Date written: 1 September 2022
Date posted: 14 September 2022
This post was written by hand in my diary on the road, and entered into the blog when I got home.
I took the opportunity this morning to sleep in a little in my nice hotel bed before lugging all my gear and bike downstairs (the hotel doesn’t have a lift) to have a buffet breakfast at The Larder, the hotel’s restaurant. I had a liberal helping of hash browns, bacon, eggs, sautéed mushrooms, muesli, fruit and lots of guava juice. And of course: a double espresso!
I met a property developer at breakfast named Rory who was attending a conference held at the hotel, and as he was both a local (Torquay) and a cyclist, we chatted about my trip, the Tour de Kids and my work at Starlight, as well as cycling the Great Ocean Road. As I was checking out I bumped into Rory again and he donated $180 to my fundraising page, which was very generous. Wherever you are Rory, thanks!
I set out for yet another beautiful day of riding along coastal vistas of rolling hills and bluffs, stopping for photos at lookouts and the like. It sounds like I was growing tired and the trip monotonous but it absolutely wasn’t: I also took lots of time to check out the little things, flowers and plants on the side of the road, little streams or waterfalls or other details hard to spot at 60+ kph, et cetera.
At Aireys Inlet I stopped at an 80s kid’s favourite lighthouse: Split Point Lighthouse, the setting for the hit ABC’s Round The Twist children’s television program. It was $10 to go to the top, so I left my bike downstairs and went up to the parapet where I met Louise. Louise was friends with Janet Jones, a kind and friendly woman who created a fundraising event for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute called the Lighthouse Classic before losing her long battle with cancer in 2021. We talked about Janet and Fiona Elsey, as well as the beautiful views and other nice things. Louise showed me the workings of the lantern, which was a tiny little modern LED light suspended between huge heatsinks. Most of the light that is emitted from the beacon is amplified by the glass surrounding it, which was shipped from England in the 19th century and is still intact, with no broken sections! It was very informative and I learnt a lot.
With all the epic surf views, it’s easy to miss the beautiful foliage and small details on the cliff side of the road
Louise recommended I speak to Ari at Trailhead Bikes in Anglesea about fixing my brakes and then have a coffee at the Laneway 73 cafe next door. I took her advice on both fronts when I arrived in Anglesea and Ari was fantastic, getting me back on the road in no time. The coffee next door was top notch too!
Anglesea was the end of the beach section of the Great Ocean Road and as such, I was very sad to leave it. I stopped at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie on the way to Torquay to grab some treats for my partner and daughter, and that was nice, but really after Anglesea the road got progressively duller, more traffic, shitter surroundings and by the time I got to Geelong I was very ready to go home. I stopped at Kardinia Park to express my feelings about Geelong Football Club, at Cunningham Pier to “finish” my ride at a regular fishing spot, then caught the VLine train to Melbourne.
I met my partner Danielle at Spencer Street (Southern Cross) Station and we both caught the train home, where I promptly switched into fishing mode, ready to hit the Goulburn River in Eildon tomorrow to welcome Trout Open Season.
I’ve had an awesome ride! As I write this I’m in bed, absolutely exhausted physically but emotionally I’m on a massive high, refreshed and invigorated after five days of the most lovely cycling Victoria has to offer. I completed the entire length of the Great Ocean Road, saw so much wildlife (and sealife!) and met some nice people, had some adventures and some things go wrong, battled thunderstorms, fog, rain, wind and beautiful sunshine to just have some wonderful times.
On my travels today, I passed through such beautiful country and would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of that land, the Gadubanud and Wathaurong people, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.