Tue, 10 Apr 2007

A short ride along the GOR…. // at 15:05

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Up nice and early — no chance of a sleep-in with two small boys in the house and an enormous flock of cockatoos in the trees outside; screeching from one lot and elephantine stomping from the others...

Breakfast and pack and out and onto the bike; the simple plan was to ride to Queenscliff and catch the ferry to Sorrento, then ride up the bay to Frankston and catch the train the rest of the way — I don't think I'm quite up to the 200km or so of riding the whole way!

The morning ride from Lorne to Airey's Inlet and Anglesea was one of those magic country rides that sticks in your mind, no wind, cool weather, little or no traffic, just the sun on the sea and pleasant thoughts in your head. Unfortunately it went downhill from Anglesea and just kept on descending... Traffic between Anglesea and Torquay was a constant annoyance, endless 4WDs charging home to Melbourne along the GOR all packed to the hilt with screaming kids and aggressive mums and dads.

The road from Queenscliff to Barwon Heads to Torquay continues to mystify me — yet again I managed to get lost. This time trying to ride through Torquay; the last time I rode this way I missed the end of the road out near Queenscliff, today I couldn't find the other end of if where it leaves the town for Barwon Heads — instead I must have spent half an hour riding around and around endless ugly new developments of monstrous beach McMansions crammed cheek-by-jowl through the golf-course as part of the latest mega-dollar development. One lot of advice sent me into a windy-spiral of interconnected enclave roads that lead nowhere, then a "nah mate, the road out is back that way". Finally some advice to "right at the roundabout then up that hill and turn right at the lights". I back-tracked to the roundabout, headed up that hill and lo, found myself all the way back on the bloody highway facing back to Geelong!

Grumpy, I gave up with the idea of Queenscliff and the ferry and rode the last 20km to Geelong in the hot sun in a bad mood with even more roaring traffic peppering me with gravel as they passed.

Half an hour wait for the train then my first chance to ride on one of our much vaunted shiny new purple "high-speed" Bombardiers... This would have been much more enjoyable if the idiots running the train system had realised that a two-carriage train with near zero luggage space is going to be completely overwhelmed during the school holidays! The train was packed, there were people sitting on the floor the entire length of the aisle and a dozen people crammed standing in the doorways, I could just squeeze my bike into the "oversized luggage compartment", the three guys with surf-boards had no such luck and had to stand holding them the entire way. It seems the trains are designed for commuters or travellers with no luggage at all.

Then we swayed and rocked as it crashed and banged its way for an hour from Geelong to Melbourne, stopping at assorted stations to refuse entry to passengers with tickets because there was no room! "Next train guys" called the conductor, to be greeted by screamed abuse since the five kids had received the same reception an hour ago at the last train! At least a few got off, although one luckless passenger didn't get out because he simply could not get to the doors in time!

Finally we arrived at Spencer Street and I could untangle myself from my yoga-like position wrapped around the luggage rack, wheel the bike outside and ride the rest of the 20km home. My first, and hopefully last, time putting the bike on one the V/Line Geelong to Melbourne train I reckon!

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