Last year, I decided I needed a challenge. I have achieved a couple of things in my life, and felt like I wanted to push the boundaries a little. I decided on a bike ride in Tasmania. I didn’t want to go through a tour operator or a bike touring company, because I am not so keen on being with a bunch of strangers. I wanted to do this solo. I googled all the info I needed and decided East Coast Tasmania would be an easier option as the North Coast is more rugged and not ideal for first time cyclists. I mapped out all the stops I would do over 9 days and proceeded to pre-book the accommodation. I am too organized to just wing it and admittedly, probably too much of control freak.
- I have hardly cycled in my life so I had better start training, it’s hilly in the Eastern suburbs, where I used to live, that would be enough to get me fit.
- I have no idea how to change a tyre, so off to the local bike shop for puncture repair training 101. I was also sold butt cream, to stop chaffing, cool, excellent (this proved to be a tube of heaven).
- I have no gear, partner loans me her bibs, this is when I was like, hang on, I have to wear what? Out in public? Seriously? Wait, I haven’t thought this through. Have you seen cycling bibs? The guys in the Tour de France can totally pull this look off, me, nah! (thank god for these as they were the best things I packed, along with the butt cream, both saved my sore bottom)
- I order my bike online, from a bike shop in Tassie, with panniers to hold my life for 9 days. I was told they would drop the bike off for me at the hotel in Launceston. Apparently the bike comes in one size, and I hoped it would ‘fit’ me. Hmmm, ok. A bit of anxiety has started to rumble in my gut.
I have planned my journey, using google maps as my guide, trying to keep within 50-60 kms a day and cycling from one town to the next. I have visions, of stopping off along the way, drinking in the azure waters and white sands, while sipping a latte or maybe a cheeky glass of wine at one of the many vineyards. I knew the first 2 days would be tough, averaging about 80kms each day, and in a remote part of the country, before arriving at the coast. Cycling inland would be hard, I felt as prepared as I could have felt.
Days are drawing closer and I am excited and a little terrified (and in denial). Most peoples reactions are, ‘you’re doing what?’, ‘have you been training’, you’re going alone, as in like alone, alone?’ ‘wow, you are crazy’… Still in denial.
Sometime in October – Day has arrived, so off I fly to Launceston, with my life for 9 days, packed into a 5 kilo bag that scrunches up into a mini bag when not in use. I am impressed at my ability to micro pack. I did throw in some mascara and concealer, there’s always room for that and hair product, uhuh!
I get to the hotel in Launceston, and I take one look at the bike and panniers, and think, hmmm, I can do this. It took me about an hour to get those panniers on my bike, I had no idea, how to clip them on to the brackets, the bike kept falling over because of the imbalance. Hot and sweaty … the reality starts to set in, oh f*%$, what have I done. I am still somewhat in denial.
Stay tuned for Part 2…