Monday, November 18, 2013

The Great Vic 2013 : Mount Gambier to Geelong

The Great Victoria Bike ride is an annual event down here in the Melbourne universe. As cycling culture grows in this city of 4,000,000, more people participate in active transport. The great Vic draws school groups, elderly, and competitive bikers to do a different route that generally begins on the periphery of Port Phillip Bay and follows country roads to the city.

Cathy and I begin the 610 km. journey on Saturday November 23rd in the south Australian town of Mt. Gambier. Nine days later, with a rest day mid-tour, we will roll into Geelong. It will be a relatively flat route along the ocean road which straddles the coastline. There are some climbs which will test our mettle.

We have done some rides in town. Melbourne has some lovely cycle tracks and we have availed ourselves of them. One needs to have one's head up as cars rule here as they do everywhere.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Melbourne Cycling

G' Day from Coburg,

We have been here a week. We are getting used to the roads and the cycle paths. Melbourne is generally bike-friendly, especially for a city that also has a robust car culture and a massive metropolitan area that is not particularly well-served by public transit.

It is spring time in Australia. The weather has been alternately warm with brilliant sunshine and gray or overcast with strong winds from the Antarctic. The flowers are in bloom and we are reacquainting ourselves with the native species: banksia, wattle, eucalyptus. The city has reserves or parks throughout. With cricket and footy being the two dominant sports, ovals are on sprawling grounds where there are also tennis courts and, sometimes, pools.

Our hosts have been uniformly welcoming and gracious. The food is almost all local, proudly Aussie. And the quality is excellent as this land is blessed with a rich variety of  produce, fish and meat. Add the bounty of fine wine and cold beer and you have a generous feast.