training for the big ride.
I raised $3,482.93 for the charity, who collectively raised about half a million dollars to help educate girls. It was so rewarding, knowing that I’d personally helped 11 girls go to school for the year, as well as being a fantastic physical and mental challenge that a year later, I’m still buzzing about.
I created a blog at
bikeitinadress.org (since retired) to help me track and post about my own journey. I’ve duplicated some of those blog posts on this site as well so you can still read about my journey…
Some relevant Bike It In A Dress posts
Today’s ride was by far the toughest, most gruelling bicycle ride I’d ever undertaken, and pushed my body to limits I hadn’t exceeded for more than ten years… I rode along the city streets down Glen Osmond Road and then Pulteney Street like a conquering Roman caesar as I beamed with pride, appreciation and satisfaction, stopping at Rundle Mall and achieving what I’d set out to do six months earlier, with nothing more than a rough sketch of a plan and a crazy idea to ride to Adelaide in a school dress.
Today was scheduled as a rest and recovery day, to allow me to a) recover from the past eight day’s journey, and b) rest in preparation for tomorrow, which might turn out to be the hardest day’s ride yet. So I stayed another day at the Murray Bridge Marina & Caravan Park on Roper Road, Murray Bridge.
I left Coonalpyn this morning feeling pretty awesome. I’ve gotten a large portion of my journey out of the way, I’ve stayed at some great places, met some lovely people, and seen some beautiful sights.
I woke up this morning with a bit of a hangover, but nothing too bad, and got my laundry done pretty early. I wandered around town for a while, checking out the Bordertown train station, a stop for the Overland Train I’ll be taking back to Melbourne this coming Friday, and was saddened at how run-down and in need of maintenance the neglected but beautiful heritage station was.
After the hard day yesterday, today was brilliant! Awoke refreshed, with not a lot of distance to cover to finish off Leg 4 — about 40 km to Bordertown, SA. I left Kaniva early and headed out for the border between Victoria and South Australia at Serviceton. I was soooo happy to finally reach the border. Although I’ve already covered half the distance of my journey, in my mind the border has always been the ‘halfway’ milestone.
I set out from Dimboola and before long reached Loch Iel, more commonly known as the Pink Lake. This salt pan is home to a type of algae that reacts to the sun by showing a pink hue, making the entire lake varying shades of pink depending on time of year, sun position, etc. It was very beautiful…
I started this morning in the worst possible way — disaster struck my rear axle. I snapped the ‘Burley Balls’ rear axle bolt, which was made out of cheap Chinesium, as I went to depart the Darlot Motor Inn! I was devastated — this could easily have been the end of the adventure right there. I was completely immobilised. Without a rear axle I couldn’t even walk the bike to the local bike shop. I rang my partner Danielle in despair.
I awoke early this morning to the sound of kookaburras laughing, and then cockatoos having a screaming match, so much better than an alarm clock! I love the bush!! Enjoyed a beautiful sunrise through the gum trees as I packed up camp and had a muesli breakfast. The family I’d met, the two little fellows were up bright and early like me, so we enjoyed breakfast together before I headed back down the gravel track to the highway. Lovely people!
Slept in slightly, then as I was leaving from home and not coming back, needed to double-check that everything was packed into the trailer and the gear was all ready to go.
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.
When sitting down to plan out the Ride in September, one of the first requirements to come to mind was carriage space on the bike — how would I allow enough storage for food, water, shelter, changes of clothes, etc? Being a newcomer to the world of bike touring, I quickly found a number of different options and styles of travel, that when compared to the gear I already had, left me with three main choices to make: A setup involving lots of panniers and frame bags; a support vehicle to accompany me and carry all my gear; or attaching a cargo trailer to the rear.
I made another run out to Creswick today, taking a slightly different route to avoid a long gravel section of roadwork, and taking in a bit more of Pootilla and Wattle Flat. It was also the first chance I’ve had to field-test the Jakroo cycling bibs that arrived on Friday!
Not wanting to ‘waste’ money on proper accommodation that could be far better spent on the cause, and being an enthusiast of the outdoors anyway, the obvious answer for me has always been to camp rough in, or near, each town/stop on the journey. It’s with this in mind that I first started contemplating a simple hammock and tarp setup. The Snugpak Jungle Hammock and All Weather Shelter fitted almost every requirement that I had…
On 29 December 1928, Don Bradman, Australia’s, and some say the world’s, greatest cricketer, scored his first international test century. It was against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the third test of the 1928–29 Ashes series. Today, the annals of Australian sporting history just saw another defining first century.
Smashed out 60 kilometres and had an absolutely beautiful time doing it, riding up the Ballarat–Skipton Rail Trail, a disused railway that’s had its tracks uprooted and fine gravel laid down to provide a pretty wicked little biking/walking/horse trail.
I achieved my first half-century today, logging 50 kilometres on my way out to Creswick and back to Ballarat. The ride was very scenic, and the smell of eucalypts made for a strenuous but altogether very enjoyable day out.This wasn’t just the longest bike ride I’ve ever undertaken (so far) in terms of distance, but also time in the saddle, hitting almost three hours’ riding time.