In contrast, when you arrive by back roads you gently meander into town. Past the edge of the houses, past the local school, cross over the railway line, turn right at the station, pass a church or two and the aquatic centre before you discover the main street. You’ve had a chance to see people in their gardens, meet locals walking and riding bikes, You realise implicitly that the town has an identity of its own, it stands as an entity separate from the highway. Arriving by bike reinforces the sense that you are entering a community.
Huge thanks to the incredibly generous Greens members and supporters. who billeted me and the team: David and Ruth; David and Ann; Julie and Joan; Lisa; Rosemary; Annette; Damien and Cris; Wendy; Maryann and Charlie; Chris and Les and Gayle and Mark; and all the others who billeted other members of the team – and those who organised it.
Lambs and calves are cute. And sheep and lambs are more scared by brightly coloured cyclists riding the road alongside their paddock than they are by big trucks. They turn tail and run, which is also pretty cute. It’s what they are used to I suppose. In contrast the sheep in the paddocks alongside the Wangaratta to Beechworth rail trail, used to thousands of cyclists a week during summer, didn’t flinch a bit as we cruised past.
Rain when you are riding isn’t that bad. Even when it’s cold. You put on all your gear, and you ride, and you get wet eventually regardless, and it’s ok until you stop when the most important thing is getting into a hot shower ASAP! Strong winds are worse. And wind and rain as a combo is a not particularly pleasant combination. Fortunately we didn’t get a lot of that.
I’m a lot more comfortable leading from middle of the pack rather than out the front. When you’re in the middle you can see what’s going on around you and be in touch with those out front and those hanging back. When you’re out the front you’ve got no idea whether others are following or whether you’re leaving them all in your wake
The ride has been a fantastic way to connect with people, and just as powerfully, connect people to each other. By travelling through and stopping off for dinners, lunches, and other events we’ve brought people together. In Bacchus Marsh and Shepparton my visit was a kickstart to bring people together which may result in an ongoing local group; and it provided a gee-up and burst of energy elsewhere. I’ve made some great ongoing connections with people, and helped people feel part of a bigger whole., giving them a sense I hope that what they do in their local areas is powerful and part of a network, a web of like minded people doing like minded things across the state, country and indeed the globe.
The Journey to Canberra red book was a last minute thing, and I’m so glad I thought of it. It’s a big thick bound plain paper pages book that I’ve invited anyone and everyone along the way to write in, with messages to me, sharing their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams, or their messages they’d like me to give to others in Canberra. It’s going to be a great momento of the trip.