210 kilometres by recumbent – Done!

I’m just winding down after the Around the Bay 210km ride. Yes, we made it.

The weather wasn’t as bad as the forecast made it sound. Instead of really strong northerlies, there was a light northerly as far as Dromana, then the Bay turned to glass. A cool southeasterly seabreeze from Queenscliff to just past Geelong, then a humid light easterly that turned into a light to moderate northerly with 33 degrees closer to Melbourne. Apparently on the other side of the bay a stronger northerly made for tougher going for folks doing the anticlockwise route.

After leaving home at 6am after a hearty breakfast, I met Steve Nurse at the Dromana rest area just before 7 o’clock after a fast run sucking roadie wheels most of the way. We stayed relatively close until near Rye I had a rear flat and waved him on while I changed the tube (and repaired the damaged one just in case). When I got to Sorrento and collected my lunch it was to find that the 9am ferry was full and about to leave (I presume Steve was on it) and the next ferry wasn’t until 10am. It was a long hot wait in the sun in a *massive* queue and tempers flared a bit when boarding time arrived.

The trip to Geelong was OK, though after cooling down on the ferry the muscles protested at the renewed effort. The worst thing, though, was that on the big downhill after Leopold, the light halfway down turned red on me. It took a good 100km off my brake pads to haul to a stop in time. At one point I passed George Durbridge on his trike going the other way and gave him a wave.

I was able to latch onto a couple of groups going at a good rate for me up the Geelong Rd. The contrast with our laboured pace against the 40+km/hr wind on the “ATB in a weekend” a month or so ago was amazing.

Everything was going fine until just past Hoppers Crossing where some @!$#&$#*^% had put drawing pins on the road. Suddenly my front type was making a “tic-tic-tic” sound. I stopped. Looked. The tyre was still up but there was a pin in it. Pulled it out – pssssssssssss. Fixed the tube. Tried to pump it up. Broke my valve extender. Started to walk to find a petrol station. After about 1km, I ran across a group fixing their own multiple drawing pin punctures. Hurrah, one of them had what I needed to inflate my tyre!

The rest of the way, I drafted when I could. From Altona on there were riders all over the nature strips looking totally knackered by the heat. Presumably many of them were working up last reserves of energy for the run over the Westgate bridge. One guy was down with what looked like punishing leg cramps.

The ride up the Westgate was slow; I just spun up too tired to really appreciate the view, as other riders ground past me. On the way down I just let the bike have its’ head and stopped pedalling. Ringing my bell furiously, I was blasting past the bikes that had passed me on the way up at between 60-70km/hr.

I eventually rolled into the finish at the Alexandra Gardens, just as the rather warm litre and a half of water I’d topped up with at Werribee ran out. People told me that Steve had arrived about an hour before I did and had gone.

After an overpriced cold drink I saddled up again to ride the last 15km home. Which is where I am now, tired, but with no obvious aches or pains, writing this after a very welcome shower and an equally welcome glass of Reisling.

Statistics: 8hrs and 32 minutes of “riding” for 214km on the odometer, for an average of just over 25km/hr. This includes about half an hour of walking with the bike at rest stops, in the ferry queue and when I had the second flat, so actual riding speed was somewhat faster. About 4-5 litres of water consumed. Also many jelly snakes, muesli bars, and sundry other snacks as well as a hearty lunch.

A big thankyou to all my sponsors. We have together raised $270 for the Smith Family.


4 Responses to “210 kilometres by recumbent – Done!”

  1. 1 Mum October 24, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Well done, John – Sounds gruelling, but glad to hear you accomplished the trip and arrived home safe, even if sore. Might be wise to give yourself a bit of a rest before tackling such a marathon. It would have made the Hobart trip seem a bit tame!!!Wasn’t that great, though!

  2. 2 microsoar October 25, 2007 at 7:56 am

    It wasn’t particularly gruelling. I was just tired when I got home, which is no surprise. I tried not to make it a race and just kept going at a comfortable pace for me. The heat didn’t affect me much if at all, and I tried to slipstream other riders when I had the opportunity!

  3. 3 Russell Reynoldson October 25, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Congratulations I am in awe of your firness and stamina. Thanks for the birthday wishes. It was good to catch up with everyone in Tassie. I can assure you that things will be warmer next year – no jumpers in Central Queensland.
    Say hi to Ruth , Miriam and JohnO for me.
    Any plans for another gruelling ride.

  4. 4 microsoar October 25, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Any plans for another gruelling ride?


    I’m planning a “River to the City” ride.
    Read about it at:


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