Not all of my time in Australia was spent bike touring, but I wanted to share the experience. So here’s a gallery of photos, covering Portal in Brisbane, going to Christmas and New Years in Sydney, and the summer and autumn working out on the Queensland cattle properties.
With a fun little story at the end.
Things were different after I left Pittwater.
Normally I try not to give myself any itinerary nor schedule; something I taught myself not to do during my World attempt. I followed the definition of adventure like some sort of mantra: to not know what is going to happen, but continue forward anyway. Plans run contrary to this.
But in the years since the fracture, that tour – the idea that had been that tour – crumbled. Now there remains but the lingering smoke of its smoldering fire. Will I ever realize its completion?
So much from those years on the road is with me still, though. Riding on the whim of the wind is still my style, still the best way to unlock that elusive sense of freedom. Only at the end, on the last leg of this new bike tour, did that change.
I had a ticket to ride on an airplane. Home.
Magpies look like crows with white on their black wings and back. They are smart, able to make dozens of different interesting noises, and mimic other birds, and they are said to have some of the best facial recognition of any bird. They are also very territorial and aggressive, especially during mating or nesting season. And they seem to take a particular dislike to cyclists! (more…)
It’s been pretty rainy out here on bike tour in the Australian winter.
One night in Victoria near Tallingatta I found myself camping on one of those areas where the copious run-off from the hills soaks the topsoil, turning it into a squishy muddy mess.
The end of the bike path. The rain had started again. No time to find anything better… Don’t ask.
No matter what I did, no matter what I sat on, I ended up with a wet bum. It sucked. Hopefully none of the neighboring farmers saw me pulling my drawers down to dry off my shorts above the fire! A risky maneuver but necessary before climbing into my dry sleeping gear…
And as I lay in bed, wishing for a nice dry night of camping some day soon, I remembered seeing a design in the Bushcraft books I got from Carolyn. It was a chair, made from a simple forked stick and an empty grain sack. “Boy, could I use a chair!” I thought.
Well, I’ve been getting into leatherworking a bit here in Australia, and since they say kangaroo leather is some of the best – used for things like soccer shoes – I decided I would try to tan my own hide, if I could.
Photos of the last leg of the Aussie tour
We met Jess and Duncan in the summer of 2013, after the first leg of our Pacific sailing trip, in the French Polynesian Marquesas islands. They hail from Falmouth, England, one of my favorite places I’ve ever been! For months we sailed near and around them, often anchoring right next to each other, Alliance and Portal keeping each other safe(mostly Alliance rescuing Portal actually). And their crews became great friends!
Now they are living on the mighty S/V Alliance, in the gorgeous Pittwater Bay, North of Sydney. Obviously that made the perfect destination for my bike tour!
Once again, I’ll let the photos tell their own stories! Enjoy!
I got to Canberra early enough to make a detour to the Green Shed, a side business attached to the local rubbish dump. I appreciate that they save them from the landfill, but most of the bikes in there were crap. I found one wheel, though, whose rim might replace mine. I bought it for five bucks and strapped it down on top of the pile.
Made it to Parliament House (with random bike cop)
I’ve been right into Australian bushcraft since I first set foot on the cattle property out back in Queensland. There’s still a lively remnant of the old homesteaders and cattle ranchers out there, a tradition of making do with what you’ve got. I love the practicality of it, the improvised craftsmanship. It’s impressive, the sheer resourcefulness of old timers like Keith, who keeps his property running “on nothing but the smell of an oily rag.”
One bushie trick in particular was floating around in my head as I lifted my gear over a barbed wire fence that evening. It’s a fencing join called the figure eight, really just a reef knot, assembled from two ends of wire and secured tighter the more the fence is “strained.”