A Breath of Fresh Eyre

Eastern and Lower Eyre Peninsula South Australia

2019 Bicycle SA Annual Tour

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Hello, my name is Caroline and this is my 78 year old dad. We call him The Old Fella.

Dad inherited a group of hereditary disorders that damaged the nerves in his arms and legs (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder). By definition: muscle weakness, decreased muscle size, decreased sensation, hammer toes and high arches are symptoms. This cannot be cured, however, the main treatments are physiotherapy and occupational therapy. My eldest brother (who also has this disorder) took up bike riding in his early adult years (due to difficulty walking) and recommended that dad do the same. He has never looked back.

Early this year I suggested to dad that we do another touring bike ride together. He replied with “What? Do you think I’m going to die or something!?” “Hmmmm, well something like that…” Dad and I participated in 3 Bicycle Queensland Tours when we first took up bike riding. We did it on our mountain bikes. Strong we became! Professional campers was our title! We have also ridden 2 Westpac Helicopter Rescue MTB Tours and many a trail and road together. Riding with my dad and my brother is such a special gift. We have explored so many places together. This leads us to today.

We had to drive to SA as you cannot travel by plane with an e-bike. 2,200km of stunning landscape, worn and torn and loads of talking and laugher. Okay fine, one fight… I’ve never been this far south. Our first overnight stay in Moree with my cousins and Aunt was a beautiful start to our adventure. Salt bush, goats, emus, lizards, roo’s, cacti, red dirt, sand, bloody fly’s, Mallees for miles! Where’s the Servo dad we need a top up!

We were greeted in Cowell by the town Silo. Isn’t it a beauty? It was the first of many to be admired. We were shown to Tent 4 (okay so we went soft this time around) and this became our home for the rest of the tour. ZIP!! Thank you Ranald, Bill, Ailsa, Lodi, Norm, Ann, Liz, Peter, Sonja, Margaret, John, Elaine and Gwen for providing us with a freshly pitched tent each evening. It took two nights to realise that there were 2 air holes in the mattress that needed tightening, not just one…DOH. I also learn’t that Queenslanders are never prepared enough for SA temperatures. Bloody hell I nearly froze to death! DAD! Stop snoring! Meet Rory: our Tour Barista. He da man. Cheers Norm, Steve, Ingrid, Chris, Deb, Mike, Sue, Glenn, Lynda and Ian for getting our bags off and onto the truck.

Off to Cleve! I had to ditch my car pedal legs and find my cycling legs…

Hello Sunshine!

We were very fortunate to pitch our tents on the Cleve Area School Oval and use their indoor Basketball Court as our dining area. We rode into town just before a big pour down. The area is desperate for water so I didn’t complain, I embraced the opportunity to make new friends and eat local baked cakes and drink tea. Later on, I took myself out for a 20km arvo tootle only to be rudely inturrupted by a freezing cold downpour and a peeping sheep! You gotta laugh! Thank you Cleve and your wonderful community for providing us with a hearty meal and warm hospitality.

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On the road again! Just can’t wait to get back on the road again!

Hello Lock! Wheat Field Dreaming.

The ride that broke dads bum… thank you Lindsey for helping him out with a new saddle. And thank your for fixing my cleat. You saved my perfectly fall-free reputation! I had no idea that red mud was going to create such a sticky situation. Today dad met another Keith. Apparently it caused Bike SA some confusion as both Keiths had e-bikes. Thats them, sitting together, having a chin wag and stirring up trouble. Did I mention the word ‘snack’? I am so use to packing my own snacks I loaded up my fav Womble jersey pockets to the brim with enough snacks to feed a horse, little did I know that the vollies had morning tea and lunch sorted with sufficient snacks to feed an army! Including my mate K1! Thank you Georgy and Judy! You got me at ‘Fruit Cake’…

We rode into Lock whereby the school kids greeted us at the school gate on their bicycles. Together we rode with them from the school and into the sports ground where we did a hot lap before stopping to spend the afternoon decorating their bikes along with their school teachers and mums. It was so much fun. Especially watching their PE Teacher ride on the back of the Tandem! The kids thought it was hilarious! We spent all afternoon with them. It’s a small town and not much in the way of shops. I met and chatted to one of the mums. She has to truck in food (ordered on-line) as there isn’t a major shop. She is a real go-getter. She and her husband are Wheat and Sheep Farmers and live out of town. She has a beauty salon set up as well, as she loves doing hair and makeup. The community is so small and she said it’s dieing. They lost their last crop so had to make it into hay. Bicycle? NO! She has a Palomino horse! She works hard to do things to keep the school kids busy as they come in town from farms by bus. It’s a whole different world here. The community cooked and served dinner. It’s a real eye opener. So much love for this tiny town! Thank you Lock! Luckily I am not a vegetarian!

Hello Cummins!

Turning our handlebars to the South.

What a fancy little town! Covered in sweeping vistas of Canola, Wheat and Barley crops. Dad and I poked around in the Op Shop and admired the flora as we watched the kids walk down the street to their homes. We enjoyed a beer and LL&B in the Pub before we were served another wonderful meal by the community in the Town Hall. Early to bed! A big 130km ride tomorrow!

I woke up and kissed dad goodbye as we went our seperate ways. Catchya later old fella!

Cummins to Tumby Bay; Port Lincoln then to Coffin Bay. Oh what a day in the SA Eyre Peninsular! 130km of magical countryside with blue sky’s and fluffy clouds. It’s so green it’s blinding! Bubbling brooks and pure blue and aqua ocean water. Seagulls, geese, emus, magpies, sheep, cattle, swans, dogs, bee’s, alpacas, pelicans, kangaroos, wallabies and a random duck. Two long steep descents and entirely with a tail wind! I made a new friend, Judy. We rode in sync so it was perfect. Together we looked at all the beauties of Mother Nature, laughed, exchanged stories, and looked out for each other (which was particularly important on the Lindsay Highway which carried more road trains than Uber Eats Mopeds in Brisbane). I rode through swollen swarming bees…and survived! We even had our own personal Magpie Alert Swooper. Cheers Gary! Bloody legend! What a day, what an adventure! What a fabulous bunch of volunteers to meet us for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Cheers again Georgy and Judy, and to Judy who pointed out the Swans on Little Swamp. Gorgeous!

Fish and Chips for dinner. Dad was pretty excited about that! I can’t remember hitting the pillow…

ZIP!! Yippee! It’s rest day! I was awakened by the smell of Freshia’s and a mysterious Emu (on my way to the loo) who took flight as soon as our eyes connected. Have I gone to bed and woken up in heaven? What a magical day at Coffin Bay. After a walk along the foreshore, meeting the local pelicans, then breakfast, Dad and I hopped onto the Coach which took us on a guided tour through the National Park out to Point Avoid and Almonta Beach. WOW. I stood on the beach and admired the deep blue waters of the wild Southern ocean. Is this Paradise? DAD! Wave at me!

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What a glorious day to rejuvenate and take time out to appreciate lunch by the bay with dad and friends and enjoy freshly shucked oysters and Seafood Chowder served in a Cob Loaf. Okay, fineeeeee dad, you can share my bread with me…I mean, you did do my washing when I was OUT RIDING! Off to Hazeline for a massage before dinner. Thank you for fixing my lower back! That evening we dined at the Surf  Club, the meal was provided by the local restaurant. What a treat! The following morning, resident tent snorers woke me in the early hours so I took the opportunity to walk the Oyster Trail. Just me and the local Wallaby’s and Pelicans.

Oyster Bay…you are everything I dreamed of…and more! Thank you I’ll be back!

Goodbye Coffin Bay and Rory…Hello Port Lincoln!

I have coffee withdrawals already…

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I missed the yellow school bus so had to ride to Port Lincoln, enjoying a bit of time to myself until morning tea. It’s scary what stuff goes on in my head when I’m alone on my bike. Hahaaaa! I met a paddock full of Alpacas. They are inquisitive fellas. Then along came dad…boost mode of course. That hill I blasted down the other day (the one that I rode through a bee swam) suddenly became the up. Dad decided to turn on the jets…bye dad. UP, UP, UP. But OMG the down was worth it! A great big long sweeping road (car free so I took it) straight into the heart of the Port. Hope the brakes work! I thought…I’d better not fall off my bike here, I’ve got my retirement to think of. I mean, my family ;). The ladies at the original town RSL had prepared the hall (with new dining equipment) and greeted us with hummus, sweet potato, cranberry, seed and mint dip as we sat down then served up home baked pasties and sausage rolls with salads and fruit. Shhhhh don’t tell anyone. I thought I was at a party. The people of each town we rode through always greeted us with smiles. It’s so refreshing. They thought it was hilarious we preferred to ride our bikes, rather than drive cars.

The camping has been fun so far, but bloody freezing. I have never had to wear two jumpers to bed before. I’m forever repacking my bag. Where’s my bloody torch?!?! I think I finally got a system. The snoring is killing me. But I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I’ve met some pretty cool people on varying machines. A few tandems, mtb and gravel, mostly road. Our mechanic is a unicycle man. And I may have broken his pump. Last riding day today. We are off to the National Park. I’m so excited…wake up old fella!!

Lincoln National Park you are gorgeous! What a fabulous ride. We followed the pipe line, with undulating roads and views to die for. I dipped my toes into the ocean and sipped coffee with dad on the beach. I watched three large emu’s cross the road right in front of dad as he exited the park. What a cracker of an ending to the tour!

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Party Time and Farewells

That Sailor looks suss…better give him a bottle of wine…

Well dad, we did it. 610km of bike riding, 2,700km of driving and sight-seeing and making a whole new family together on the Eyre Peninsular. To all the riders who made PB’s and ticked off goals…you are amazing! Thank you Bike SA for allowing this opportunity. Especially to Russell who pulled us all in line and made the magic happen…you know what they say about cyclists…it’s like herding cats! You are the most composed man I have ever met! It was wonderful to meet you Grasshopper! To Maureen, I thank you for my extra 5kg gains hahaaaaa! To Nigel, Samantha and Skye, without your little red arrows I’d still be out riding in the bush! To Lesley and Jeanne you sure know how to put on a good lunch! Paul, Frank, Ray…did I miss anyone? Oh yes, of course…Ralphie. I LOVE YOU!

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