Distance travelled – 58.4 km
Avg speed – 15.3 kph
Max speed – 33.1 kph
Lake Grace to Newdegate
Today we began our apprenticeship into riding long sections of straight road in preparation for crossing the southern hemisphere’s and the Nullarbor’s longest (146.6km) straight road, as the Lake Grace to Newdegate road has no bends for 52km.
So as we went to bed last night we imagined getting up at a decent hour packing the bikes, setting the cruise control and settling back with one hand on the wheel (a coffee in the other), as we casually made the short hop to Newdegate. It was not to be. We awoke to a blowing gale, which increased in strength as the day progressed. The only plus was that it was blowing from the northeast and not the east, which would have been a full on head wind.
The country we passed through was very undulating through a mix of maturing grain, grazing sheep and small nature reserves. The nature reserves hosted a large variety of wild flowers and at one spot we counted more than 12 different types in a small area of approximately 2 metres x 2 metres.
We took a longer than normal lunch and by the time we resumed riding, the side wind that had been with us since this morning had increased in strength making it difficult to maintain a straight line. A number of times we unexpectedly found ourselves on the centre line, a rather nervous predicament given that cars were sharing the road with us. Luckily there were not that many. At least we could still maintain a reasonable speed.
Amusingly at one point Denise rode past me as I had stopped for what we call a sit down rest. She claimed she had her head down and was concentrating on staying upright. At the time I did not find it that amusing as I had to catch her up. By the time I had repacked the bike she was nearly 1 km in front and the undulating country combined with the wind did not make it an easy task.
As much as we complain about the wind, we witnessed an example today of how difficult it is to complete this journey around Australia on a bicycle. This morning we met Arnold who is riding his recumbent tricycle and Bob trailer from Perth to Sydney. He had arrived in Lake Grace by a different route to us but was experiencing the same strong winds. He set off to Newdegate a couple of hours ahead of us but when we met him again outside Newdegate’s general store, he was loading his rig onto the semi trailer that had just made a delivery to the store. The wind had beaten him. He told us that at times today he had only been able to manage 3kph (slower than walking) up some of the hills and he was taking a lift to Ravensthorpe where he would reassess his options. We hate to take heart from someone else’s difficulties but despite our difficulties it did give us a little boost and more confidence in our own capabilities. This was strengthened later in the evening when Denise discovered she could touch her toes. This is something that prior to the trip she had never been able to do. So riding a bicycle around Australia has increased her flexibility. I wonder what benefits will come from this?
Thunderstorms are forecast for tonight and one is clearly visible on the horizon.
Zoom into the map and use the 'Satellite' layer
to see our new location.
Flowers in South Buniche Nature Reserve, Lake Grace to Newdegate Rd
Lone tree in a wheat field
Dust being blown through Newdegate before an incoming thunderstorm.