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Edwins Bicycle Tour Downunder
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
Tuesday 20 February. Beechworth to Bright. Murray to the Mountains Rail Cycle Trail.

Weather today was clear and sunny and still hotter than yesterday at 36C, 97F. When I left the hotel at 8.30 I knew straight away I should have left earlier when my bike computer registered 25C already.

Today's ride was almost entirely on the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail with a distance of 45 miles on the cycle trail. This was the longest and best cycle trail I have ridden. Surface was mainly tarmac with some sections where this was covered with fine gravel.

There are 2 starts. The first is further down the Overts River Valley and the second up the Spur line into the hills at Beechworth. This proved a good place to start as over the course of 11 miles the trail descended 1000ft. This part of the trail was cross country with no roads in sight.

Unlike many UK trails the views were often open and not blocked by trees. After completing the descent to the main valley at Everton I stopped for a snack from supplies in my panniers. Then on up the Overts River Valley towards the mountains. The route is sometimes alongside the Great Alpine Road but most of the time at least a field away.

I stopped in a Park in Myrtleford for a picnic lunch and then on to a caf? for a welcome ice cream in the rising heat. After a noticeable climb before Myrtleford the rest of the route was very gradually uphill but probably less than 1%.

The route was well organised with several drinking water tanks on the route. These were useful both for extra water and to replace the warm to hot water in the bottles on the bike. I got through 6 litres during the day.

Today is my birthday and it was very enjoyable to spend it riding such a unique bike route and in the heat of summer. One point of interest for the pedantic. When does my birthday start. Midnight Australian time or midnight UK time which is 11 am Australian time?

47 miles for the day and 974ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 8:39 PM EADT
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Tuesday 20 February. In a cutting on the way down from Beechworth



remote Posted by Edwin at 8:34 PM EADT
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Tuesday 20 February. Further up the Bike Trail towards Bright



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Monday, 19 February 2007
Monday 19 February. Train Melbourne to Wodonga. Bike Wodonga to Beechworth.

Today I took the bike on a 200 mile train ride to Wodonga in the far NE of Victoria on the New South Wales Border. This is to be the start of a ride across the Victorian Alps, down to the coast and back to Melbourne.

Weather started dull and cloudy in Melbourne but this cleared to blue skies as I travelled east. Temperatures during the day were a little lower than yesterday at 34C, 93F but still heat wave levels. Back in Melbourne cooler air had come through with temperatures only getting to 26C.

The bike on the train was hassle free with a guard compartment at the rear of the train for bikes. Scenery was large expanses of bush farmland with the occasional isolated settlement. The train took a loop north and then east staying away from the high country to the south.

I spent the 3 and a half hour train trip looking at the scenery or reading an e-book on my PDA. (Saves a lot of weight on a bike trip as I have 5 books stored on it!!)

I had a picnic lunch in the park and then set off in search of the Murray River. This is at the north end of town and I couldn't pass up one final chance to see this great river we had seen so much of during the trip. It is also the border with New South Wales here. The only road across seemed to be the freeway but I had printed out a street map of town from the Internet at the Hotel last night. Using this I found a way on back roads and dirt roads to a rickety looking farm bridge. The Murray here being further up its course is much narrower.

The bike ride to Beechworth was gradually climbing up a valley to a pass at 1400ft. Then down a little and then up the last 4 miles to Beechworth at 1800ft. The ride could best be described as hot, humid and sweaty (in multiple drips!!)

Beechworth is one of those classic historical Bush towns with many of the old buildings intact which goes to sleep at 8.00pm.

29 miles for the day and 2549ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 8:59 PM EADT
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Monday 19 February. River Murray at Wodonga.



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Monday 19 February. Beechworth at Sunset



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Sunday, 18 February 2007
Sunday 18 February. Melbourne. Brighton Beach.

Weather today was even hotter than yesterday with temperatures reaching 37C, 99F!! The wind was northerly bringing hot air from the continents interior.

Another day off the bike, mustn't let this become a habit. Back in the saddle on Monday.

I decided today had to be a beach day and chose Brighton Beach down the coast of the bay from Melbourne ( not to be confused with the Adelaide Brighton, the Brighton in New Zealand or for that matter in Sussex)

I took a tram into town and then the Connex Suburban train down to Brighton Beach Station. I walked along the Esplanade to a viewpoint I had heard of. See the picture below with the curving Bay lined with Beach huts and the Melbourne Skyline in the distance. I sunbathed and swam on this beach. Earlier in the trip we had found the sea a little cool but now it was very warm.

Later I walked on to Brighton Pier or rather the breakwater protecting Brighton Marina. I took a picture specially for Peter W who had wanted pictures of Melbourne from a distance and of Yachts but probably didn't expect both at once..

Tea or Pineapple Juice stop was at a Caf? at the Pier. Then back to base using train and then tram. I was indoors after a dinner locally before a violent thunderstorm with heavy rain signalled a break in the weather which is due to remain fine but cooler.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 8:58 PM EADT
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Sunday 18 February. View from Brighton Beach



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Sunday 18 February. Melbourne Skyline from Brighton Pier



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Saturday, 17 February 2007
Saturday 17 February. Melbourne.

Weather could best be described as "Phew what a scorcher" It was one of those clear blue sky days when not a single cloud made an appearance. Temperatures reached a sultry 36C, 97F.

This was mainly a pottering day starting with moving rooms from a 4 bed superior room used by the group to a 2 bed economy room with bathroom up the corridor. I went into downtown for some shopping and then a picnic lunch on the south bank of the Yarra River across from the City towers.

Then a walk in the increasing heat along the footway and cycleway along the River south to the Botanic Gardens. These are quite extensive and have a much better Tearooms than the Adelaide version.

After dinner near the hotel I took a tram downtown and got in lots of evening City Lights photos.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 10:59 PM EADT
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Saturday 17 February. Cycleway along the Yarra



remote Posted by Edwin at 10:50 PM EADT
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Saturday 17 February. City lights across the Yarra River



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Friday, 16 February 2007
Friday 16 February. Melbourne Rest Day

Today weather was hot humid and sunny with temperatures up to 36C.

After breakfast the 2 Peters and Martin packed their Bikes in the Hotel's parking compound ready for their flight at 00.50 Saturday morning. I will be staying on in Australia for another 3 weeks and I will continue the Blog until the end of my trip.

We went up the road for elevenses where I got in a large Carrot Cake. Then a tram downtown to Federation Square and some very modern buildings. I had realised earlier in the morning that my prescription sunglasses were missing and probably left behind at a Pub in Moe, 100 miles away. We persuaded a somewhat harassed Tourist Office lady to make enquires and obtain phone numbers for us but unfortunately they had not been handed in.

We then wandered down to the South Bank riverside walk and some great views of the City. After some drinks by the river we caught the free City Circle tram to the Docklands area which is a bit like Canary Wharf. After another caf? stop in the gathering heat we headed back to the hotel and an early evening meal at a local restaurant.

The others did the final bit of packing and then departed about 9.00 pm for the Airport in a Maxi Taxi we had ordered which was able to cope with the bikes. The 2 Peters return direct to the UK after a few hours stop in Singapore. Martin stops in Singapore for 3 days.

I have 2 more days in Melbourne before heading off on a circuit of eastern Victoria State taking in some of the Victoria Alps.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 10:43 PM EADT
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Friday 16 February. Packing the bikes.



remote Posted by Edwin at 10:28 PM EADT
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Friday 16 February. City views from the Yarra River path



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Thursday 15 February. Evening and City lights.

This evening we had a celebratory evening meal at the Sobital Hotel on the eastern side of Melbourne City Centre. This has a restaurant with expansive views over the City, River and Bay from 25 floors high. We were joined by Gillian a friend of Peters who was now living in Melbourne.

After the meal Gillian gave us a tour of a couple of the nearby parks with the trees full of possums which seemed quite happy to be photographed.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 10:21 PM EADT
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Thursday 15 February Evening. City and Bay from Sobital Hotel



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Thursday 15 February. Possum in the Park



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Thursday, 15 February 2007
Thursday 15 February . Melbourne. Victoria Alps ride.

Weather today was again clear blue skies and temperatures notably warmer up to 37C.

We decided to have an awayday ride to the east of Melbourne using the V.Line trains. I had looked at the maps yesterday and a place called Walberton looked ideal for a start. West Sussex CTC members will know the UK version well as a regular start for Sunday Rides.

Further examination of the map revealed the line there was disused so I settled on another line running further south and east and the town of Moe. We started by pronouncing this Moo but luckily the Hotel man put us right before we went to the Station and asked for Tickets.

There was plenty of room for 4 bikes in a special area on the 2 carriage train. The 100 mile trip to Moe took 2 hours. We had brunch in town after arrival.

Peter W took an easier shorter route to the NW of town to Blue Rock Lake. The rest of us took a NE route on a dead end road into the foothills of the Alps through the Moonarra State Park.The route was undulating climbing to 1000ft before we turned round. We approached the ride at a high speed training pace enlivened by the lack of panniers.

Early in the ride we spotted a road sign warning of Wombats crossing. Then Martin's eagle eyes spotted a live snake sunning itself at the side of the road while I rode past it in blissful ignorance. We all stopped and took pictures of it at maximum zoom from a safe distance.

After a stop at Tylers Bridge we headed back in rising temperatures and back to town where we stopped at a tavern feeling very hot and I downed 2 pints of pineapple juice in quick succession.

We rejoined Peter W at the station and returned to Melbourne.

36 miles for the day and 1830ft of climbing.

Totals for the 5 weeks was 1539 miles of riding and 31372 ft of climbing. Everything went to plan with only 4 punctures and I had none.

Tomorrow some exploring of Melbourne.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 11:21 PM EADT
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Thursday 15 February.Train through Melbourne



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