Although I’m absolutely loving my job at Starlight, I’ve been working pretty hard this year and between the pressures of work, family, home and parenting I am desperately in need of a little break. So I’ve booked out a week’s leave at the end of August to tackle the Victorian Great Ocean Road. And because I’m a silly bastard I’ve opted for the wild and wet weather that the Shipwreck Coast is renowned for at this time of year. Fun!
My partner is working from Warrnambool that week, so I’ll meet her and spend a few nights together chilling out and enjoying the local hospitality, before she heads home and I depart on my way. I’ll ride from Warrnambool to Geelong over the space of a few days, camping along the way, with a hotel here or there, and even a spot of trout fishing planned at Aire River.
From Apollo Bay to Anglesea, I’ll ride along one of Australia’s best stretches of tarmac, the world-famous Great Ocean Road. I’m looking forward to the lower traffic that winter will bring, even if it means braving the elements.
If you are alone, then the country is not your playground, it is your companion; and nature becomes Nature, a person, someone to whom you can almost talk. You do not only walk through measured miles; you sit, dreaming, contemplating, absorbing it all, through unmeasured minutes.
A broad outline of the trip
Approximate Riding Time
The Great Ocean Road is heavy with tourists, and I’m going on the assumption that even in the off season there will be places to stop and eat. I’ll take some freeze-dried meals just in case, as well as my “fuel” for cycling, but otherwise it affords me the chance to slim down a little on the cooking gear.
I am also not needing things I would take into the bush, like firelighting gear, hatchet, fishing rod holders — I will fish, but not with bait — solar panels, water bladder and so on.
The reduction in bush camping gear will be offset by increased cold and wet weather gear. I’m planning to take both my sleeping bag as well as my wool blanket. I will take both tarps, but have managed to reduce the ropes a lot by using 1.75mm Dyneema lines with DutchWare hardware, tiny little titanium tie-offs given cute little insect shapes and names like Fleaz, Flyz, Ringworms and Stingerz.
I took a little test ride today (Sunday 21 August) fully loaded to test the handling and everything is hunky dory. I tried to wobble and throw the bike off and my trusty Serena just kept on true to form.
One of the weirdly perverse benefits of anticipating wet and windy weather is that I’ve paid a lot more attention to waterproofing and weight distribution, which in turn has led me to probably my most carefully-considered pack yet. Here’s hoping it goes the distance!