Off on the bikes!

Not sure at how we would fair on our bikes, we packed up our gear and headed for biggenden to start back on the trail again. The night before we were due to leave we were in fits of laughter as it was storming and hailing around us (bc what else can you do but laugh) at the fact neither of us could lift up the back of my bicycle to move it …. How on earth were we going to maunage the change from riding horses to bikes?

The regular aches and pains had crossed our minds, the sore bums, sore knees, tired legs, tired bodies – but I wasn’t prepared for the bruises and cuts I would get (Preston hais managed to avoid them to date) from…

*pushing my bike up steep, overgrown hills with the long grass grazing my legs and the pedals continuously gauging the back of my calf because as many times as I moved it out of my way, it just seemed to somehow manouver itself back into the wrong spot,
*sticks flicking up and slapping me across the thigh leaving a nice bruise
*Sand that stops your bike dead catapulting you off and then realising that you might get run over if Preston doesn’t use his brakes quick enough

It also took me a little time to come to grips with the speed and distance we would cover. Having only ever ridden road bikes I was used to coasting along and doing 50km in an average training ride. It has dawned on me how much dirt, corrugations, hills, creeks, grass, ploughed paddocks, sand, gullies and loose rocks and gravel slow you down! Not to mention you have to keep stopping to read the map because you can’t just drop the reins and put the bike in autopilot – and people don’t like horses because they have their own brains. The way I see it, it’s an advantage!

Even though we have had a breaking in period, there are some good points about the bike.
*They are quicker and as the temps have been up around 35-40 it has been great to be able to stop earlier
*you don’t have to stop for grids – although the first couple it kind of felt like we were cheating
*they don’t need feeding and the terrain has been very poor for feed. It has cemented our decision to swap horses for bikes as many places along the trail have had NO grass!
*they generally do as they are told, all of the time – although you dont have the entertainment of ponies being ponies.

The trail thus far has been lovely, and although we are glad we didn’t bring the boys, we are missing them greatly. It has been some of the best horse riding country we have been through so far, and I am sure they would have enjoyed it.

We have been leaving early to beat the heat, but this makes for long days. We had a brain wave to bring the kindle….only one kindle and no books. This usually results is us arguing over who’s turn it is to read the kindle, and the other person trying to entertain themselves without moving so you stay in the shade and out of the heat – the entertaining ourselves generally ends in poking the other person until they give up the kindle… I wish we had 2 kindles… Or 1 kindle and another book….

One night, We stayed at the dickabram bridge in a town called Miva which is a cool old rickety bridge that spans the Mary river. It’s 23m above the river, and has only ever been flooded once. That’s a lot of water! In the waters of the Mary river lives a turtle that is the only one of it’s kind in the world. It can breathe through it’s nose and its tail. Unfortunately we didn’t see one!

We are having a rest in kilkivan and making the most of the real food…. I have never had such big cravings for real food since we have been out on trail. I guess the extra exercise makes you hungry, really hungry!

We got to see our first trail distance marker and we are now less than 3000km from Healsville (depending on which sign you believe :-P) and have been on the trail 6 months. We celebrated by adding muesli into our damper …. Oh the little things!