“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”
John F. Kennedy
Last year, I was invited by Liz Mitchell of Snowy River Cycling to take part on the three-day East Gippsland Rail Trail Ride. This is a fully-supported annual event – due to take place again in October 2017 – and it’s the perfect introduction to cycle touring or for anyone just wanting to spend a few leisurely days cycling and socialising.
Recently, I was asked to write an article for Ride On magazine – which is the membership magazine for Bicycle Network Victoria. I’ve been published by them previously, but not for a while as my writing has taken a bit of a back seat to my editing in recent years. But I’ve always been a huge supporter of Bicycle Network Victoria and the advocacy work they do for cyclists. So I was very happy to get this opportunity to write another article for them. I also love cycling the rail trails and this got me in the mood for a weekend to Bright and a ride on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. So here is the link to the Ride On article… and later this year I’ll have some more blogs about bike rides I’m planning to do.
Source: Riding the trails
“Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living! Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well, now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it…and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!” Jack London
Some time ago I wrote an article for Bicycle Network Victoria but it was never published. They decided that given the state of the trails depicted in my article they probably shouldn’t encourage anyone to go cycling there. But, honestly, I loved getting out in this part of Victoria and, although challenged, we did have a lot of fun… so I’ve decided to share my story here. I also adore Walhalla, having been there many times, and I would highly recommend a visit to this historic township, even if it’s not on a bicycle.
When I suggest to my siblings Pete and Lynn that we go for a bike ride on a couple of short rail trails, I’m not expecting it will take us all day. The Walhalla Goldfields Rail Trail, which runs from Erica to Thomson in Victoria, is only 14km return and, on paper, looks relatively easy. Admittedly, there has been some recent wild weather but we don’t imagine this will have impacted on the trails too much.
Initially the route takes us away from the railways original alignment, where there was once a trestle bridge, and there are steep, slippery sections to negotiate. At Jacobs Creek we meet a couple of amiable firemen, who are refilling the water tanks on their truck, and they tell us we could’ve begun our ride at the Walhalla-Tyers Road to skip this messy section. Moments later we wish we had, as we come to another nasty climb. None of us has the legs to get more than halfway up and we are momentarily off our bikes, walking uphill. It’s an early sign of things to come.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” Paulo Coelho
In this week’s blog I’m happy to share the words of my friend Lana Williams, who recently volunteered to help another friend in an inspiring cause. This is a story about cycling, travel, volunteering, fund raising and, ultimately, overcoming adversity. I hope you enjoy it.
Ride with no limits
Riding 14,275 kilometres around Australia on a pushbike is not something most people would do. In fact, they’d probably just laugh and say “get real”. But not Glenn Carter. He has undertaken this very challenge to raise money for a great cause.
Two years ago, Glenn’s friend Emma Booth was paralysed in a car accident. Undaunted, Emma has since set her sights on representing Australia in the 2016 Paralympics. Glenn’s ride around Australia will help Emma get to Rio to compete in the Equestrian events.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
In 2008, I participated on the Great Victorian Bike Ride and wrote the following article. As I mentioned in my previous blog (When opportunity knocks), this article led to many other great opportunities in my writing, photography and editing. I have fond memories of the ride and all the people I met.
Great Victorian Bike Ride
Squinting through the swirling dust I could barely make out the direction of the road as it turned to rise above the drought-stricken lakes. Atop the hill I saw cyclists lying on the ground, exhausted. But I forced myself to peddle on. After cycling 50km into a relentless headwind I was in no mood for these desolate lakes, which seemed intent on joining forces as one gigantic dust storm. I was desperate to get out of the wind and silently cursing anyone that had ever uttered the word ‘holiday’ in reference to this bike ride.
“Not knowing when the dawn will come
I open every door.” Emily Dickinson
Two weeks ago I received a call from a DJ at a community radio station in Melbourne. Matt, from Joy 94.9, had found my details on the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance website, where I have a profile, and wondered if I’d like to be a guest on his program, The Escape Pod. He was particularly keen for me to talk about my travel photography, as well as my freelance writing and travel blog.
My first instinct was to say a BIG and very resounding NO. I’m so terrified of public speaking and I don’t like being the centre of attention. I think it’s why I enjoy sitting at my computer putting words on a page, or being out on a hiking trail taking photographs. That is what I’m passionate about. And if someone is inspired by my words, I’m thrilled. That’s reward enough for me.
“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
Henry David Thoreau
Seeing carpet wildflowers in Western Australia
Cycling across Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Crouching next to a mountain gorilla in Uganda
Trekking to Machu Picchu, Peru
Seeing the sunrise at Wilsons Prom, Australia
Hiking on Great Wall of China
This is my 100th blog so I’ve decided to celebrate by sharing 100 travel experiences through my photographs. When I think about my travels I think of all the wonderful people I’ve met, the amazing places I’ve seen, and all the fun things I’ve done – many outside my comfort zone.
Travel has broadened my horizons, opened my eyes to other cultures and beliefs, and has taught me tolerance, acceptance and adaptability. In the words of Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
I feel so lucky to have all these memories … as well as many, many more!