And that’s it! 1255km and 14 days after having left Melbourne, I am at Victoria Square right in the middle of Adelaide! This first stretch of the journey is done, and now awaits the real ride, the long one through the hot and dry Red Centre of Australia, the red desert that stretches for thousands of kilometers in the middle of this vast country.
After our previous stop at Milicent (with the stormy winds and unlimited-access computers of the library), we set out the next day and completed the ride to Adelaide in 3 and a half days, a total of about 435km.
Our route was going up along the coast, including 145km along the Coorong, a wetland that stretches like a very long lake between the coast and the road. The long distances gave us a small idea of what it can be like to ride for 100s of kms without a lot in between. There is still the odd rest area or service stations, and although there are not many people, there is a steady traffic of tourists (and trucks). That’s the idea I have of riding through the outback. Pretty remote, but not exactly empty like everyone tends to think! We also met some other cycle tourists, a couple going the opposite way, two German women who had already cycled everywhere in New Zealand, and we even met the Taiwanese cyclist again, he had blown a tire and got a lift to Meningie, we saw his bike, he had fixed his tire with duct-tape!
I am pretty reassured about covering long distances on a bike. we did 106km on a very bad day of headwinds. It’s not easy either, but doing more than 100 in one day is something you can reasonably rely on, and that’s a good thing! But I also learned that headwinds don’t just slow you down, they destroy your legs by having you forcing very irregularly, and they can bring your morale down, with fatigue and frustration from not seeing the kms go up!
Anyway, I know have a precious experience of 14 days of cycle-travel, and I can prepare myself for a longer trip through the rougher outback. I know what it’s like to cycle with a very heavy bike, to rest in a tent under the stars every night after having cycled the whole day, to be sore all over, in the legs from the pedaling, in the back from the sitting, in the arms and hands from holding the handlebar all the time, in the fingers from the clenched hand taking all the vibrations of the road. But in a way, although it’s hard, I also see that it is something you can prepare yourself for, and if you take it one turn of pedals at a time, you’ll get as far as you want! And what I want is to go to the other side of the country, and through the desert, see it’s vast stretches of nothingness, and unspoiled night skies.
But before that, I will enjoy a 3-day break in the city, get some rest, give some thought about the experience from the two first weeks of cycling, check the things I will need and the things I can get rid of, check the distances and places of interest along the way, check more information, and make sure Red the bike is good to go a few more 1000kms!
The ride must go on! (after a break!)