(Blog 1 – February 19)
They say you should never meet your heroes. I’m anxious because Australia is one of mine.
I’ve spent a lifetime enjoying the people, the sports competition, the apparent relaxed lifestyle, their humour, their music and many images of a beautiful country with often stunning scenery. However not least is my gratitude and admiration that so many have fought and died in wars for a freedom and way of life that I enjoy today in Yorkshire.
So what’s the plan? I exit Melbourne on February 28th and start my bike ride of 2,500 miles to Cairns. I’ll trundle through Sydney and Brisbane before coming to rest quite near the top of the country. That’ll be in early April. I will be riding solo – the Grey Nomad Goes Down Under! – and camping most of the way.
I expect I will find that but also a drifting ship that is slowly but inexorably moving away from Britain and our former Commonwealth. I’ll find a multiplicity of ethnicities, a tilt toward Asia and maybe the USA in its culture, cuisine and language. I’ll find some coastlines to die for and maybe some busy roads nearby that I will have to be careful to avoid dying on.
There will be long hard and dusty miles of heat and hills. I’ll experience the kindness of strangers, the indifference of many and the hostility of a few who have little or no time for a bloke on a bicycle. Let’s hope the famed spiders, snakes and any other unpleasant animals show indifference.
I hope there’s sun and I know there will be rain. Yes, their rain will be warmer but all the same, thanks but no thanks, not least because I imagine it will be like riding through a car wash. We know about the ‘amber nectar’ but what are these pies that everyone raves about and will I find a few shrimps on the barbie?
There’s a lot to tell you about why I’m riding in March rather than a month earlier as I originally planned. My Plan B as regards potential bush fires and floods and hopefully a link to my interview on BBC Radio York but I’ll pick that up on future blogs.
I’m very excited or as the natives of another former British colony say ”stoked”. I’d be delighted and motivated if you take a peak at my blogs; I’m planning they’ll be daily.
You’ll be the tailwind I need.