For the ANZAC day long weekend, I decided to ride my motorbike down to Melbourne. Why, I hear you ask? To see how hard it it would be, I reply. My partner woke me up at 5am on the Saturday because he was flying down there. He didn’t want to sit on the back of a bike for that long – fair enough, I say. For me it was about the journey and not the destination. I have more fun with corners on my own anyway. So I got up at 5, this was after staying out till 1am the previous night singing karaoke with my boss on her final day at work and after an injury on Thursday which made me think I wouldn’t be able to ride to Melbourne. Oh and I had developed a mild cold.
Melbourne is nearly 900km from Sydney
I thought, “fuck it, let’s see how far I can get, I don’t have to get to Melbourne”. So by 7am I had packed my camping gear, food, clothing and winter riding gear and was on the road. My first stop was in Menangle.
I was freezing by this point and really needed to go to the toilet and I was only 40 minutes into my trip. I stopped at a rest stop and was very glad I had packed my winter gear. I pulled out the winter gear, lined my jacket and put on my thick riding gloves. Then back on the road.
With the camping gear on the back, I had to be more delicate with the way I got on my bike, I had to step on the foot rest, balance my weight and get my right leg over the luggage. I was concerned it would fall over while my leg was halfway over but it never did. Getting off was the same process but in reverse. Curbs and flat roads were my friends for this trip.
I was still getting cold from the airflow coming up from under my helmet, I didn’t have a scarf, there was much sadness until I thought I could use my spare shirt as a scarf. Genius. The only problem that was plaguing me now was an insistently runny nose. Let me tell you, you do not want to sneeze inside a helmet with the visor down. Not a pretty sight. I did not have any way to blow my nose either. The only thing I could think to use was to wipe my nose with my glove. Gross.
I ducked into a maccas along the way for breakfast, I believe now that Maccas and fuel stops are the main source of work along highways. I swear I saw a maccas every 50km and a few times I saw two facing each other off, one for each direction of traffic.
My first fuel stop was in Yass around 11 am, just north of Canberra. Yass is a quant thriving highway town, I browsed a few shops and had a coffee. I thought I was making great time and I thought I’d be in Melbourne by 6pm.
The next leg of the trip was challenging, when I was a 100km away from Albury my left hip started to cramp up around 1:30. I pulled over, walked around a bit and it seemed to go away. Got back on the bike and I thought it was ok but it started to cramp back up in 10 minutes. I tried not to move it at all but I think that made it worse. I was thinking I wouldn’t make it to Melbourne, I was thinking I should just get to Albury and find a camping spot there. I think the last 100km to Albury was the most challenging part of the Journey.
I arrived in Albury around 3:30 and I had to fill up again, as I got off and walked around, I thought, “I’ve made it this far, Melbourne is only a few extra hours away”. My new eta in Melbourne was 8pm. I had a new strategy for the cramped hip, lots of movement. I was standing on the bike, doing bike squats and bike squat butterflies. A bike squat butterfly is where you raise your bum off the bike seat a little and move your legs out and in quickly. I don’t know what else to call them. I filled up fuel again in Seymour around 6pm and actually arrived in Melbourne by 7:30 pm but it took me 20 minutes to get through the CBD to chinatown where I was meeting my partner and a friend.
Turns out, I had parked my bike almost directly outside my partners hotel room without even knowing where he was staying. We hadn’t coordinated this and it was great how it just happened. We had Yumcha and I was exhausted. It took me the better part of 12.5 hours but I had done it, I had ridden to Melbourne in a day.