A report on other rides and adventures
our GTC Members & friends have embarked on.

Ross in the Mekong Delta

It is 6.07 in the morning here near Vinh Long. I am currently sitting in bed, listeng to about 20 roosters competing for air time. No need for an alarm! I am 2 days and about 150 kms from my start in Ho Chi Minh City. I left HCMC at around 6.00 in the morning, hoping to avoid the traffic. I had only ridden around the block previously and that terrified me so I set out with an interesting mix of fear and excitement. To add to that mix,  there was fairly steady rain that continued for most of the day. I made it out of the city unscathed and travelled mainly on small rural roads. Once the nerves had settled, I really enjoyed the riding. Very flat here so it is fairly easy going. Waterproofs don't work too well because of the humidity so I just rode in my normal gear and got wet. Not a problem when it is constantly warm.
The vast majority of traffic on the road is motor scooters and the Vietnamese have their own riding style. It is not unusual to have someone riding towards you on the wrong side of the road because they are just starting out or are turning off 100 metres furthe up the road. You have your hands over the brake levers all the time as you never know when someone will pull out in front of you. Trucks and buses rule these narrow rural roads. When you hear their horns blaring, it is time to get right off the road. I already know that I brought the wrong bike for this trip. Flat bars would make sitting over the brakes easier, bigger tyres would help on the rougher roads and over the holes in the small bridges and the gigantic expansion gaps on the major bridges. Most important of all would be mudguards. I had to stop just before the first days destination and get a guy at a motorbike repair shop to hose down both the bike and me. We were both absolutely covered in mud. No rain on day 2 but still arrived coated in mud. Despite that, the scenery is great, the people are amazingly friendly and the food is brilliant. I have already decided that I will be coming back again. Another report from further down the road.
Regards, Ross. 

Chris Halpin and Riding Friend in Italy

Zdenka and Elizabeth - FINAL REPORT - 6.6 Podebrady to Prague (48 km)
Hi everyone.
This is the last time we have the pleasure to share our adventure with you. Now I can tell you we did 2200 km without any punctures, or any mechanical problems. I kissed the road 2x and Elizabeth only 1 x. It hurt , but we both escaped only with bruises. We never started in the morning with rain and only once we got very wet. Also we got very cold once, because we had not put on proper clothing.
My best decision was to start very early in European spring. We both do not like hot weather and because of "off-season "the accommodation was very easy to get and not many tourists around.
And in the end we also had fresh cherries straight from the tree.
Now when we finish, we can say we had lot of good luck.
Podebrady to Prague
We have done this part when we started our journey. It was our first day- only it was Prague to Podebrady. That time we followed the Euro velo cycle path and it was very bad. This time small roads and we came to  Prague in record time.
Now we will say good bye to this lovely city and say hello to even lovelier city of Geelong.
We both are looking forward to see you all soon.
Love from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 30.5 Holice to Lazne Bohdanec (42 km) , 31.5 Lazne Bohdanec to Podebrady (62km) , 1.6 to 6.6 Podebrady
Hi everyone .
Only one more day to travel from Podebrady to Prague and that will be the end of our journey. But that will be my next e.mail.

30.5 Holice to Lazne Bohdanec
Cycle path was right next to our penzion , so after breakfast we were on our way. Villages, forests and fields with different crops were passing by. Canola is finishing flowering and cherries are starting to have nice red colours.
Our accommodation in Lazne Bohdanec .
It is penzion Tillerova vila and maybe you will be interested -we paid 1200 koruna ( now is 1$ = 18 koruna ) with breakfast.
Lovely surroundings and very comfortable. But very poor breakfast. Like we said many time before. ( between us "travelling girls") In every accommodation is some plusses and some minuses.

31.5 Lazne Bohdanec to Podebrady.
All morning we were next or near river Cidlina . We thought that was very nice, but then
near confluence ( do not blame me if I am using wrong word for that situation- I use my new translator) of Cidlina and Labe we had even better entrance to Podebrady next to Labe ( Elbe river)

1.6 till 6.6 Podebrady
Because we have left only 45 km to our Metro station in Prague and we have very good accommodation in Podebrady, it was no brainer to stay and do day trips around this lovely part of Bohemia .
On our trip to Nymburg we celebrated our 2000 km.
Our biggest decisions are where to cycle and where to eat. Yesterday for lunch I have chosen barbecue pork ribs. Bad decision. They were delicious, but I suffered after it. Now I am on peppermint tea and lot of water.
On this  healthy note bye for now.
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 25.5 Zabreh to Ceska Trebova (48km), 26.5. Ceska Trebova to Brandys nad Orlici (36 km) , 28.5. Brandys nad Orlici to Holice
Hi everybody,
We are very close to Prague and I have a luxury of spare 6 days to play with. You can see - the distances are not great and also many days of rest. The weather is getting quite hot- so early starts are essential.

25.5 Zabreh to Ceska Trebova
We could not complain about the cycle paths.
All day was like that. Peaceful and just glorious time. Until 5 km from our destination suddenly great traffic on  a small road. I mean great traffic. Truck after truck and road was full of holes-nightmare.Of course it was detour and not only for truck and cars, also for us.
My irritation with the world was increased with slow Wifi in our 4 star hotel . Over priced and 2 stars too many for that hotel in my opinion.

26.5 Ceska Trebova to Brandys nad Orlici.
Who could be irritated or unhappy on a bike.Free as a bird in lovely surroundings like this
Yesterday was forgotten and new enthusiasm was found. End even the accommodation was great. So a rest day was on a card.

28.5  Brandys nad Orlici to Holice
Start was easy, because we have done the same 5 km on our day off. After that was decision time. It is time to decide between cycle path or road. Some were not suitable for  us to ride. I ask two ladies on bikes if the path  through forest is Ok. Yes they said , but when we got there it was not very good, so we had to go back and start again. The rest of a day went without another problem .
Maybe I had a help . We met chimney sweeper and they say it is good luck.
On this note we are saying hi to all.
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 22.5 Kromeriz to Olomouc - 53km, 24.5 Olomouc to Zabreh - 58km
Leaving Kromeriz after 2 nights . The two windows downstairs were our 1 bedroom flat.
Great place and in centre of the old part of the city.
From Kromeriz to Olomouc is cycle path no. 47 and it is following the river Morava. This river is new to our repertoire . We did not have the pleasure before and we were happy to get to know another lovely river.
This time were no nasty surprises,  So I had very easy and relaxing day.
Also Elizabeth had a good day toddling around. ( just quoting).
Even  penzion was no problem to find, like I said before- easy day.
Olomouc to Zabreh (58km)
Olomouc is very old and beautiful city in Moravia . Czech Republic is made from Bohemia where Prague is - and Moravia where the best people are born.
Free day was for touristy bits and lot of walking.
The next day we still followed the river Morava for while but  number of our cycle path changed to 51. Then we hop to another river called Moravska Sazava and after horrid afternoon we collapsed in our penzion called Tucnak.
We should have had the most easy and beautiful day, but we did not expect gale North wind and  ofcourse we traveled all day to the North.
This photo was taken in early morning before the wind started.
We both decided and voted Olomouc to Zabreh our hardest day riding.
Bye for now  from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 19.5 Lesna to Holesov - 43km, 20.5 Holesov to Kromeriz - 55km
Typical country roads - not very much traffic and on both sites are mostly fruit trees. Cherry trees are starting to catch our interest. But unfortunately Elizabeth will miss out.
We had glorious weather from Lesna to Holeshov.  I went through Holesov 10 years ago and noticed  the chateau needed lot of attention. And what a difference time makes. Everything done, only  on one side work was still in progress. And even the lovely park was properly maintained.
We could not check out the chateau inside because that evening was concert held there. So ,the place is alive and used again. Good to see.
Our accommodation was very nice, but no good Wifi - so Kromeriz here we come.
20.5 Holesov to Kromeriz
Not very far, only 18 km , but we liked the country side very much -so we did 55 km.
The region is called "Hana" ( pronunciation is Hanaa") it is very fertile part of Moravia.
Kromeriz is very old city and the old part is very well looked after. But tourist come here because of very unique garden. It was established in 17 century and now is protected by UNESCO.
Life is made of pluses and minuses. Plus for us coming to Kromeriz was not many tourists, but minus was the gardens were not at their best.  In the glass houses are waiting thousands and thousands of flowers in the pots to be placed in the green designs in the garden.  We had to imagined the colour and the splendour when is going to be done. They showed us a photos how it was done last year.
We had rest day here and after all day trying to see everything we were exhausted and ready to rest riding to our next destination.
Cheers Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 18.5. Novy Jicin to Lesna. 18km
I am sure cycling friends will wonder why only 18km ? It was my mistake not to recognise the place  which Mirek and I visited 20 years ago. It was very beautiful little chateau called Lesna. The Lesna we visited was a village called Lesna with a different chateau. I missed the target by 46 km.
Because we came too early to go to our accommodation we went straight to the chateau and hoped to give the bikes to somebody to look after, but not this time, so we went to the park instead. I boiled water for our tea and then I was writing my memories when a bunch of ladies came and started to talk to us. They were very interested in our travel. It was an unexpected and very nice meeting.
They are a walking group. Something similar like the group I go walking with when I am in Prague.
The chateau in a village called Lesna.
We did not have everything easy, few quite, long hills made the distance seems that little bit longer.
Accommodation very nice but Wifi very, very slow und unpredictable. One night and we are on our way again.
Cheers from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 16.5 Ostrava to Novy Jicin 53km
Exit from Ostrava was as good as entrance. 10 km perfect cycle path by the river Ostravice.
Not bad eh"
We would liked to go like that for ever, but we had to cross from east to west to join river Odra through the Ostrava suburbs. The Odra cycle path was not as good, but still very enjoyable. After we left the river it was only small roads, villages and flowering canola everywhere.
Novy Jicin is small town with long and interesting history. Also well known industry of hat making.
What we observe was very clean town and the old part is gorgeous.
Town square.
Our penzion we loved and after  we had our clothes washed by the owner, we absolutely adore it.
Tomorrow day off.
We will have to test our legs if they still remember the walking skills.
Many regard and love to all from Elizabeth and Zdenka.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 3.5 Zgodna (Oswiecim) to Wisla Mala. 46km, -- 14.5 Wisla Mala to Jastrzebie Zdroj 30km. -- 15.5 Jestrzebie Zdroj to Ostrava 46km.
Well,  Ostrava (Czech  Republic) was little reminder of time flies and we must make sure to reach  Prague exactly 7.6. So many lovely places on our way - it will be great temptation to stay one or two days to look around.
13.5 to Wisla Mala
We started very successfully following cycle pass Euro 4 ( long cycle pass from Krakow to Wien), but not for long. 10 km through nice forest the road was impossible to ride. Alternative road was Ok but too big for my liking. Beautiful spring weather and no wind was bonus. Our destination Hotel Pustelnik in Wisla Mala.
In front of our hotel Elizabeth was asking if he loves me or not. Unfortunately she will never know, she had a wrong flower.
Accommodation so, so --but great dinner.
14.5 to Jastrzebie Zdroj
Again many lakes and just great time of the year. Different colours of lilacs in full bloom and still quite lot of tulips in the gardens . Many people outside in the gardens looking after the veggie patch. Everything was going splendidly, but in the end I had a shock of seeing my hotel from booking.com had different name than the real one. In the end everything was Ok. They changed the name and did not inform the website.
ALLS  WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
15.5 to Ostrava
Odra river is the natural border between Poland and Czech Republic . In Bohumin near the bridge were still unkept buildings leftover of passport checks of communist era.  But that are long past and forgotten times.
To centre of Ostrava was for me the easiest navigation and also the perfect bike passes. From north to south 2 rivers are passing centre of town. One is on the east side call Ostravice and on the west side is Odra. So what you do is see on which side is your hotel and go on perfect bike pass to the destination.
They are getting better making people to use bike more often.
On this happy note Elizabeth and  Zdenka saying bye for now.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 10.5 Kalwaria Zebrzydowska to Rudze (near Zator) 42km and 11.5 Rudze to Zgodna ( Oswiecim) 26km
My memory of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is not only the lovely walk we had on our day off, but also our hotel and staff in it. We are travelling out of season, so everything is much more easy to book, but it seems to us , much more relaxed.
Very nice hotel, everything what it should be in 3 star hotel. On website booking.com, was all day restaurant mentioned.  And girl in reception confirmed that is so. After shower and very hungry with imagination of different lovely dishes we entered the cold dining room. We saw 3 men doing something behind the bar. No one said hello,so we sat quietly like good  Oz ladies do. I can see Ina saying " I do not believe Zdenka will sit quietly for long" and ofcourse she is right. After while I cough , no response, then I wave my hand -nothing and after very loud excuse me, one man left the room and after while returned with girl from reception. We ask if we can have menu. No menu only 1 type of pizza which  3 man were just making it . 1 was teaching them . They did not have many ingredients so we end up with dry mushrooms topping. The base was all what we ate. We  had good laugh  after and I hope , you also  will appreciate the funny side.
The 42 km  to Rudze was very peaceful and not very demanding. Up and down in just right height to carry us on the next hill with not much effort. We arrived in Rudze just after 12.
11.5  Rudze to Zgodna ( Oswiecim) 26 km.
In Rudze we had very good accommodation only for 130 z  with breakfast. Private bathroom, nice room and wifi. Only problem was the owner switched off the wifi before she went home. For me - rest day from writing.
Anyway we woke up to lovely sunny day. The part of Poland we are travelling in corridor between 2 mountain ranges. One is Beskydy and the second is Wyzina Malopolska . Between the two ranges is lovely valley with lot of lakes and marshes. And because is spring many birds are nesting in these lakes. Everywhere you look it is something to see. Unfortunately the roads are not always in good condition for observing too much.
In the distance we could see snowcap Beskydy. Photo is not as good.
To get to our accommodation we had to go through centre of Oswiecim to a suburb  where our hotel Old Tree Villa is located.
Second floor on the right is our room.
Two nights here. Hoping to go for bike trip with out our panniers
Many regards
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 8.5 Krakow to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (57 km) and 9.5 free time in Kalwaria Z.
Hi everybody,
After very nice 2 days in Krakow we were again on our bikes looking from Euro Velo n.4 bike pass (next to river Wisla) to the vista of the town.
Going to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is going closer to Czech border and Beskydy mountains.  Luckily we again sneak through different valleys . As usual the 41 km end up 57 km . Few roads were not possible to ride and few were delight.
And even little surprise on our way.
Oz has big banana and Pols have big energy.
Our destination  Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is small town well known by christian pilgrims.
Between beautiful country side are placed small chapels. Mostly made in 17 century. All different and for devoted christians is place for contemplation and prayer. On top of a hill is basilica and the Franciscan monastery.
Only few more sleeps and we are going to be back in the land of the Czech.
Bye for now with love from
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Potok Wielki to Miechow - 57km on 4.5.17 and Miechow to Krakow - 73 km - 5.5.17
Firstly I have to show you why we decided not to use the train back to Prague.
Can you imagine two of us to be able to go from one platform to another?
Our 2 days of riding were quite demanding, but very picturesque. Steep hills but after that, glorious ridge ride where you can see in the distance all the villages and forests. On the day to Krakow the spring arrived . Sunny and 16C. We are not used to it. We did not put our Sun block on.  Elizabeth face is quite red. And doing all the hills, we commented -cold is better. I am happy we made our decision to go early to Europe.
On our way we saw this lovely old wooden church and for minutes we imagined hamburgers . I do not know why we thought that. Ha,ha
On this note I am saying bye from hotel Kazimierz in Krakow . Breakfast time and after that touristy bits. We are here 3 nights so have plenty time to see and enjoy everything.
Love you all
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Kielce to Potok Wielki - 58km - 3.5.17
Forecast is for rain so we are starting early. I was worried because all our travelling was on bigger roads. I should know better. No rain all day, great travelling on perfect surface on big roads with very generous shoulder.
Good and fast riding all day. Only one hiccup on my behalf. Fall again, but this time no harm done. Sand on the side of a road did it.
We arrived at Potok Wielkie for good lunch and I even had a glass of white wine.
Till to morrow .
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Ruda Maleniecka to Kielce - 67 km - 1.5.17
Perfect weather , in 10 minutes through forest , great road and no traffic at all. What more would cyclist want ? Of course some hills. And we got them as well. We are close to Slovak border and close to Tatra mountains. So much different outlook here from the middle  of Poland which we just cycled through. We had little celebration on the way. 1000 km in place called Kozow.
Our photo takers were 3 lovely people which we disturbed from gardening.
On reflection it was very hard day , many hills and strong head wind . But very satisfying. I do not have enough admiration and wonder how Elizabeth can quietly ( sometime) do it. She must have some genes from some Scottish fighter. Now we are in hotel Qubus in centre of Kielce . Staying 2 nights so tomorrow is tourist day .
Bye from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Opoczno to Ruda Maleniecka - 46km - 30.4.17
We did not spend very much time with breakfast, because everything looked like leftovers from that wedding on Saturday night. Everything looked dry and tired and we did not fancy eating that kind of food. Luckily yoghurt was available, so that was it.
Morning was like proper spring day should look like and because it was Sunday not much traffic. Only 11 am it starts when church people are going home for Sunday lunch.
Again my nose had holiday , so we had nice adventure day.
First little adjustment we had to make was  to sneak through private farm.
And after that , only not very nice roads, but lovely enviro.
2pm at motel Kamyk we enjoyed our first proper meal. Chicken soup and crepes with cottage cheese and some with fruit. Very yummy. Already looking forward to dinner. Tomorrow to Kielce.
Till then cheers from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Bronislawow to Opoczno - 59km - 29.4.17
Well, we are off again. In the morning we had big shock to see this bright thing in the sky. Then we remember , it's a Sun!
We can't complain about spending 4 days in hotel Magellan. We had big pool for swimming, sauna, steam bath, spa and forest to walk ad explore.
But bike is best when we cycled around the lake ( large dam) and through forest in lovely  sunshine and no wind. The road was smooth and Elizabeth commented how well I chose  the trip. In my enthusiasm and pride I said " you have to have a nose for it "
And ...
I wanted to bury my nose in it.
On the map it looked like a nice short cut. The sand was so deep even walking was difficult. It was no problem for nice day, but if we had rain it would not be very nice to look for for alternative way.
After 59 km we are in Opoczno (hotel Park) . Hotel was welcoming us with music. Preparing wedding reception for that evening. We were spoiled with our last hotel so everything else is not as good.
Tomorrow we are off again.
Regards Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Rzgow to Bronislawow - 53 km - 23.4.17
We have been travelling 3 weeks so everything we do now is very much routine. And we love early morning start. Today was sunny and bright morning. Birds were singing and the blooming dogs were barking. So many dogs everywhere. The day was quite windy and most of the time to our face. When relief and an opportunity came my way  by jove I took it. It come by a lady (my age) on a old bike with not many gears. She passed us and I could hear Elizabeth encouraging me to overtake her as well. No - I am not proud, my time came to have relief and I enjoyed it.  3km good shelter.
We arrived at hotel Magellan at 1pm. Nice place. Good swimming pool, sauna and spa. I even managed to get a kettle. We are staying here 2 nights. If is good weather tomorrow we are taking bikes for a spin. We are near a big lake and lot of forest. Good opportunity to look around. Bye, bye for now.
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - 22.4. Sieradz to Pabianice - 56 km and to Rzgow - 14 km - 23.4.17
We had lovely flat at Sieradz and would be nice to stay longer, but the show must go on. Plan was A and B. If is reasonable weather, take smaller roads and more kilometres, or smaller distance and bigger roads.
The outlook was very promising. No rain and quite strong wind in very favourable direction.
20 km on small roads was very pleasant ,but after that , when roads looked like that:
It was time to check the bigger roads. No problem at all. 2 m wide shoulder and in every village or town cycle path.
For some reason my prepared route disappeared from my i phone. I remembered the hotel was  near a park. So when I saw big park with lovely sealed path we just turn our bikes in. But it was not our park. Very tall young man on roller skates offered to take us there. Only one more explanation why I could not fined it. On the map it look like park, but it was cemetery .
We were looking forward to stay in this hotel, because great revues by peoples on booking.com. Swimming pool, sauna, great restaurant and hardy polish breakfast was mentioned. What a laugh.  We were going to stay 2 nights, but next morning we were on our way.
To travel 14 km in glorious sunshine was a bliss.Our new hotel is warm and very nice. 2 days here is much more pleasant. We need to have time out and I need to think what to do next. To many possibilities.
Everything is so nice in sunshine.
We just heard the thunder and I am trying to get Elizabeth from under the bed. Ha ha - just joking.
Tomorrow is day off- so till 25.4 is good bye from us.
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Staw to Sieradz - 56km - 21.4.17
I am not telling  you anything  new, if I tell you it is cold here, but it is not raining. So we have to be grateful. Today was again very picturesque and peaceful. On a main road our distance would be 40 km, but we have chosen small roads and the result was 56km.
When we started ,we use to stop and boil the kettle, but discovered in cold weather it is no good to stop for a long time. It is better to go non stop to our accommodation and then have our lunch.
No day is without some kind of excitement some people can say it is irritation. For me today was code for our entrance to our flat. After phone calls, lady from neighbouring flat help us in. The 2 bedroom flat is very nice. If we stay 2 nights we could be cooking our meals,but we are staying only 1 night. Our bikes find good home as well in a 2 bedroom. Do whey look nice and comfy? Now is time to clean my teeth and  bed. Till tomorrow. Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Kalisz to Staw - 35km - 20.4.17
After our hibernation at Kalisz we were ready to go. Cleverly we left our bikes for service at a bike shop (rower sklep) and 10 am on our departure they were ready. We actually left Kalisz at 11 am. It was cold  -1C and when we arrived at our accommodation was  very warm 6C. Maybe because we have not ridden our bike for 3 days it was great. Good roads and even part of our journey we had wind helping us from behind. We will have a good night sleep in 2 double beds and tomorrow again few more kilometres towards Warsaw.
We love you all. Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Wziachowo Wilkie to Kalisz - 61 km - and rest day 17.4.17
No rain in the morning is a good start. Cold is no problem. Again quite a flat country, very agricultural and we spotted lot of hot houses. This morning very quiet and peaceful ride. Easter Monday everybody in church or at home. Part of today journey was small sealed road through forest.  Only us and nature . Magical.
Everything was perfect until Kalisz. We found our accommodation no problem this time- but (it is always but). No person on the premises. At restaurant next door very pleasant lady made phone call to the proprietor and reply was. It is closed. By then we were cold and very miserable so we found hotel close by- very lucky. At the hotel on my iPad ( after I had Wifi again) In my mail, booking.com left note (which was sent same day afternoon )of cancelling our accommodation.
After hot shower everything was rosy again and good dinner evening with complimentary free drinks from the hotel was also good. I haven't have a drink from the time we left, so glass of  wine was good for my nerves. Elizabeth enjoyed her juice as well.
18.4
Our rest day started with snow outside .
We were looking and taking the picture from hotels breakfast room.
My immediate reaction to book another night at the hotel. Bikes are at  a bike shops for check up and we hope for more kind weather to continue . Very soon we have to think to turn around and go back to Prague. Train back is out of question so we have to rely on our leg power only.
That is all from Hotel Europa at Kalisz.
Regards from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Day Trip - 16.4.17
Happy Easter to you all.
We did day trip through forrest and lakes to neat city of Milicz on Easter Saturday. We had seen people going to the church with decorated baskets.
Ofcourse we ask mother and 2 daughters what is going on. It is lovely and old tradition .
People put in the basket Sunday breakfast. Then they go to church where priest bless it. And they take it home to eat it on Sunday. Easter Sunday breakfast is in Poland very important. We also were treated to very special breakfast in our accommodation. We do not know if ours was blessed, but was huge.
Tomorrow we are heading easterly direction to Kalicz.
Till then cheers from Zdenka and Elizabeth

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Woclaw to Wziachowo Wielkie ( near Milicz) - 95 km - 13.4.17
Hi friends,
I am sure, you are thinking why are they doing 95km with panniers? I had a reason to do it this time. It is Easter. It means not too many accommodation , and so we had to stay 4 nights in 1 place. Ofcourse it would be good to stay in a interesting place where we could do a day trips. By Jove we have got it!
It is" Barycz Valley" the region protected as Nature reserve. It is a place of 78 thousand ha of lakes and forest. From tomorrow we are going on day trips.
Our accommodation is very grand in old style, but our host is saving energy and heating the place very sparingly. They gave us lot of blankets. We are not complaining only very often we are mentioning we are still cold . So far it is not working. Food is excellent and plenty of it.
Maybe you will be interested in how much we are paying for our accommodation and food.
At present 1$ = 3 zloty
4 night for 2 people = 480 zloty
1 breakfast = 28 zloty
1 dinner = 38 zloty
Because we love you all , we went outside in cold and windy condition to take pictures of the place we are staying.
The entrance.
Inside entrance and dinning room.
Another small information. Because Polish people are very religious we thought everything will be closed on Easter Friday, but we were surprised everything open. Looks like business is more important.
It is all for today.
Talk to you all very soon.
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Day in Wroclaw - 12.4.17
Hi there,
I forgot to mention about our get together with delightful couple (Warmshower members) we were going to stay with them, but after 90 km we were too tired to wait for them to come home. So we find very nice hotel nearby and join them next day for coffee. We got lot of information about Poland. Local knowledge is so, so important. They were disappointed we didn't want to stay another day ,but we preferred to go to centre of Wroclaw so we can walk and see the city next day.
Monika , Kuba and 6 month baby girl. Forgot her name.
They gave us e.mail so in emergency we can contact them. This is the spirit of cooperation of Warmshower club.
Monika is very much homeopathic believer, so she advised me about the treatment for my injured knee. Cabbage and rest.
Nurse Brown was qualified to do it. I am sure after the cabbage the knee will be like new. Tomorrow is travelling day again.
Cheers from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - From the suburb of Wroclaw to the old city centre - 9 km 11.4.17
Hi everyone ,
Firstly I would like to give you idea about the different cycle passes in Poland.
Pebble one.
And the concrete pattern ones.
Of course, you also if you are lucky enjoy 100 m of good sealed pass but not very often. Some very brave Poles are going with the cars, but not us. Now we are in quite nice hostel in the centre of Wroclaw for 2 night and looking forward to doing some sight seeing.
Adieu to all from Europe trotters,
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Swidnica to Wroclaw - 90km - 10.4.17
At last a beautiful morning. Of course to get out from the city takes time. They are one way streets, detours and it does not help , if after bump on the very uneven road my line on my map disappears. I still had it in the memory, but no Wifi to get it. No big deal. Only at Wroclaw it was difficult to find the street where our accommodation was. In the end we chose a different one. On the left they are cherry trees , but we are too early. What a great day to ride . Perfect temperature and wind in our back all day. Normal distance from Swidnica to Wroclaw is 50 km, but taking small roads it was 90km. We are staying in the suburb of Wroclaw now, but we would like to do some sight seeing so we will try to book something in the centre for 2 nights. Looking forward to talk to you tomorrow .
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Broumov to Swidnica - 42km - 9.4.17
The first border crossing done. Few more to come. This one was very hilly and the actual border was on the top of this huge hill. From Czech climb and down to Poland. Start of one of the ski runs. Bad luck for Elizabeth -no snow. She would like to try it. Only 2 more km and the Polish border.
Polish border. After that 30 km down hill. Some steep, but mostly very gentle. Only we could not go very fast. The roads are even worse then in Czech. We did not book accommodation, only I had idea of 3 possibilities. All 3 -no one home. Next step always is centre of the city and find information. Oops' -not this time it is Sunday and in Poland everything is closed. At last we find hotel - oops' no one in reception. We nearly left when this little lady came racing from a kebab store . Now we are in this 3 star hotel. Not much, but it is bed and shower. Tomorrow Wroclaw. Talk to you then.
Love from Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Adrspach to Broumov - 20km - 8.4.17
You will ask for sure "why only 20 km)? Broumov has newly renovated Benedictine monastery. Part of the complex is also accommodation. I was thinking to go early and have all day to discover something about the history. Also the gardens.
When we arrived we could see something is going on. It was pre Easter market. So much food home made. We bought many thing for our lunch and ofcourse all afternoon I was sipping peppermint tea. Our accommodation - Very good , but ( always something) no Wifi. It was advertised as yes, but it is so weak no possibility to send email. Tomorrow we are crossing border to Poland. Looks like we will be there before you will get this e.mail.
Cheers Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Cerveny Kostelec to Adrspach - 34km - 6.4.17
Hi to cycling and not cycling friends.
What a day ! Start was cold, but we insisted on shorts , thinking of the 25 km steady climb. After 5 km bitter cold wind and ice snowflakes it was time to change our thinking. Every restaurant is closed in the morning, only we spotted small grocer shop open. Vietnamese lady was obliging to let us change. It was not pretty sight 2 old hens in undies in a grocery store.
I am not able to send "R" rated photo - so must be this one. She just finished. And we have even more..... Going out from the shop shivering , we met lady ( Jarmila) and her husband. He was waiting in a car. Of course she start talking and in 10 minutes time we end up in her house eating chicken soup and after that ginger tea with plenty of honey. Lovely couple and we will never forget their generosity. After that ,we felt like we could climb not just hills, but even mountains. Now we are resting in penzion and we will stay 2 nights because we would like to go for walk to see rock formation in a forest near us. You will soon wake up and we are ready to go to bed. We are thinking of you all.
Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Josefov to Cerveny Kostelec - 36km - 5.4.17
Good day to you all.
Luckily we had a very good breakfast at our penzion. Our host made sure we cut our sandwiches for lunch as well. He was very impressed with our age and gave me his private tel. number in case something happen. He said even in Poland he will get us. I hope he was just generous. I would hate to think he was worried we could collapse any minute.
Anyway the breakfast was needed. The hills just started 10km from our destination. Tomorrow it will start in ernest.
But it was not only work we had a lovely time in Babiccinem udoli ( grandmother valley). It is named after a famous children's book. There are places in the valley which are mentioned in the book. I loved that book as a child and as an adult too.
Evenings are still cold, but in our accommodation the heaters are red hot.
Tomorrow to the mountains happily we go. Ha ha
Cheers Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Hradec Kralove to Josefof part of Jaromer (49km) - 4.4.17
Greetings.
After all the washing and drying we had lovely evening with family Ropek. What a lovely and caring couple. Lida prepared most delicious dinner and Jiri gave me all the local knowledge -exactly what I needed.
Morning rain again, but 10am - all is well.
Lida is saying good bye.
We are back to river .Do not worry- local knowledge helped.
Now you can see proper bike pass. This time Euro Velo n.2
Because of the possibility of rain I am not sure where we will end up tonight. We end up in Josefov.
Josefov is part of Jaromerice now. In the old days from 1789. It was a fortress built to protect against Prussia. Our penzion is one of the barracks ofcourse much more modern. Very comfortable and most importantly warm.
Till we meet again. Thats all folks.

Zdenka and Elizabeth - Podebrady to Hradec Kralovy - 3.4.17
Hi again
This time from Hradec Kralovy. All night we had thunder and lightning and of course rain. I was thinking when looking outside at 3am ,one more night in Podebrady for sure. But yahoo forecast is not always right. Morning like we like it. Cool and fresh but not cold.
Also because of our day off I had time to sort my Mapy cz and so far today everything work Ok. We were cruising happily through little villages until nearly the end of our journey when the deluge came. Now we are sitting in our warm bedroom and trying to be positive for tomorrow and only remember the good times.
Something like this:
What ever you do, do not stop keeping your fingers crossed for us.
We love you all
Zdenka and Elizabeth

Zdenka and Elizabeth in the Czech Republic - 2.4.17
Hi all
Our planned exit from Prague was disrupted because of a marathon . Roads were closed in the centre of the city -so we had to take the underground to the last station. Luckily for us ,the clever Czech build recently new lift in our station (Andel ) so everything went splendidly.
You will notice that the " clever Czech " will differ very soon. I know, I said on my last trip - I will in a future never ever take bike track near the river.
Well , if it is Euro velo 4 you could think It would be in good nick. Not in clever Czech country --they made sure it is as unfriendly for touring cyclist as possible. Good for cross country. You could see in the distance very unhappy Jane.
60 km of hard work. Felt like 120km. This photo is only the start after that , I didn't have the strength to take any photos. Trust me , it was bad. But we eventually did it . Good penzion (15$) and great dinner (25$ for 2). decided to stay 2 nights because I would like to see the town.
Podebrady is spa town it means people come drink the unpalatable water ( full of sulphur and other healthy minerals). Nice parks to walk unfortunately no bikes.
So folks thats all for today. Talk to you all soon.
Zdenka and Elizabeth

Zdenka and Elizabeth in Prague - 31.3.17
Hi all friends down under.
So we made it! Flight was very good. Not very much turbulence and landing in Dubai by Qantas was best ever . Food not as good. We had beef salad and the meat was so tough we are still trying to finish it now.
From Dubai to Prague OK but what a disappointment -no Wifi. I was looking forward to attend my farm. We can't have everything.
Ina ,can you remember Brussel ? Well it happened again. In Dubai we were worried if we find quickly our way to our flight to Prague. I should have known better. Travel with Elizabeth is breeze. Bloke came with wheelchair and he didn't take no for answer and we had very easy transfer to our flight.
See photo:
Prague welcomed us with 17C and sunshine.
We just had to visit our roof restaurant for good luck. As usual it was very nice. Tea and profiteroles. No wine. If I am not careful I will join Elizabeth in drinking Fanta soon. Ha ha.
Same time we are having tea Mr Hakl is preparing our bikes for Saturday start.
We are really looking forward to hop on our bikes and go.
We will talk to you all then. Wish us good luck and safe trip.
Cheers Zdenka and Elizabeth.

Ross' QLD Trip - July 2016
Greetings from Cooktown. A mate from Belmont (Belmont Ross) and I arrived here this afternoon after 5 hard days from Cairns. It was mid afternoon by the time we got away from Cairns airport and the ride up to Kuranda was a real struggle with 10% grades and high humidity. The next day was along a forestry track that follows the range (Black Mountain Track) to Jalatten. Fantastic ride through rain forest but very rough and push-up steep in parts. Following day gave us an incredible downhi?l run to Mossman, then along the highway to the Daintree River Ferry and in to the Daintree. The ride over the Alexander Range was a killer with quite a bit of pushing then a great and scenic run along the coast brought us to our camp at Noahs Beach at Cape Tribulation. Great national park camp in the rain forest. We had a cassowary wander past within metres. Next day was something special. The looney fringe of the cycle touring fraternity holds the Bloomfield Track up as something special. It may only be 40 k's long but the 20 to 30 % climbs and descents make it quite a challenge on a loaded touring bike. Uphill the technique is to push forward as far as you can then collapse on top of the bike intil your heartbeat drops. Very therapeutic! Had a fall on a very steep downhill but other than a few bruises, no damage done. Finished at a little town called Ayton. Slept well that night. Today was a straight run up to Cooktown. Just one range to cross and nothing over 15%. The good news is most of the really steep stuff is done. Having a rest day here tomorrow so will do a bit of sightseeing but mostly resting. From here we head North in to the Lakefield National Park. No phone reception for about a week but will try to sent something from Coen. Regards, Ross.

Newsflash from Masters Cycling in Adelaide
CONGRATULATIONS to Rolf who has just won his second Masters Gold Medal and defended his title in Adelaide.

Geoff & Heather Christmas in Italy in April & May 2015.
31-5-15

Our hotel is at far end
Totally different station of the cross for what we usually see.
Heather's first course last night.

Hi all
Last report was from Chioggia a lovely old fishing village that is still a fishing hub though things have changed in today's world.
Our next stop was Monselice which turned out to a very interesting town. There is a lot of old buildings churches and the like to look at with the ruins of a Castle way up on the hill. The most interesting and amazing discovery was 24 skeletons on display at one of the churches. These skeleton all displayed with the burial clothing were relocated there and were exhumed from catacombs that date back to 12c.
We are now in Mantova or Mantua as this old village is known by both. This is lovely village with castles churches theatres museums and the like. There is also a four day music festival on and today is Republic day a public holiday.
Milan is only 150 klm's away now and our journey ends in one week.
Till next time. Cheers Heather and Geoff

 

Zdenka, Elizabeth & Ina's Bike Tour in Europe May, June, July 2015.

Did a 111 kms today, very close to the Dutch border
Photos below:-
1. The Weser trail
2. The Weser river
3. Marina on the Weser
4. May pole and mill
5. An example of the beautiful cycle tracks. Rarely ever have to mix it with traffic, and if we do , the German drivers are so polite.

Ross and John in the Outback May 2015.
30-5-15

Hello Peter, Finally made it to the planned end point so have achieved "Leigh Creek to Longreach" but not all under my own steam, unfortunately. A
quick update since my last report, I spent several days in Boulia, standing by the side of the road with my fully-loaded bike and a sign saying "Winton", without any success. The few passer bys obviously did not like the look of me or the bike. I then got a lucky break when one of the locals offered me a lift to Mt Isa and I accepted. The bike had to suffer the indignity of travelling on the back of a truck! The new plan was to fly home from Mt Isa but when I arrived there I found there was a bus back to Longreach and that would allow me to use the flights I already had. All good. I had a nice ride around the periphery of Mt Isa on Friday, my first ride in a week. Only 30 k's but it was most pleasant, with no knee soreness. I am looking forward to some more riding here in Longreach before I fly home on Tuesday.
All the best, Ross.

Zdenka, Elizabeth & Ina's Bike Tour in Europe May, June, July 2015.

From Celle to Rethem -75kms, a windmill in Bothorn and intersting pictures around the Hannover region such as the Vet's house and the farmer selling milk. Interesting shot of a mobile chook house.

Geoff & Heather Christmas in Italy in April & May 2015.
29-5-15

Well Venice has been and gone and in all we had a great time for the week. We had organised Venice Cards for ferry transport as well as Museum and Church passes.
A couple of days were spent just roaming around this spectacular place and we really were lost for most of the days.
The ferry passes were excellent and allowed movement around Venice as well as trips to Murano famous for its glass products, Burano famous for lace making and Lido. These were all day trips and allowed time for lunch and lots of exploring and buying. Well for Heather anyway.
There is so much to take in and even after seven days there was plenty of unseen marvels. It is definitely a very busy place on land and water though it has a pleasant relaxed atmosphere.
We also visited the Fenice Theatre which is as famous as the one we visited in Milan.
Have now moved on Chioggia a lovely fishing village with an excellent local seafood restaurant. It is a little run down and not really tourist orientated. Next village on the Adriatic and just a klm or two away Sottomarina is a seaside holiday haven with many business' living off those that go to the beach. All for now. Cheers Heather and Geoff
Pictures are
1. Burano the where Burano Lace is made.
2. Gondalas in a canal.
3. Pont deli Scarlzi.
4. Bridge of Sighs.
5. At the beach at Sottomarina near Choggia.

Zdenka, Elizabeth & Ina's Bike Tour in Europe May, June, July 2015.

Photos below:-

1. Our 1,000km celebration at CELLA with Elizabeth & Zdenka
2. Beautiful Cella - avoided being bombed - town from 1248
3. The hotel with flair - where we are staying- has our own kitchen , bathroom and washing machine. Right in the middle of Cella
4. Cella Schloss (castle)
5. Cella Schloss
6. Thought that bed looked comfy!!!!!!!
7. A coco latte box city.

Photos below:-

1. There are more wild geese than there are white swans
2. One of our bush tracks
3. Wienhausen kloster
4. and 5. Aller river
6. Happened to have a lady cycling past to take our 1,000 km milestone photo.

Ross and John in the Outback May 2015.
25-5-15

Peter - a report on the ride from my point of view:
Ross, with his twisted knee, has managed to get a lift by truck to Mt Isa & has booked a bus for next Saturday to Longreach so will fly back on his original ticket on June 2.
After experiencing about 330km of very rough roads (including over 200km on the Birdsville Track) I decided on our first rest day at Mungerannie that I would retrace the 5 day trip back to Marree and Leigh Creek. While we were at Mungerannie the Shitbox Rally called in at the Pub with 200 cars supposedly worth less than $1,000 each. I was pleased that I did make the decision because Ross said that the road condition got worse after Birdsville. As a solitary rider other travellers want to look after you. I had quite a few mugs of tea which were made for me by couples who pulled over for a chat and I managed to have other campers around on all the camp sites on the way back. Unfortunately the wind was in my face for almost all of the 330km back. The roads were generally fairly quiet in terms of traffic - there was one section of road where we did not see a car for 3 hours but would often be an hour apart, then you might get a convoy of a dozen vehicles - such as the field naturalists or on another occasion, about 20 VW's. So you could pick which part of the road you wanted to ride on. The worst spots were floodways where there were larger rocks and sand and the only way to progress was to get off and push the bike (weighing about 50kg with water & gear) through. Ross experienced one day, further north, where he only covered 30km because of long stretches where he had to push.
At Leigh Creek I had 4 days to wait for the bus back to Adelaide so booked a cabin for this time. There was a fellow who came in the next day having ridden from Glen Waverley who was riding to Darwin. As he was in a tent I invited him over at the evening meal and we chatted and watched TV together. I did a number of rides out of Leigh Creek- the best one being to Aroona Dam which was constructed in the 1950's for the Leigh Creek water supply. Also went back up to Copley to sample their delicious quandong pie with cappuccino, of course!
I am now in Adelaide staying with the Brothers at Rostrevor. I have ridden up into the Adelaide Hills to Norton Summit and also to Mt Lofty as well as to West Beach and back along the River Torrens Path. I have booked the train home on 1st June so will get a few more rides in this week and hope the beautiful Autumn weather continues.
Regards from Rostrevor
John
Photos below are:
1. A meal at Quorn on bus trip to Leigh Creek
2. Beautiful Flinders on my return trip
3. Our tents at Leigh Creek before the start - not allowed on the green grass!
4. The Shitbox Rally comes to Mungerannie- our tents are in the bush in the background.
5. On the road back from Aroona Dam

Zdenka, Elizabeth & Ina's Bike Tour in Europe May, June, July 2015.

Photos below:-
1. Lush wheat fields.
2. The Mittelland Kanal- a ship carrying canal which crosses over the Elba River (from the Rheine river)
3. The last time we will see the Elba Radweg (bike path)
4. Second windmill, tomorrow is mill day, my maiden name actually meant miller
5. Our hostess in Haldensleben
6. Flechtingen
7. Flechtingen- we all have purple iPad covers

22-5-15 Elster to Worlitz (38k) and Worlitz to Barby (65k)

The photos 1. Very still morning. 2. Kilometres of cobblestone's roads. 3. Lovely quiet roads. 4. Again cobblestones . 5.Wittenberg. 6.This time bike is better off then car. 7. Garden in Worlitz 8.Part of Unesco protected garden in Worlitz. 9. Our hosts for 2 nights in private accommodation.
10. Nearly time to go again. 11. Team players in Team Jerseys. 12. Interesting sight. 13. Cycle highway. 14. Tonight' accommodation in Barby.

Geoff & Heather Christmas in Italy in April & May 2015.
22-5-15

The peace offering. Some more photos from our gondola ride.

Ross in the Outback May 2015.
22-5-15

Lots of highs and lows since my Birdsville report. Like 3 days of headwinds and bad roads to Bedourie. Averaged just over 7 kph for the 180 k's with
many hours of walking when the road was unrideable. Long days like those tend to play on your mind and I was ready to give up at Bedourie. A rest
day and a change of wind direction gave me my mojo back and I set out for Boulia with renewed optimism, warmer weather and a great tail wind. Made
155 k's for the day. A new record for me, on an over-loaded touring bike anyway. There is always a down-side and just when I started believing I
could make the 190 k's to Boulia, I had a fall. It was just 4 k's short of the end of all gravel roads for this trip! I believe there is a saying
about pride and a fall. Anyway, not too much blood but a wrenched knee. I knew I wasn't going too much further so set up camp at the next suitable
spot and limped the last few k's to Boulia today. The nurse at the clinic didn't have much sympathy. "Stay off it for a few days and come back next
week if the swelling doesn't go down." Lucky I have a good book. Not surewhat happens next..... Best, Ross.
1. The very last few metres of gravel - south of Boulia
2. Doing battle with the flies - north of Bedourie
3. Overnight camp at Eyre Creek waterhole
4. The road north of Birdsville

Geoff & Heather Christmas in Italy in April & May 2015.
20-5-15

Hello all from a dull overcast day in Venice.
After leaving Verona we rode off to Montagnana a medieval village that has walls still surrounding it with four ports (entrances) and at two of the entrances there is a castle. To our surprise and thankfully booked in we were welcomed by a Festa del Prosciutto (ham) which goes over two weekends this being the first. The area is famous for its prosciutto and this is an annual event and people come from miles away for a meal of ham and a wine or beer. Accommodation was good and food of Venetian Style excellent.
Next stop was Piove Di Sacco where we had problems with Bike storage so left a day early, moved on to Mestre where we had a pleasant day in a nice town.
We moved across the bridge to Venezia next day and into a unit for a week. There have been major problems with cleanliness which are now sorted and a massive hamper delivered as an apology.
Walked around all day yesterday virtually lost the whole time and had a lovely ride in a gondola through picturesque narrow waterways. It was amazing.
1. In the gondola.
2. Aperitivo outside hotel Aldo Moro.
3. One castle.
5. The other castle.
4. This is the marque where
the hordes are fed. Thousands of them.

Cheers Heather and Geoff

 

Zdenka, Elizabeth & Ina's Bike Tour in Europe May, June, July 2015.

19-5-15
Our ride today is 45 km from Strehla to Torgau. Through the arch is part of Strehla's Schloss, some pebbles over part of the bike path. A dark hot chocolate is heaven. Torgau has it's own castle of course. The path smooths out and a quiet break by the river for a drink is very peaceful. Arrived in Elster (67 km) to our accommodation.

17-5-15
We left our accommodation, cityherberge, and bid Dresden goodbye again following the Elbe River through Meissen, (City Square) and on to Strehla (72km).

16-5-15
We left our lovely hosts in DECIN, we had to cross the Elbe on a ferry, several times. It was cold. We arrived in
Dresden, a city which was completely obliterated at the end of the 2nd world war and has been completely rebuilt as it was. We have been sightseeing, thought we were home when we saw the Ayers Rock Restaurant. Have been around Dresden by bus and visited the Pilnitz Palace and the Zwinger Palace.

Zdenka, Elizabeth and Ina.


Ross Mick and John in the Outback May 2015.
16-5-15

Geoff & Heather Christmas in Italy in April & May 2015.
9-5-15

Hi all. Last report was from Desenzano where we had a lovely unit with great views over Lago Garda and the chain of mountains that stretched as far a you could see. We also looked at a thin strip of land that stretched out into the lake. At the tip of this lies the village of Sirimione  which is a very popular tourist spot. Firstly it has a castle that dates back a long way and is in good condition. There are thermal baths and lots of shops but the best is an ancient Roman Villa that dates back to the Augustan Age. Obviously not what is was but a massive structure built back around Caesar's reign.
From there we moved onto Verona a truly magical place where we still are but leave on Saturday.
It is all here with history of Roman origin, massive churches everywhere, castles, museums, lots of lovely buildings, restaurants on every corner and also elsewhere.
There is also the myth of Romeo and Giulietta which some think relates to Shakespeare but alas this is not right the story goes back further and has bases here in Verona where they have kept the myth well and truly alive to this day.  
We will arrive in Venice next Thursday so another great thing to look forward to.
Till next time and hoping this great run of weather continues.
Cheers Heather and Geoff
Photo 1. Balcony Di Giulietta
Photo 2. Coffee cups re 100 year anniversary  for the Arena.
Photo 3 Geoffrey at Castelvecchio.
Photo 4 the Arena.
Photo 5 another castle this time in Sirimione 

Zdenka, Elizabeth & Ina's Bike Tour in Europe May, June, July 2015.

9-5-15
Pravcika Brana Restaurant, Our trendy condolier with beard and studs between the eyes, Pancakes and Sour Cherries, Ferry to Bastei on the Elbe River, Canola fields on the Elbe River.

7-5-15
Rest day in Decin.

6-5-15
The second stage 50 km from Melnik to Litomerice, mostly comfortable riding, with a great reward at Litomerice, bottoms up!

5-5-15
We are having a great adventure in the Czech Republic.  Had to get our bikes fixed, think the baggage handlers might have been a tad rough.
We left Prague and headed along the Bike path, it was an easy ride along the river and through fields of Canola crossing over some very old bridges. The path through the forest was a bit more difficult but so beautiful. We staying at Melnik tonight which is situated on the river.
Zdenka, Elizabeth and Ina

Geoff & Heather Christmas in Italy in April & May 2015.
6-5-15
Hi to all
Since last report we moved on to Bergamo which had us on some busy roads with really no other option. It was not that bad, though riding in Geelong anytime would have been easier. Really nothing to see along the way; however, Bergamo and the old village were really interesting with religion centred around the centre of the old town.
Actually walked about 13klms and had great day with lunch in the main square with piano playing in the back ground. Today's ride was also fairly bland with small part on less busy road through farmland the best.
Misty all day and hay fever for Geoffrey.
Anyway arrived at Iseo on Lago Iseo which is a lovely peaceful place, with rest day tomorrow.
Photos are
-my main course in Bergamo
-Bergamo old town
-Bergamo old town
-our view from our balcony in Iseo
Cheers Heather

 

5.5.15

Lecco is a nice village.
Bridge has different spans.
A misty morning.
Juventus Won the championship and the locals celebrated.

1.5.15

26.4.15
Hi All
Actually took the bikes out yesterday and rode up to the Sanctuary del Ghisallo. It is a small church in Magregloi 754m on the road through the hills towards Milan. It's Madona is recognised as the patron saint for cyclists. The climb is tough and is a favourite for the Giro and Tour de Lombardia. As well as the church there is also a museum And both are filled with many items relation to cycling memorabila and the ride was well worth the effort. As usual hills attract cyclists and there were plenty of cyclists to be seen.
The day before we went to Maggiore by ferry and explored the area and had lunch up in the hills near the overly decorated house in the photo supplied.
The other photo is the interior of the church yesterday.
Cheers Heather
From my iPhone 6

22.4.15
Hi John, couple of photos around here. One was Lunch just out of the village with unbelievable views and the second one of the many shopping alleys. We are located on a similar one though we only have very limited views. Lenno by ferry yesterday and market there waiting for us. Lunch in out of way place with around 40 locals eating there. Lovely atmosphere. Off to Colico on ferry to nothing end of Lake Como which will take around 4 hours all up. Walking a lot a loving narrow alleyways and great views. Weather has and remains excellent for us.
By for now, Heather.



17.4.15
Hi the next report was to come from Bellagio and as it is raining now but only lightly thought would update now.
Since last report we moved on to Lugano the days cycling along the lake initially to Luino was picture perfect but we now had to go inland and a had to climb a fair hill to head to the Swiss border and on to Lugano. Three nights in this very pretty town on Lake Como. Apart from exploring the old shopping precinct which holds all the famous names associated with spending and a beautiful shore line we had a day on Monte Bre which included lunch at the top and one photo is looking south from the restaurant. The next day we walked to an old fishing village called Gandria which was amazingly perched on the cliffs beside the lake had a lovely fish lunch and ferry ride back to Lugano via Paradiso. The other photo is Gandria from the ferry. Yesterday we left there on on the way found Cadel's home town and local bike shop where on display was one of his bikes prior to Bmc and some of his jerseys including World Cup and Tour de France yellow jersey. Got little excited took wrong turn and with busy busy roads needed help to get back on course. Eventually arrived here in Cernobbio a lovely quiet village on Lake Como. Tomorrow off to Bellagio for two week stay and some day trips and maybe some mountain climbs as there are many close by.
Bye for now from us.
Cheers Heather
From my iPhone 6

11.4.15
Hi all this report comes from Porto Valtravagalia on a nice day where we will stay for three nights.
We eventually hopped on the bikes on Easter Monday and left Milano. A lovely day with little traffic and the exit was painless. The first days riding flat but do not tell Peter J. Stayed at Olgiate but little to see as really still in the suburbs though hotel was good.
We left there heading to Angera on a flat course again until Casorate-Sempione where we found a lovely old Castle (picture supplied) and lovely down hill with a rise there after. Lucky there was a caffe so had a break for coffee. E2.60 for two. Some small undulations until Sesto Calende and start of Lake Maggiore then easy ride to Angera. Nice place another Castle which houses a tremendous doll museum. We are now starting to get into the country and what we are her for.
Today rode along the Lago Maggiore shore to this lovely lake side village. Scenery great though if the mist cleared it would have been better.
Bye for now.
Cheers Heather
From my iPhone 6.

9.4.15
Below photos the Dolls Museum and a Castle in Angera on Lago Maggiore.

5.4.15
Hi all,
The flight over was uneventful though there was some rough parts after hitting land after India. We followed a course just lower than lakes etc like the Dead Sea and saw many mountain ranges all topped with snow and the scenery was great. We have seen most of the sights here in Milan already which included the painting "the last supper" the Cathedral "duomo" the covered Gallery "vittorio emanuele 11" and the Milan Castle and surrounding park land. We have walked and walked for two days covering around 10/12 klm each day. Although the city is busy it is reasonably quiet and no one seems to be in any great rush. Today is overcast and a little damp and we hope it clears for our first day on the bikes tomorrow which could be interesting as we ride from Central Station to Olgiate about 30 klm.
Cheers Heather.

Peter O'Brien from GTC on the Santos Tour Down Under Bupa Challenge - 23rd January.
Here is Peter's report:
A ride well worth considering is the SANTOS Tour Down Under where social riders can compete in the People’s Ride selecting the distance most appropriate for them.
I’ve participated in this ride on a few occasions and this year stayed at accommodation in the Hindmarsh Valley, just 20 minutes north of Victor Harbour. As the accommodation location was within one hour of any stage of the tour it was a particularly good spot to stay.
The Peoples Ride was on Friday 24th January and I elected to ride the section from Willunga to Mount Barker, a total of 120kms. I started at Willunga at 7am and had a fantastic tail wind for about 8 kms to Aldinga. This is where we joined up with the actual route of the main ride. The ride up Sellicks Hill was easier than I thought as it being a the ‘King of the Mountain’ stage I’d expected it to be much higher and steeper. The ride continued through drizzling rain up to Mount Compass followed by an 8km downhill section that, despite not wanting to speed and go over 50km, was a pure adrenalin experience. Some of the riders who passed me were doing much higher speeds as was evident by that demon look in their eyes whilst pedalling at a furious rate and absolutely loving the experience! With 78km of the ride completed there was a ten minute rest break at Strathalbyn. This was followed by a rise in the route to Macclesfield that was quite hilly and continued through Meadow and onto Echunga. At Echunga I met up with a friend from Lara who was riding the 78km section from Mount Compass to Mount Barker so we took the opportunity to stop at a local bakery and enjoy some of their delicious food.
The final 8 km section to Mount Barker was predominately a downward incline and a pleasant ride. I felt a sense of achievement as I crossed the finish line.
Later in the day the elite riders came through. The excitement was marred by a particularly nasty crash not far from where we were standing at the final 100m mark. To see riders remount and pedal slowly to the line, some walking and others carrying their bikes on their shoulders despite considerable injuries and pain, made me appreciate the risks involved in high speed races. This was a disappointing end to an otherwise great day.
Peter O’Brien.

Rolf Kohnert and Peter O'Brien from GTC ride the Santos Tour Down Under Bupa Challenge - 23rd January.
Here is Rolf's report:
A cloudy and cool morning downed over Adelaide on the 23rd of January, the day of the TDU community ride. I had entered the whole distance of 152 km and our start was at 6:30. It was still dark as they drove me to Glenelg where another 4999 riders assembled to tackle the 4th stage of the TDU. I took my place behind about another 1,500 riders at the start and at about 6:45 we got finally going. We rode through the burbs towards the southern freeway and our first climb of about 7 km length. Shortly afterwards the rains started, but lasted only about 30 minutes to be followed by another half hour shower to settle the dust and wet out backs. There were good bunches to be had and like usual, at the next drink station most of them pulled in and then I had to chase to catch the next bunch. I was aiming for an 30 km/h average and on arrival my speedo showed 30.2 km/h and my time was just under 5 hours. Luckily there were no mishaps, no puncture, no spill and even the sun came out towards the end where Fran and our friends all waited and cheered us on. The organisers told us the next day that nearly 8,000 riders participated in the community ride, 5,000 attempted the 152 km, 1,200 did 115 km, 1,000 did 75 km and 800 rode the 25 km leg. The 5,000 had to climb just over 4,000 vertical metres with the steepest climb of 15% and 800 metres length. Judging by the number of full sag wagons, not everyone did make the whole distance of their ride.

Western District Tour - Day 1 - Mt Gambier to Nelson - 21.10.14
Vline coach delivered 7 travelers to Mt Gambier. Shortly after the vehicle arrived with the bikes and after a Mac attack the bikes were unloaded and the riders took to the road to Nelson. Lovely ride undulating country looked green and fertile with fat Cattle looking at the strange bright colored beings pedaling past. After a very short sojourn in SA we passed back into Vic and into Nelson and our cabins for the night. It is quite warm and a nice cup of tea hit the spot. BBQ tea coming up.
Peter.

Western District Tour - Day 2 - Nelson to Portland - 22.10.14
G'day John everyone was ready early so we headed off towards Portland. It was quite warm with a light Nth Easterly which was a slight head wind. There are a lot of log trucks on this road taking Pine logs to Portland for the chipping industry but they very good and gave us a wide berth. There are small shoulders on the road so it is pretty good. After lunch the wind changed to a tailwind so we cruised along very comfortably. Undulating road through the pine plantations was very pleasant. We rolled into Portland at about 1.30 and headed to the Main Street Cafe where if you ask for hot you get HOT. CHEERS.

Western District Tour - Day 3 - Portland to Pt Fairy - 23.10.14
We awoke to a dull and dreary day with some light drizzle and what was worse a strong South Easterly wind. Peter L's brother David lives in Portland and cycles so he lead the way out along the Dutton Way and then inland over some quiet country roads. After morning tea the only alternative is the A1 so it was head down tail up and plug on. Lunch was at the local CFA out of the wind with about 35km to go and we plugged on to coffee at the Bakery in Port Fairy before heading to the Big 4 for the night. Down to the pub for a good meal. Cheers Peter.

Western District Tour - Day 4 - Pt Fairy to Warrnambool - 24.10.14
G'day John, later start today as we are only going to Warrnambool on the Rail Trail which is only 40 Km. We headed into town and out to the look out to have a look at the surfers and back to Slitti's Italian Coffee House. After enjoying our coffee, hot chocolate and Trudi's Traditional Hot Chocolate we hit the trail and pedalled to Koroit for lunch and on to Warrnambool for the night. The trail is reasonable hard packed a little rough in places but quite acceptable. Cheers Peter.

Western District Tour - Day Day 6 Warnambool to Port Campbell - 26.10.14.
Good afternoon John, cloudy start to the ride as we left Warrnambool. The Hopkins Point Rd. starts off with a long hill but after that it rolls over the paddocks to Allansford where we called in at Cheese World, did some tasting and had a coffee before heading down the Great Ocean Rd to Peterborough and then Port Campbell for the night. On the way we called in at the Bay of Islands and London Bridge. We arrived at Port Campbell at about 3.00 and enjoyed a cuppa and slice sitting on our balconey of our Waterfront Villa. Cheers Peter
.

Western District Tour - Day Day 7 - Port Campbell to Lavers Hill - 27.10.14.
G'day John, darn windy today but at least it was behind us. Called in to see Loch Ard Gorge and the Apostles but soon were on our way to Princetown for a coffee. Before we knew it we were on Lavers Hill and stripping off the gear to keep cool enough even though the wind was like ice. Had lunch at the Yuulong Hall out of the wind after the main climb then on to Lavers Hill for the night. Currently sitting in the Pub having tea. Lovely combustion stove roaring. Mostly down hill to Apollo Bay tomorrow hopefully the weather will improve. Cheers.

Western District Tour - Day Day 8 - Lavers Hill to Apollo Bay - 28.10.14.
Woke this morning to heavy fog at Lavers Hill after a night of roaring wind. The wind continued but the fog did lift by the time we hit the road. Had a bit of a spatter as we zoomed downhill, had a few ups but managed to get over them. Called in at Castle Cove look out and almost got blown away, really glad we are heading East. Enjoyed a long flat ride along the river valley and stopped for a cuppa before beginning the climb over the Otways which was followed by eventually a long down hill into Apollo Bay for lunch. Everyone happy to get into their cabins and a hot shower to complete the day. Cheers, Peter.

Western District Tour - Day 9 Apollo Bay to Lorne - 29.10.14.
Easy day today, the wind has gone, no Sun but no rain. Very enjoyable pedalling along by the ocean which is still pounding in after the storms of previous days. Had morning tea at Kennett River and enjoyed the antics of the cheeky Parrots and rolled into Lorne for lunch before heading to the Lorne Hotel for the night. Home tomorrow. Cheers, Peter.

Pam & Pat's ride from Sydney to Hervey Bay


Most Eastrly Tip of Australia


Lighthouse at Byron Bay


Coloundra


Little Italy



Coloundra


Last morning as we set off


Last time for my tent

Going to Potong

Leaving Yamba

We are gradually making our way up the coast. We have endured a few storms but we are still in good spirits. On Monday we had a pretty ride along the Maclay River. We will reach the 1000km mark tomorrow. Our biggest day this week was out of Coffs Harbour we have to climb over the range and then it was pretty hilly for the rest of the day into Grafton we rode 97km for the day. The ride into Yamba was very flat and sugar plantations all around us. Tonight we are in Evans Head.

We have arrived in Crescent Heads today. We have finally escaped the rain. Today was a 20 plus degrees. We had a rest day in Port Macquarie yesterday where we caught up with Heather and Geoff Christmas. Geoff did some repairs to our bikes and cooked a beautiful lamb roast dinner. This morning ride was mainly on dirt roads after we crossed the river on a small ferry. So far we have ridden 580kms.

Crossing on a very narrow bridge

Sunrise at Port Macquarie

Rainbow at Port Macquarie

Tents finally in the Sun!

We are Nelson Bay at the end of our forth day. It has been very wet at night and in the mornings. First day riding to The Entrance was very tough. We arrived at a caravan park just on dark. Two cyclists approached us as we were putting our wet tents up and asked us if we wanted to come to their place for a meal and a dry bed. Of course we jumped at the chance. Vicki and Peter Webber were the kindest people that you could meet. They gave us breakfast and cake for morning tea before driving us back to ride. Yesterday our ride to Stockton started off very wet again but fined up to a beautiful day we had quite a few bike trails and a good bike line on the highway so riding was a lot easier.
Today we rode to Nelson Bay and missed the ferry by 15 mins so we had to camp here. Tomorrow we catch the ferry at 8.30. The forecast for the next week is not looking good.
Pam.

 

Photos of Heather & Geoff on their trip up north on the Ghan

Rolf, Peter M., & Terry O'L at the Tour Down Under in South Australia
Starting time for the 154.5 km 4th stage in the community ride was at 6:30 in Unley and I managed to find Peter Maurer who had brought his mate Paul from Dandenong along. Paul informed us that he was not at his best and he hoped he would not hold us back too much. We started with about 250 riders in front of us out of 4,500 full distance competitors. The first 3 km were flat and went through the Adelaide burbs, after which we were shunted onto the closed for traffic freeway heading uphill for 7 kms. Peter came alongside of me and announced that we would regroup on top of Mt. Lofty and off he went. When I got to him, he could proudly tell me that he was the first over the top, a credit to GTC! We had to wait a fair bit for Paul and then hurtled down the road at high speed until the next hill slowed us down. After yet another climb, this one being the KOM climb, we had to wait for Paul for about 20 minutes and didn't find him. An executive decision was made that we pushed on. After the next and last big climb I hooked onto a fast moving train while Peter chasing us found Paul and settled to ride with him. The last 35 km were into a strong headwind, but we still rode at around 40 km/h and when the finish came up I managed to beat the whole bunch of about 30 riders for the honours to be first over the line. We all arrived safely and apart from a few cramps there were no bad luck stories to report.

Terry said that he enjoyed the ride, had no trouble, but by-passed the KOM climb. His time was 7 hours and 8 minutes and I am sure he would like to do it again in the future.

Peter and Paul stayed on until Monday as did I and we watched the race live. We all enjoyed our stay in SA and maybe next year we could field a larger GTC team and have the jerseys printed with our logo on the back.

More when it comes to hand,
Cheers,
Rolf

Rolf's recent riding holiday in the Austrian Alps
Recently returned from my 2 months trip to Europe, spend mainly in Austria. I was based in Graz, the second city in this lovely country, just a tad bigger than Geelong. It is also a cycling city with great cycling infrastructure and thousands of cyclists commuting on a daily basis. Bicycles are parked everywhere and are left outside most of the time, rain or shine. While I had a few rides in the beautiful countryside, my biggest ride was up to the highest pass in Austria, the Grossglockner pass. It is a 32 hairpin bend climb over 30 kms with an average gradient of 12%. On the day we climbed the Grossglockner we left at 6 a.m. from the base where we had stayed the night. we had to leave so early as the forecast temperature for the day was 32 degrees. The road was nearly empty when we started and the only other people there were on bikes too. I was riding a Viner aluminium road bike someone lend me and the gears, 30 of them were a little high for the gradient as the small ring was still 32 teeth and the rear large sprocket was 23 teeth. The scenery was really amazing as you can see by the pictures and when we eventually made the top, the temperature there was a mere 11 degrees. On the way down the upwards road was totally choked with cars and we had trouble braking because of slow cars going down not letting us overtake. All in all, a ride I could really recommend to anyone going to Austria in summer.

Photos from Geoff & Heather's recent tour of France

 

David Ellis' group conquer the North East of Australia
Bundaberg to Cairns
Daivd Ellis, Pam, Bruce and friends recently rode from Bundaberg to Cairns - a distance of well over 1500km.

Peter Jones' Group of GTC Riders Complete their ride across Great Britain 15.6.13
We are now in Northern Ireland, we had a couple of nights in Glasgow,
spent Sunday sightseeing with David and Jackie Rae who are over catching
up with relatives.
On the Monday Trudi and Leo headed home flying out of Glasgow at 2130 hrs,
Peter, Marianne, Mick and Lyn took the Scotrail rail and sail option
heading for Belfast NI and Marion and I drove the van, loaded with the
bikes and luggage, down to Cairnryan to catch the Stena Line ferry to
Belfast NI.
We had no problem taking the 10-30 am ferry which the others should have
made but the trains were late so they ended up on the 3-30 pm ferry.
Meanwhile our GPS deposited us at our B&B and the luggage and bike were
unloaded and made ready to ride. At 5-30 pm I went and picked up everyone
in the van.
Our ride the next day was only 23 miles so we headed into town to the
Titanic Centre and spent the morning learing all about the building,
launching and sinking of the Titanic which was built right there by
Harland and Wolf, a company which is still in business on the same site.
After lunch it was on the bikes, through Belfast and out into the lovely
Irish countyside to Kells near Ballymena, the Rosspark Hotel turned out to
be a high class conference centre which was pretty good.
This morning we rode over to Cushendall, another short day, about 24
miles, too early for us to book into our B&B so after a coffee at the
local coffee cafe we rode along the Causeway Coast to Carnlough for lunch
returning by about 2-30 pm to book in, our host was very friendly and
immediately put the kettle on and put on afternoon tea for us.
Went to Harry's Cafe for dinner and had a great meal, it is still full
daylight outside but it is time for bed so I can be ready to ride
tomorrow.
Cheers Peter.

 

We made it to John O'Groats today. Today was our longest day riding at 72
miles to get from Betty Hill to Thurso where we are staying, out to JoG
and back.
The previous two days, Inverness to Lairg and Lairg to Betty Hill were
about the same, approx. 46 miles, both with a big lump to get over then
fairly easy with mainly down hill running with a kick up at the end.
This morning we left the Farr Bay Inn at about 8-30 am and we were in
Thurso for lunch at about 11-30 am after covering the 30 miles in good
time with a strong following wind. After lunch we headed for JoG, fairly
flat with a few undulations to make it interesting. It is 20 miles to JoG
and we were there by 2-00 pm, took some photos and celabrated with a
coffee and cake before heading back to Thurso.
Looking forward to a rest on the train to Glasgow tomorrow and a rest day
Sunday when we going to catch up with David and Jackie who are over here
with family.

Cheers Peter.

 

Perth to Braemer yesterday, reasonable riding, overcast but not
particularly cold, rolling hills with some flat sections through the usual
lovely countryside. More up than down always climbing until we reached
about 1700 feet elavation.
There are deer in this area, one bolted across the road about 30 feet in
front of me as we flew down one hill.
Not much in the way of towns or coffee shops, we managed to find a little
cafe open in Blairgowie to get a cuppa and cake but nowhere to sit.
About 13 miles out of Braemer we commenced the final climb for the day up
to the Glenshee Ski Centre, 4 miles, the first 3 a good solid 10% and the
last 1 mile at 12% dipping into 13 on the odd occaision.
We had a coffee at the Glenshee Centre Cafe and then had a ripper of a run
down hill into Braemer for the night.
The road down is nothing short of awesome, flying down in between these
huge moutains each side is fantastic.
Today we ride to Aviemore, more hills, local bike rider reckons the first
two are ok the third is a killer, 20% he says, I guess we will see.

We got back on the bikes this morning after a couple of days sightseeing
in Edinburgh. At about 8-30 am we left our accommodation at the YHA, very
good, almost like a hotel.
There are no more rest days, it is the last push to John O'Groats, we rode
through the suburbs of Edinburgh using a lot of bike paths and eventually
reached the Forth Road Bridge which has a cycleway on one side and rode
over the Firth of Forth.
Good fun, you are a long way up and get a great view, pity we can't have
the same thing on the Westgate.
Once over the bridge we were into the scottish countryside, lovely and
green as in England, Mick had been hanging out to see some Highland Cattle
so he had his wish. We took an early lunch and changed drivers at Kealty.
After lunch the hills steepened and were testing but we managed to get
into our overnight stop at Perth by about 3-00 pm.

Well we are at Clovenfords this morning about to head to Edinburgh. Last
couple of days have been 100 plus ks with a few hills thrown in so we have
slept well.
We left Windermere and rode through Ambleside and Grasmere to Keswick for
lunch, our route took us to the West of Lake Thirlmere, a manmade lake
built in 1860 for the Manchester Water Corp it is absolutely fantastic, no
traffic, a great ride. We were on the dam wall looking up the lake and a
chopper came down very low over the lake.
We continued on and we were almost blown off our bikes as a jet fighter
blasted overhead at tree top height, the noise was unbelievable, the first
was followed by another a few seconds later, they banked over the hill and
were gone leaving us a quivering mess behind, maybe the chopper was
checking out the area before they blasted through.
After Keswick we took one of their rain trails, not up to our standard,
pretty rough but ridable. Then the back roads into Carlyle.
Yesterday we rode from Carlyle mainly on the A7, pretty good, the traffic
has dropped off, maybe they're all on the Motorway. A couple of good long
drags up to 800 odd feet. Well finished the full English Breakfast so time
to get on the road.
Cheers Peter.

 

 

We are now at Windermere, weather is absolutely lovely, fine and Sunny but
still with a cool wind. We are staying at the YHA here and as usual it is
on the top of a hill, lovely ride up here, absolutely beautiful,I've
attached a photo from the breakfast room looking out to the West over the
Fells. It is a rest day today so the ladies can go and soak up Beatrix
Potter stuff and Peter Rabbit.
This is halfway apparently, we plan to get to John O'Groats in about two
weeks, tomorrow we climb over Kirkstone Pass heading for Carlisle so that
should be interesting, only 1500 ft but should be fun.
Everyone is traveling well, odd little niggles here and there but all
keeping going, getting stronger day by day, or that's what we tell
ourselves, the onw about "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" gets a
regular airing as well.

 

We are now at Middlewhich, slowly making our way North. Yesterday we had a
really wet ride, it was raining when left Stratford upon Avon and it
basically kept raining with varying strengths until we arrived at our
hotel for the night at Shifnal. The investment in Ground Effect jackets
and pants with the gripper gloves was really worthwhile, I got through
pretty dry for the whole day.
The previous three days were lovely, it was a Bank Holiday weekend and
everyone was out, it was wall to wall people in Stratford,hardly room to
walk.
Today we have ridden to the Iron Bridge gorge, to Market Drayton for lunch
and on to The Sandhurst Hotel for the night. Pretty flat, a few rolling
hills and we spent a fair bit of time riding through country lanes and
little villages along with large country homes.
It started to rain again a couple of miles out and has continued, hope it
is gone tomorrow.

Cheers Peter

----------------------------------------------------------------------
We are now at Cheltenham, spent the last two nights at Bath, to get there
we were riding through fantastic country, the hills have reduced in
general, longer flat sections shorter hill sections, there are still
occaisional long grinding climbs but grades have reduced to around 7 or 8%
max.
Today we have been riding through the Cotswolds, lovely stone cottages,
small villages tucked away in valleys, we had lunch at Nailsworth where
the local market provided some yummy goodies such as Bakewell Tarts, Rocky
Road and Treacle Tart, just the thing to help you over the next hill.
Tomorrow we are off to Stratford on Avon for a couple of nights to catch
up with old Will Shakespeare.
The weather has improved, it has been fine and Sunny top of 16 deg!
Tomorrow it is going to be 17 deg!
Cheers Peter.

-----------------------------------

Spent last night at Lands End and today have ridden about 50 miles to
Newquay, as usual for this part of the world there are plenty of hills, up
to 15% is not unusual, but the country and scenery is just great.
Tomorrow we are heading over to Port Issac where the TV show Doc Martin is
made and then on to Launceston.
Cheers Peter
-----------------------------------

Well we finally had a lovely day for riding yesterday, fine and Sunny with
light winds, a bit of Sun and the brits are all out enjoying it. Our route
from Brighton was mainly along the coast, the water was flat calm, we had
a coffee sitting overlooking the water at what looked like an ex surf
clubhouse, the place was packed with people enjoying the day. When we left
thw coast on some occaisions we travelled through quiet country roads,
with many great looking houses, lots of cute thatched homes and fields of
Canola in full bloom.
Have tried some auto routing programs for cycling but have found the old
Map My Ride to be quite good managing to get us all the way to our hotel
in the suburbs of Portsmouth using bike paths and the NCN Routes where
possible and avoiding all the main roads.
A rest day in Portsmouth today, some are taking a tour to the Isle of
Wight, some are going to the Naval Museum to see HMS Victory.
Tomorrow we pack the bikes in the van and the group take the train to
Lands End ready to start towards John O'Groats on Sunday.
Cheers Peter

Super hard day today, Dover to Hastings, 52 miles against a strong head
wind and later in the day persistent spitting rain, temp about 8 deg. We
rode into Dover to have a look at the white cliffs and the harbour then
headed for Folkestone on the National Cycle Network 2, quite hilly and
along the top of the cliffs with the wind whistling off the Channel.
Enjoyed a coffee at Folkestone, and headed for Rye for lunch, managed to
find a cafe open for all day breakfast, and lovely and warm.
After lunch we only had 12 miles to go so headed off on the A259, busy
road but traffic very considerate, some of the hills were up to 15%, hard
yakka.
Arrived at Chatsworth Hotel and everyone fell into the hot showers. Eating
in tonight too miserable to go out to a pub, soup and sangers will do
nicely.
Cheers Peter.

We have mainly been doing the sightseeing thing,
we did go for a short ride last Monday evening around Hyde Park with a
couple of thousand of our best friends, I took a pic on my phone but I
have been able to upload it to my Facebook page but don't seem to be able
to get it on to my computer so I can send it to you.
After dinner last night three of us also went for a ride along the towpath
beside the Paddington Canal, heaps of canal boats and a different world
along there, right in the suburbs of London.
We are doing the Thames River Bridges Ride on Sunday so will have a report
and pics of that.
Monday we head to Canterbury by train and then commence riding Dover for
the night.

Cheers Peter

Geoff & Heather in France -18.6.13

Last message on the trip - now at Roanne.
We have had problems with computers so have been missing for a while.
We arrived Roanne today in hot windy conditions though really too late - the end of this expedition is nearing.
Last reort Chinon and from there to Azay le Rideau where there was a nice smaller Chateau and the best a visit to 3 troglodyte farms only recently discovered. The area they cover is small and living would have been primative though they were isolated so reasonably safe back then.
Then to Loches which is away drom the Loire, it has a nice medievale part of town and a Fortress high opon the hill. The dungeon was interesting.
Back to river and Amboise then onto Blois. This area reminds us of the American tourists you hear of ie. loud and not respectfull of others.
We now leave the river heading south east to Vierzon saw a chateau along the way.
Saint Amand is a finishing stage for the TdF this year and was well decked out.
Then to Bourbon l'Amchambault and another medievale fortress though in ruins except for three towers. We stayed in hotel ajoining the Thermals and lashed out a bit with great meals and a trip to the theremes.éapalisse was next with the ville havind TdF passing through to finish a few klm up the road. The Chambre d'hote was lovely and Messr was so happy to see us and relive their trip to Aus. We saw the photos and had to put a note in the visitors book.
We are now in Roanne and look foprward to cathing up with our friend Brigitte in St Galmier tomorrow.
Only few days remainng so this will be last email.
Bye for now.
Geoff and Heather.

Hello From Chinon.
Hi to you all,
Last report was from our entry to Nantes, which was far from the best option.
Anyway it was a nice place and our accomodation great as you would expect for the price. Lots to see and a chateau.
We moved on to Saint Florent along the Loire Bike Path which left town along the river and was an easy exit. Further along the trail we were between the rail line and river and was narrow and wet and not that nice to ride on. Anyway we made ST Florent to find the hotel was undergoing renovations and there were no beds available, there was a small one over the river that was open so that was alright. Problem was that the restaurent was not open for dinner.
On to Angers along a rather high Loire River. The path was wet and flooded in some areas and we had to look for other ways. Closer to Angers the path was flooded and we took to the road. Another great Chateau which we visited and we even became involved in the local church service.The weather has improved and is continuing so hopefully it will continue.
On to Saumer on the road and the influx of cyclists commenced. Another great Chateau overlooking the village and river and nice hotel on the river.
Off to Chinon and a fortress high on the hill. An unscheduled rest day puts us back on the programme. This village dates to the 7th C. We are currently back on the Vienne River which we had been on previously on the way to the west coast.
The best news is that Sten has had his trache removed and is progressing well and if all contiues he should be allowed to go home tomorrow.
We are really happy for him.
Bye for now.
Geoff and Heather.

Changed Itinery and now in Nantes.
Hello all,
Since last report when we were heading into the marias which we thought was marsh however it seems to be delta. It was fairly flat and lots of canals though turned a lot more wet as we got closer to the coast. There was a lot of cropping early and grazing in the wetter areas and we stayed in Chambre d,hote in Lucon which had a lovely old church. The accomodation was in the oldest maison in the village;
We moved on to Aizenay which was not much except for the church and only one hotel remained in the village;
From there to Bourgeneuf though nothing there so went on to Le Bergerie a nice quiet village on the Atlatique.
Then to the mouth of the Loire on a cold wet had no accommodation in town, and none close by.
We eventually ended here after 110klm absolutly drenched and needing to come in on fairly major roads to this very large city. Then cannot find accommodation at reasonable price as all booked out. Thanks to nice lady at a hotel we finally found one though the cost 121 per night oh well at least we had a bed.
I give up now and will check emails tomorrow morning.
Glasses broken and print small so please excuse the errors.
Bye for now.

Geoff and Heather

 

Hello all,
A long time between emails as the are not readily available in the areas we are traversing.
Since the last email we have again been blessed by rain and more rain and we arrived here in the rain and had another 3 days of it. Cleared for 2 days now but all forcasts say it is returning.
Chatenauf la Foret was a gem the Chambre d,Hote was owned by a couple, he being english and she Russian, and it was a great 2 days there with both of them craving english speaking clients. Not a lot there but the house was 1640 and really nice with spacious gardens and a beautiful outlook. Madames cooking was really great and the red wine plentiful. Messr even dined with us both nights.
It rained there too so they organised to tranport us to the train station 10klm away and train it to Limoges. Limoges was good with the Porcelaine Museum being the highlight of this stop. We left Limoge and headed to Oradour sur Glane the site of a massacre by the Germans on 10/6/44 544 killed that day. WELL WORTH A LOOK ON THE WEB. Chabenais was a nice quite place on the river where they gave us the code to enter by phone as no one would be there till six.
Vertuile sur Charante is nice we are on the river beside the Moulin and the Boulangerie is only 100 metres away. Poor Heather; Visited the massive Chateau yesterday which is vertually at our back door. Met some Americans who were on the tour and we were invited to The Palais for drinks last night. One couple have a property on the outskirts of the village 15 hectares and many buildings. It was originally a farm house with barns a number of different dwellings all contained within outer walls. We also had afternoon tea with the local real estate agent.
Bye for now.
Geoff and Heather

 

Left Saint Flour now
The week in Saint Flour was really good though the unit was on a big hill ,overlooking the Haute Ville, teh view were great with Monts de Cantal out the back and views from the front to somewhere unknown.

Our host were really special and really went out of there way to accomodate our needs, such as car rides x2 apperitives on last night, much interaction which tested us all thoughly it was fun for all. Pictures taken on departure show Geoffs new apparel and although it is not there now should appear shortly on Saint Flour Velo Club. Monsuir is a member and from all indication a great rider. Check out the site for pictures of us leaving though nthey are not posted yet.

We left on a cold bitter morning and guess what it rained later. This day was longer than planned as the Col du Puy Mary is still closed. We stayed at Riom de Montagnes a neat and pleasant town but had nothing specal to note. We left there this morning in the wet yet again and have traversed some pretty country including the Gorges to Dordogne and one other smaller one in a big day. Egletons has a number of hotel all close and uncontactable on Sunday. Ibis out of town but down a big hiil that must be climed in thye morning was a savior.
Bye for now.
Geoff and Heather

 

Hello from a lovely St Flour,
We left Sault in the rain and were on the road for 8 days and it vertually rained every day, or it was cold and miserable. The massive rain fall in France missed us however we have seen water everywhere;

First stop Montbrun a lovely spa town 12klm away saw us arrive wet;

Next Vaison la Romaine which had a lovely Medievale Ville over the river which has not been spoilt and the Roman Ruins never looked right and we later saw that they were uncovered, renovated and then enhanced. Enhanced

being the reason for the the funny feelings.

Then Saint Paul Trois Chateaux, and a junior chess championship was in full swing. We possibly got the last room in town and really enjoyed strolling around the pleasant feeling village. Market in the morning was goog.

Aubanas was not impressive and arriving in town saw 2 hôtels closed and we ended up 1klm out of town. The hotel was lovely and the host great with magnificant views the next day over the valley. On arrival you could see only mist and rain.

Lovely scenic day on the way to Lagogne with a climb of 14klm at about 6% gradiant which remained constant the whole way.

Sauges next brought us into the D'Compestella Walking terain, lots of water around and we even had to take our shoes off at the door of the hotel. A lovely village with a Tour Englaise.

On to here on a wet and misty morning. More climbing and wrong turn in the mist endind up in wrond village at the bottom of a big mountain. Lovely village and Office Du Tourisme were little help and we we going to a villge outside of Lozier namely Cantal; anway brought map at the Tabac and solved problem. extra klm's though. Gite here is lovely and has great views of the Haute Ville and the valley we came in from. Out of the bedroom window you can see the mountains of Cantal and the biggest Lorian, they are covered in snow. And guess what so is our exit road, not to worry I think we have solved the problem and solved one for Heather namely one less montain to climb.

We are well and really having a great time and the weekly stays have been great. Monsieur here is great, has little English is a cyclist and still keeps looking for contact.
Bye for now.
Geoff and Heather.

Simon Watt on the 24 hour Opperman ride - March 2013


President's Pedals team finishing at Oppy's Statue in Rochester

Our Oppy Team Captain, Peter Mathews, was unable to ride due to back problems, and Stephen Rowlands was unable to ride due to work commitments. That left three starters, Steve Nurse, Rick Harker and myself, the minimum team of three bikes.

We set off from Rochester at 8:05 am on Saturday morning in mild weather and with a gentle assisting breeze to take us north to Echuca, perfect. We soon established a cruising pace between 27 and 28 kph which was a bit quicker than I'd intended, but seemed comfortable in the glorious riding conditions. The Murray flatlands, quiet gumtree lined roads, and fauna that knew it's place to be other than the bitumen.

It was 11:30 when we arrived in Nathalia (87km), a welcome time for coffee and an early lunch at the bakery. Engines refreshed with coffee, chocolate milk and sandwiches (fruitcake for Steve), we set off for Katamatite (135km) in weather still ideal for cycle touring.

During the ride, to conserve time, if one team member needed to stop, the remaining two would continue at a slightly reduced pace. From time to time our needs conincided, but this seemed to us to be good practice...

Steve pointed at the sign showing Yarrawonga 34, but we ignored his insight as there was no route note to support it - as it turned out it was a very poor decision - that route note was missing. Well, as I'd taken a personal stop, and then received a phone call from Captain Peter pointing out this navigational lapse which had us heading south to Benalla, I was the tail-end rider pursuing the other two, and not very quickly. By the time I caught up we had travelled 32 km on the wrong road!! By the by, this road contained the only climb for the entire journey, and we did both sides! By the time we travelled back to Katamatite to correct our mistake we had added 64km to our Oppy.

We were very pleased about the extra challenge.

The Service Station/General Store was the only open place at Katamatite (203km) on our return and so we stocked up on patient review, drinks and foodstuffs. While we were loading our bikes, it was closing at 5pm! A piece of good fortune depending on how you view things.

On to Yarrawonga, slightly less buoyant, but still going well and knowing the sleep reduction we would have to pay. We pulled in at the first service station (233km) inside the Yarrawonga town limits and purchased a few refreshments. Then back the way we came to Katamatite yet again (266km). The gentle tail wind had now revised itself into a nasty squall which battered even our low recumbents somewhat before resolving into a steady head wind an hour or two later. We were struggling to hold 20kph in places and we were trying. Perhaps it was just me that was the hold up. I was the weakest link in the team - Rick and Steve were travelling very well.

So from Katamatite south west to Shepparton. A big yellow sign was the first thing revealed in Shepparton (303km) at around 10:50pm, so in we went for the fast calories. Welcome at the time, but a cause of mild indigestion for me for the rest of the trip. Still, the warmth and facilities were just the trick. We lingered for over an hour. Ate, put on the longs, the long gloves, the undervest and outer vest, had a 15min powernap and was ready for the final 70 km night run through Mooroopna to Rochester. We put foot to pedal again at midnight.

After a carefully navigated but otherwise uneventful run, the Rochester Motel (380km) loomed at 4am and Peter was out front to welcome us back. He provided some welcome food and drink before we hit the sack for an entire hour's sleep. I was slow to rise to the alarm, and angry at the foolish person who had wrongly set it for only a moment after going to sleep - no REM for me. We didn't get away for the final 32km run to Elmore and back until around 6:15am. There was a light head wind going to Elmore, but the same wind assisted us on the return. Very, very tired legs were getting quite recalcitrant about pushing the ever-returning pedals down, but my teammates Steve and Rick were patient. We finished comfortably in time at around 7:50am after completing 413km in just under 24 hours.

Then it was a gathering at the local school hall for a big breakfast, backslapping, and the beginning of the "fish this big" stories that will permeate the Audax community and anyone else too slow to move for the coming year.

"No ride is so good that it can't be improved by enhancement of the facts." Simon Watt 2013

Some stats from my Polar computer:
413 km
17 hours riding time
24 kph road average
17 kph overall average

The bikes:
Rick rode a very neatly equipped Catbike Musashi lowracer.
Steve rode a front wheel drive "bigwheel" of his own design and making.
Simon rode a fairly scruffy Optima Baron lowracer.
Stephen would have ridden a Carbon Performer lowracer
Peter would have ridden a Performer lowracer

You can view the Fleche Opperman All Day Trial ride details on the Audax website at
http://www.audax.org.au/oppy

This was the RidewithGPS planned route
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2229784

You can view the riders on youtube

Steve Wheatley & the Heritage Ride - Feb 2013

Steve Wheatley is a past president of the GTC and has a passion for old bikes. He is about to move to QLD and had tea by the waterfront with a number of GTC riders and other friends and a ride from Eastern Beach to Rippleside on some of the old bikes. We wish Steve well as he ventures north. Here are some of the pictures from the event.

 

Rolf does the Tour Down Under in South Australia - Jan 2013

Looks like I was the only one from the GTC this year in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under. Other notable competitors were Tony Abbott (54) and Jay Weatherill (49), the South Australian premier. One of the biggest problems for the 6500+ riders this year was the extremely strong winds, naturally mainly from the front, but very changeable, which made it hard to ride in a peloton. The strong winds actually started at 3 am. with a front going through and abated by about 11 when the pro riders started their stage. Anyhow, the first VIP we dropped was Jay Weatherill on the 5 km climb to the KOM at 30 kms. Tony Abbott and his merry men of 6 lasted a lot longer, but in the end we got rid of them too and that was the highlight of my ride! I finished just behind the leading group of about 18 riders and my average was just over 34 km/h. My fastest yet and I also featured on two morning TV shows on channel 9 for being one of the oldest riders and the oldest rider to finish first. A big thank you has to go to Mark and the Saturday fast group for training me up to this ride.
Cheers all, Rolf

Nullabiters Perth to Adelaide Journey
Our five riders and two support crew started their journey from Perth on July 27th. Don and Russell are providing motorised support for Lindy, Pam, David, John and Bruce who are intending to average around 100 km per day on their 2,800 km journey from Perth to Adelaide. They started in cheery good form on Friday morning around 8 am after hearty breakfasts and the usual photos which I'll post when I receive them.

Well the Nullabiters have finished their adventure, arriving in Adelaide early this afternoon, August 28th. They have been 33 days on the road, 27 of them pedalling an average of approximately 105 km per day to complete the more than 2800 km journey. Well done Nullabiters !

Where to next? Watch this space :-)

Summary 28 Aug 2012
* 33 Days on the road
* 1 Sheep rescue
* Lots of head winds
* 6 Rest Days, one unplanned for Troopie repairs - not true!! Planned but originally for Cocklebiddy I think.
* 2 Italian tourists rescued
* 2 British tourists tow-started after flat battery
* The odd welcome tail wind
* 2 days of gale-force winds
* 27 Riding days averaging ~107 km per day
* 2800+ km to Adelaide

David has called when there has been a pay phone or where there's been mobile coverage. Everyone is going along OK. The head winds have been more common than wanted ! Pam has sent photos from her phone when possible. Sadly I lost a couple when transferring messages to another device...

You can see an overview map and GPS tracks of their journey at:
Nullabiters Perth-Adelaide Route
Nullabiters Perth-Adelaide SPOT GPS Track
Nullabiters Perth-Adelaide SPOTWalla Track

33 - Tue 28 Aug - Port Wakefield to Adelaide ~96 (2822 km)
Windy day, but all in good spirits and happy at their arrival at the Adelaide Caravan Park. A great journey and no doubt we'll hear more after our travellers arrive home in the coming few days.

 

32 - Mon 27 Aug - Walleroo to Port Wakefield ~61 (2726 km)

31 - Sun 26 Aug - Ferry - Cowell to Walleroo ~15 (2666 km)
No doubt a lazy Sunday morning exploring the mysteries of Cowell before cycling 15 kilometers to the ferry. Overnighting in Walleroo. Effectively a day off for a ferry ride across the Spencer Gulf.

A final note for those of us actually following the SPOT GPS track, you might have noticed that there is no sign that they actually caught the ferry or indeed made it to Walleroo. There are several options:

30 - Sat 25 Aug - Port Neill to Cowell ~80 (2651 km)
I got a couple of photos from Pam and the report that they were hiding from the weather in the caravan after arriving in Cowell Port Neill. There was a rumour that Don was isolated in the car after causing disruptions over contentious wind generator design features. Pam submitted these Black Stump photos. There is always a Black Stump you can be beyond no matter where you are in Australia. Has someone done a Black Stump collection?

 

29 - Fri 24 Aug - Port Lincoln to Port Neill ~90 (2571 km)
I think it's a tough day on the road today. Cold and overcast, with nasty gusting side winds from the west. I expect they'll take a break for morning tea/lunch at Tumby Bay just over half way to Port Neill. Yes, and they've arrived at Port Neill just after 1pm. I was telling fibs about the wind based on the forecast. Dave called me to report a good day with tail winds. They picked the right day to have off in Port Lincoln yesterday as the weather there was wet and foul, clearing today.

 

28 - Thu 23 Aug - Port Lincoln Rest Day ~75 (2481 km !!)
They are lazing about in Port Lincoln today. They expect to ride to Port Neill tomorrow, then to Cowell on Saturday. They'll catch the ferry across the Spencer Gulf to Walleroo on Sunday afternoon. There's only one ferry on Sunday and it's in the afternoon. Then Monday on to Port Wakefield and Tuesday to Adelaide !! Here are some photos from earlier in the ride - Thanks again Pam!



27 - Wed 22 Aug - Dutton Bay to Port Lincoln ~75 (2462 km)
On the way to Port Lincoln today. Taking a side trip to Coffin Bay for morning tea. Looks like Port Lincoln this evening. Here is someone's panoramic set of photos from Coffin Bay. It's a cool and overcast 14 degrees with a solid 25kph NE wind. They'll be pushing into that on the way out after second breakfast. They'll cycle past this rural church at what used to be Venning? a little later in the day. They are taking a rest day in Port Lincoln tomorrow. They had their first rain on the road and had to find the rain jackets.

 

26 - Tue 21 Aug - Elliston to Dutton Bay ~124 (2387 km)
On the way to Mt Dutton Bay today. Stopped at Sheringa for morning tea, and for a roadside lunch at around 70km. A cool and cloudy day with a light tail wind. Currently (3pm) at a location called Warrow, just over 100km. Perhaps afternoon tea - only patient following their SPOT will reveal the truth... and it's Dutton Bay for the night :)

25 - Mon 20 Aug - Streaky Bay to Elliston (Ellis Town??) ~131 (2263 km)
Departed Streaky Bay this morning a bit before 8am.
Some extra tourist activity. The troop diverged to see Murphy's Haystacks about 42km along their way. Some morning tea as well perhaps.
A little further along, they stopped for lunch at Port Kenny. The afternoon run took them through to their destination at Elliston by late afternoon. They appear to have had a good Northerly wind behind them on a warm slightly cloudy day. Good for a 130km day.


24 - Sun 19 Aug - Ceduna to Streaky Bay ~116 (2132 km)
The cyclists departed before 8am this morning heading for Streaky Bay on what looks to be a pleasant day with a northerly wind helping them along. They've headed in to Smoky Bay for morning tea and appear to have sat about at the Smoky Bay General Store

Sticky buns and ice cream is my guess :) Arrived at Streaky Bay mid afternoon.

23 - Sat 18 Aug - Ceduna Rest Day (2016 km !!)

22 - Fri 17 Aug - Penong to Ceduna ~76 (1972) km
Corrected total distance ridden is 2016 km, which makes a daily riding average of 106 km!!

The journey today rises in the first half and drops away to Ceduna. There was apparently more rough weather and perhaps showers here and there. The cyclists had a roadside morning tea break around half way and just after the highest point. They then continued to Ceduna and arrived a little after 1pm for a welcome lunch no doubt.

Who said there were no trees!

21 - Thu 16 Aug - Nundroo to Penong ~105 (1896) km
The cyclists left their camp north west of Nundroo and rode 28km to what appears to be a breakfast stop at the Nundroo Roadhouse. Penong for this evening's camp. They appear to have a strong westerly blowing them along at a very respectable pace! Will they decide to continue to Ceduna, another 70 km - we'll see. No, that westerly was strong blustery and dangerous. They've found shelter in Penong. Apparently it was a real gale, and they put their tents up in a shed to shelter from it overnight.

First puncture a few km before Penong. Looks like a Dave front wheel. It's twice as fast to patch a puncture with two workers... and tents in a shed - I'm sure there's a rule about that somewhere...

20 - Wed 15 Aug - Nullarbor to Nundroo ~116 (1791) km

19 - Tue 14 Aug - Bush Camp to Nullarbor ~77 (1675) km

18 - Mon 13 Aug - Eucla to Bush Camp Nullarbor National Park ~117 (1597) km

17 - Sun 12 Aug - Rest day in Eucla

16 - Sat 11 Aug - Bush Camp to Eucla ~121 (1480) km
Continuing head winds but some pleasure at arriving at the SA border for another rest day exploring the Telegraph Station and the highlights of Eucla :-)
Don and Russell performed a good Samaritan act and rescued a pair of Italian tourists whose second hand 4WD purchased in Melbourne had reached the end of it's tether. They were perhaps less that well informed about what they were facing on the East West crossing and the Nullarbor. Don and Russell towed them back to the nearest Roadhouse.

15 - Fri 10 Aug - Bush Camp to Bush Camp past Madura ~108 (1359) km

14 - Thu 9 Aug - Caiguna to Bush Camp past Cocklebiddy ~109 (1251) km

13 - Wed 8 Aug - Caiguna Troopie repair day and Rest Day

12 - Tue 7 Aug - Bush Camp to Caiguna ~127 (1142) km
There has been a casualty - the Troopie alternator has failed. The riders continued, and the Troopie with Don and Russell hitched a tow back to Norseman for repairs. Riders took a rest day in Caiguna.

11 - Mon 6 Aug - Fraser Range to Bush Camp past Balladonia ~140 (1015) km
No news is good news...

10 Sun 5 Aug Norseman to Fraser Range ~105 (875) km
More hills and head winds to a bush camp at Fraser Range.

9 - Sat 4 Aug - Widgiemooltha to Norseman ~90 (770) km

8 - Fri 3 Aug - Kalgoorlie to WidgieMooltha ~97 (680) km
Undulating busy road from Kalgoorlie to Norseman. No shoulder, winding, hilly more traffic. Getting off the road for traffic up to 20 times. Still all well and arrived at the Widgiemooltha Roadhouse unharmed.

7 - Thu 2 Aug - Rest day in Kalgoorlie

6 - Wed 1 Aug - Boondi to Kalgoorlie ~118 (583) km
Tailwinds at last. The Nullabiters arrived in Kalgoorlie for a welcome rest day and some touring around the bars and night spots, well museums and coffee shops anyway.

5 - Tue 31 July - Southern Cross to Boondi ~107 (465) km
Bush camp at Boondi, all going well but head winds have slowed progress somewhat. Bush camp photo and some obscure food product :-)

4 - Mon 30 July - Merredin to Southern Cross ~109 (358) km

3 - Sun 29 July - Kellerberrin to Merredin ~57 (249)km
The possible 150 km to Southern Cross was put to one side for a shorter run to Merredin - head winds and more head winds.

2 - Sat 28 July - York to Kellerberrin ~106 (192)km
Their second day saw them arrive in Kellerberrin, another 100 km along the way and further along the undulations.
Sheep husbandry on the ride - Lindy shows her farming skills to rescue a downed sheep.

1 - Fri July 27 - Perth to York ~86 (86)km
Their first day, Friday the 27th, took them ~90 km to York up the steep climb onto the escarpment and into modest head winds.

Here is a photo of their lunch stop 40 km out the road at The Lakes on day one.

 

Lyn Loudon in France - 20.7.12
Hi Peter & other cycling friends,

Ken & I are having a wonderful time here in France; brilliant weather &
great cyclng.

We have been following the Tde F, riding on some of the stage routes,
including two occasions riding the last few kilometres over the finish line
and having our picture taken on the podium.
That was amazing - I once wore the yellow jersey.

It was incredible cycling up the mountains with crowds along the course
clapping & cheering us (probably thinking we had ridden the whole
stage).However we have climbed some awesome cols - the Tourmalet; Croix de
Feu, Aspin & Persesoude, which surprised even me!!
I will have to stop eating all the fabulous French fare now that we have
finished riding or I will not fit into the seat on the plane home!

Seeing the Tour live has been an amazing experience - I even got to give
Cadel a hug! We saw several stage finishes and the atmosphere & noise is
overwhelming
Tomorrow we are off to Italy for a restful holiday so more news soon.

Hope everyone is well & enjoying some good rides, even in the winter
weather:

Best wishes to all,

Lyn

Maxine discovered in the Western Isles - 27.7.12
From an email to the AudaxOZ list by other Australian cycle travellers:

If anyone was wondering how Maxine Riggs is doing on her tour of Scotland ... she looked well when we saw her on the Isle of Skye. :) We didn't plan to meet, it all happened by accident, and wouldn't have happened at all if our Plan A had worked. (I tell the story in my Europe story below). But it was really nice to see someone we know along the way.

Cheers,
Charlene & Rowan

From Geof & Marie - Birdsville - latest news - 4.7.12
We have finally made it to mount Isa - not without a few problems. 7 of the 20 vehicles had mechanical problems but all made it to Birdsville where 2 mechanics were flown in by Winnebago/Iveco to sort out the problems. We had electrical/computer problems which shut down our gearbox - fixed (eventually) with a $1 fuse. All in all it was a great trip over some of the roughest "road" I have come accross. Now we are heading to the coast from Mt Isa to Rockhampton. This is one of Marie's photos below:

From Maxine in England - latest news - 28.6.12
I enjoy receiving the emails from the other travellers.

My two day tour with Miko was great - Finland is just such a beautiful country. We rode to some of the islands and went on 3 ferries - 2 of which were free. Miko is hoping to go to Cambridge when he finishes school and if he does the Finnish Govt will contribute a good portion of the GBP 9,000 annual fees. Still the money has to come from some where and the taxes are high.

I am now in my little cottage in Downham, Lancashire where Born and Bred was filmed and also Whistling Down the wind - a movie over 50 years old! It is just so beautiful - the walking is great, as is the cycling, though the hills at times, at many times, are hard and continuous. People are friendly.

All the houses, pub, post office, school, etc in Downham are owned by Lord and Lady Clitheroe and no-one is able to purchase a house in the village. The last house was built in 1964. I rode to Slaidburn yesterday and it is the same situation there. Though the Squire rececently died and maybe the death duties may change the whole situation. Slaidburn used to be in Yorkshire but the bounderies were changed and now it is in Lancashire. I spoke to a local guy for about an hour - he has the most fantastic memory.
Just about time to walk home. Pls say 'hi' to everyone.
Maxine

Marianne, Peter, Trudi & Zdenka in Europe - latest news - 17.7.12
Due to wet weather, on Friday 13th, we caught the train to Heilbronn, missing a lovely 90k flat ride along the Necker River. A hilly mid morning, with rain we finally reached Waldenburg ,perched up on a mountain, out of breath, gasping for air, dripping with sweat, we had a quick lunch. Just on descending, a strong gust of wind nearly blew us off our bikes.Wending our way back down the mountain, along the river, through the forest we reached Schwabisch Hall, here again our swish hotel was up a steep rise, cobbled stone streets not helping, it was well worth the effort for our big flat T.V screens, black marble bathroom, big fluffy towels, lovely comfy beds, big basin in bathroom to wash clothes. Peter and Marianne hardly stirred out from their room not a 100%. Buffet breakfast was a joy and our hostess served our hot drinks.On leaving, we again encountered grey skies, going along a gravel, eroded path it started to pour .Riding for cover we found a bus shelter and small cafe where we waited for it to pass. While checking maps, a couple of cyclists stopped and asked if they could help, and remarked that we had the wrong bikes and too much gear to ride up the mountain that was a 14% gradient. The girls managed, Peter walking as his cold was getting worse. By lunchtime we had ridden 30ks with 40 to go. With no signage in sight we followed our noses, leaving the bike path and going on the road, here we made good time, very little traffic and arrived at Rothenburg on the Tauber, just before the rain.Our youth hostel was in a 600 year old gothic building, which was once used for grinding wheat.The old medieval town is surrounded by massive stone walls with 42 towers, we spent the day relaxing and exploring. Signing off from the medieval, weary travelers.


From Geof & Marie - Zoo in Adelaide - heading for Birdsville - latest news - 16.6.12
Geof wasn't too excited by the sleeping panda but liked the cappuchino served with a panda picture!

I

From Fiona Cameron in France - latest news - 12.6.12
I,m having a wonderful time mais le climat ici n.est pas bon. Il y a
beaucoup le pleut pendant lla semaine dernière. A ce moment, je suis
en Lyon pour deux nuits avec le "Warmshowers" et hier je vais a le
massive central par Feurs, Courpiere et St Genes Champanelles (un
autre "Warmshower"). Puis les montagnes! Just over three weeks to go.
The food is fantastic as much for the way it is eaten as anything else
qnd the people have been so kind and generous. I suppose there could
be a nasty person but I haven,t met him/her yet! I think the
Australian drivers could learn a bit also. Despite the rain there is
actually a bit of sunshine today. I will be able to leave some excess
bits and pieces here at Steve and Geraldines for the the next part of
the trip as I am returning here before leaving. Just finishing my
cuppa then going to have a look around Lyon. We all went out yesterday
arvo but it started to bucket down so I'll make the most of the sun.
Keep in touch
Fiona

Pam, Lyn and John complete the 150km Audax Great Ocean Road Ride
A tough ride this one from Anglesea to Apollo Bay and back to Anglesea along the Great Ocean Rd. with 1864m of climbing. We had favourable winds for most of the ride with a weather change about an hour before the turn around point at Apollo Bay. About 100 riders completed courses of 200/150/100km.

Simon Watt, David Ellis, Lindy Lester & Peter Mathews - ADELAIDE to GEELONG
We left Blackwood (Adelaide) Sunday morning. Then Wellington (hot), Gemini Downs (Salt Creek) (hot), Kingston (hot), Robe (short but tough head wind all day), and Millicent cool day, stormy night. Pleasant cool day into Portland today (25th March). Port Fairy tomorrow, then Peterborough, Lavers Hill, Lorne and  Geelong on Thursday.
Photos:
Waiting for train to Belair on Sat evening.
Ready to leave Belair Sun morning.
Dave's first puncture on Monday.

John films Simon and himself descending into the Moorabool Valley on Slate Quarry Rd. heading towards Meredith. Max speed reached 62kph (because of the bends!). Filmed with a GoPro HD camera mounted on John's helmet.

Geoff and Heather’s Cycling Holiday in New Zealand
This is only a short summary of the trip and a more detailed report will be prepared later for the Sprocket.
 
We flew to Wellington on 11th February and started riding on the 13th when we left for Waikanae on the west cost then on to Foxton Beach and then Palmerston North where we caught up with someone Heather knew way back in her Dookie life. Robert was a Dookie College student who has gone on to be a Dean at Massey University. It was a mind stretching exercise for them both.
From there we went on to Eketahuna, Carterton and back to Wellington over the Rimutaka Hill. The Interislander ferry then took us to Picton. Our first sightings of the Marlborough Sounds were spectacular and it truly is a very scenic place, then on to Blenheim, Havelock and Nelson. The ride into Nelson had 3 hills and a strong head wind for the last 10 klm’s.
Motueka was our next stop before talking the Takaka Hill at 791m on our way to Pohara Beach. Collingwood followed next where we went on a tour of Farewell Spit and Cape Farewell the most northern part of the south island.
We retraced our steps from there back to Havelock went on a mail boat run and then headed off in to the Sounds and Endeavour Cove. We stayed at a lovely secluded B&B named Mahana Lodge. This is located in the Bay of Many Coves and leads to Queen Charlotte Sound so we used a ferry to return to Picton. Then off Wellington and back home on the 16th March.
It was a lovely trip beautiful scenery lots of lovely friendly people.
No doubt we will plan another so we can explore more of New Zealand.

Steve's Ride for Kidney Health - his report - Here is a wrap of my Adelaide trip...I will send some photos soon...
During the 2012 Tour Down Under the UCI opened up the roads on stage four for the public to ride. The ride was called The Bupa Challenge Community Ride. I was very lucky to have a group of Nurses, led by Sheryl, raise money for me to get to Adelaide and ride the BUPA Challenge. I stayed in Adelaide for one week, incorporating three dialysis runs at various hospitals around the city. It was a great week to be a cyclist in Adelaide, with bikes everywhere, cycling events on every night, the tour city that was set up in Victoria Square and many other cycling related activities to take part in. The BUPA ride was on the Friday of the Tour Down Under. So with a few light rides around the city during the week we were all set for the long ride on the same roads as the professionals, we left at 6.30 AM and the pros started around lunch time, to ensure we were finished in plenty of time. Both Sheryl and I joined thousands of cyclists riding in a Northerly direction from Norwood to Tanunda, a distance of 130 Kms. The weather on the day was very good for cycling, overcast, low 30s with a slight Southerly breeze. The hills were on from the start of the ride and once we got to the top of the first climb we had found a steady pace. On stage four there were not many flat sections of road and the undulations of the Barosa Valley tested us at times and also gave us great views of lakes, vineyards, country homesteads and rolling hills. The ride was very well organized with regular water stops, sag wagons, mechanics and plenty of encouragement along the course. As we got closer to Tanunda we found a second wind. Lots of people were lining the roads on the final sections of our ride, they had got a good seat early to cheer on the professionals. And we did get many cheers ourselves. This really lifted our spirits and helped us along the final Kms. We both completed the ride quite well with no problems to speak of. And we were lucky enough to get a lift back to Adelaide from a Dr named Leo, who we had made contact with during the previous few days. All in all it was a very successful week of cycling. I can certainly recommend the Tour Down Under week to anyone that has an interest in cycling, as a rider or spectator. Adelaide is a very cycle friendly city. My appreciation will always go to Sheryl who made this trip possible.
Regards Steven Cartin.
http://www.kidney.org.au//LinkClick

 

Harry, Noel & John
We went out on Sat 29.10.11 to see the Melbourne-Warrnambool Bike Ride go up Staceys Rd. in Lara where they are awarded points for the hill climb. On the way out I photographed the pollution from Shell from the Ted Wilson Path.

Maxine
A report from Maxine to say that she is up in Queensland and has already cycled up to the Lamington National Park. Last report was from Harvey Bay.

Paris-Brest-Paris
David Ellis, Simon Watt and Peter Donnan recently completed the 1,230km Paris-Brest-Paris ride - David has given us a link from another rider to show what the ride was like this year - click here to see the video and go to "Towards the Ocean" at the bottom of the page.

Michael & Helen.
"On Saturday (22/10/11) Michael and I headed from Newcomb to Church St and rode on the Ted Wilson trail until it ended, then returned via another rail path and came out near Autumn Street, rode through Geelong back to Newcomb about 30kms, Sunday was a nice ride to Drysale and back to Newcomb via the rail trail, we didnt have time as Michael had to get back to Melbourne otherwise we were going to continue to Queenscliff, so about 30kms weather was lovely for the ride.

Michael's Aroung the Bay Report: "This was my first RTB 210k ride after doing the 100k the last 2 years. I arrived at 0545am and the start was staggered from 6am my start was now 0700am.
Ride to Dromana was good however that's when the head wind started. Oliver's hill at Frankston was fun. Arrived at Sorrento about 11:20am had hoped to get there for the 11am Ferry but the late start did not help.
I had to wait till 12:30pm ferry to cross as the 12:00 noon ferry was full.
From Quenscliff to Geelong was again a head wind, with lots of diversions until reaching Geelong. I had a stop in Geelong to visit Helen,
Just before Freeway I had tyre trouble it had gone out of shape so I deflated the tyre and had not inflate it fully so as to give it better shape.
The tail wind on the freeway was great, holding speeds of 40 to 50k.
Going through Werribee I had a flat and I counted my blessings that I had bought a great pump from Greg which made the job easier. Once I started again I knew I would not make the West Gate Bridge crossing as they had moved the time from 05:45pm to 05:30pm so I missed it by about ten minutes.
The over all day was great, I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as I crossed the finish line after riding in such conditions and for that length of time, so getting the medal was a great finish to the day, some recognition.
Next year I plan to get fitter, and I have now purchased some better quality tyres from Greg."

Alistair has taken up my offer and submitted this report on the Around the Bay ride.
"I did the ride with my brother Andrew and long time mate Brian and did the 210 km ride towards Sorrento. We didn’t get away until 7.15am as the release of riders at the start point was quite slow. It was a bit frustrating sitting on the start line for over an hour but not much we could do about it. After getting onto Beach Rd it was a great run to about Frankston at the rest stop but as we then headed South the wind made its presence felt. We all got to Sorrento around 11.15am but had to wait until 12.30pm before we could board a ferry. Leaving Queenscliffe we battled into the head wind and didn’t arrive at the Rippleside rest area until 3.15pm where we had our families waiting with some supplies. At that time we knew that reaching the Westgate bridge prior to the cut off time was going to be a struggle but we pushed on and enjoyed the tail wind up the highway sitting on around 40 km/h which was very welcome. We stopped very briefly at the Little River service centre to top up water bottles and kept pushing. Unfortunately we just missed the Westgate cut off time and had to go into the city via Footscray Rd which wasn’t too bad as it turned out except for the lack of signage once we got to Docklands. Luckily we were in a group who had some local knowledge and after negotiating some alleys and footpaths we ended up at Crown and continued onto Alexandra Gardens and arrived at 6.30pm. Our average speed was 25 km/h which we were very happy with but more importantly we finished without incident." Alistair has provided us with some of the photos bleow.

And here is Peter Maurer's report on the Around the Bay ride:
"I did a solo ride this year so decide to join the front bunch at the Alexandra Gardens starting line and got away at 6.10am. We had a clear run out of the city and headed off to Frankston at a great rate of knots and passed the 50 Km mark at 7.30am at average an 38 kph. I pressed on without stopping and tagged onto a fast rider on a Colnago C59 to sprint up Mt Martha on his back wheel, but as we turned west the wind hit us like a wall and it was a hard slog (17 kph at times) till arriving at Sorrento 9.24am, dismounting the bike for the first time and thankful for a break. I only saw one GTC rider on the road, Lindy as she made her way from Sorrento to Melbourne. There was no 9.30 ferry so after catching the large ferry to Queenscliff, rode off again against the strong westerly, managing to hang onto a bunch in fear of fighting the wind alone, arriving at Rippleside Park for a water refill just after midday. The average speed was quickly falling and found the ride tough till this point. Then after passing over the Corio overpass what a pleasurable ride it was until the Werribee turn off, kept above 45 kph assisted by the strong south westerly. After the tour around Kororoit Creek then the sprint along and over the Westgate; arrive at Alexandra Gardens at 3.03pm. My “official” average speed was 29 kph, the ride was tough, windy but thankful I did not get wet and enjoyed again this lap around the Bay."

And here is Rob Green's report:
"
Well I undertook my first ATB adventure. I arrived at the start in plenty of time for the 6am start only to be held up there until finally getting away around 7am. That quickly put an end to my plan of getting to Queenscliff by 11am. So off we headed over the Westgate and down the highway into a blustery Sth Westerly. The trip to Werribee was challenging but once we rejoined the freeway things turned ugly (uglier)! Strong head winds increased with each squall that lashed the riders. I managed to get into a couple of bunches that provided some protection and moved along a bit quicker.  Lots of riders experienced punctures but fortunately my luck was with me on this day – that and the guaranteed puncture proof tyres Greg had sold me, thanks Greg. The squalls were intermittent but it was a case of jacket on/jacket off/jacket on/jacket off as it was a bit warm wearing it when it wasn’t raining. We were down to 17km per hour at times and I finally arrived at Rippleside at 10.10am where my wife, Andrea met me with a few supplies. After about a 20 minute break it was back on the bike and then a much better ride down the familiar road to Queenscliff. I arrived there at 11.50 with hopes of being on the 12 noon ferry but was quickly told to it was full and I’d be on the 1pm. Whilst I felt in good shape, in hindsight the extended break was beneficial as it gave me an excellent recovery break. Off the ferry at Sorrento right on 2pm. I jumped on the back of a good group leaving Sorrento and hung on with them until Dromana. Whilst it wasn’t a tail wind at this time, it was quite a protected ride. Still feeling good, I pushed on up Olivers Hill and into Frankston before having a break.  So I was now at the 160km mark and in new territory for me and feeling better than I had hoped. At this stage I was confident that I could make it from Frankston to Melbourne as I had run that same course many years ago in the Melbourne marathon. My logic was that if I could run that far surely I could ride that far.  I quickly got a surprise with the intensity and effect of the wind which at times seemed to be both a blustery cross wind and head wind – again down to 17km at times. As I observed riding around Beach Road it was a great day for kite surfing but probably not for bike riding. The wind got that strong along Beach Road that we were getting sand blasted as the wind ripped the sand off the beach and into our face at South Melbourne.  So at this stage my legs are screaming, I’m catching every red light, the winds blowing me on to the wrong side of the road, sands hitting me in the face and I’m thinking how much fun is this!!!!!! Eventually I turned north at Port Melbourne and finally the winds at my back and I made it to the finish at about 6.20pm where I bumped into Alastair and Brian – another couple of satisfied finishers. So it was an average of about 23.5km and just short of 9 hours riding time and whilst tired, I pulled up far better than I thought I would. So even in less than ideal conditions I achieved something that I thought even a few months ago was beyond my capabilities. I’m grateful to all of you that I have ridden with for the information and support and encouragement  that you have given me – thank you all.  Peter M gave me great advice about eating and nutrition on such a long ride; someone else explained to me that it is really 2 x 100km rides which I found to be very true and it made it more manageable and achievable. And finally, to those of you (and you know who you are) who told me that the Melbourne/Queenscliff/Sorrento/Melbourne direction was the best way to go, well if it’s the best direction then the opposite direction must be bloody horrific! I look forward to catching up with you all on a ride soon. PS. For next years ATB I have ordered a North Easterly which will ease off before turning to a South Westerly around lunch time – fingers crossed."

Rosemary Hogan's report:
"It was only the night before the Around the Bay ride that I decided to attach my timing device and go to the official start for a change. Arrived at 5:30 but I didn't get to head off until well after 7 o'clock. Mmmm, something to reconsider for next year. At least the MC at the start line was entertaining. Beach Road early morning was fun with a great pace and sending us off in intervals paid dividends as it wasn't too congested. Never know whether to smile or grimace at the photographer on Hopes Rise-think the latter invariably happens!
Saw a really bad fall after a touch of wheels and watched with fear as the rider slid across the road. Heard later that he was very lucky that there were no cars around and fortunately he was ok.
The ride to Sorrento was good-just a few drops of rain and an energy sapping head wind for the last bit. Arrived at Sorrento just to see the ferry pulling out(and, to add insult to injury, they said it was only half full!) and had the “ pleasure” of an hour wait for the 12:00 ferry, only to have that extended to 12:30.
Queenscliff to Ocean Grove-Leopold-Geelong was a hard day at the office with strong winds to say the least, numerous stops and a wistful wish for more gears. Got onto the freeway and joined in the collective chorus of “yippee” as we were pushed along by the magnificent tail wind. Think I've found my preferred direction!
Particularly enjoyed the last 30 k, riding with a small group and enjoying the occasional sprint (surprisingly) and lots of laughter.
I was really happy with the medal at the end, a nice touch for riding 223k in 9 _ hours, as per my computer."