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Day 1 Footbiking the Great Vic Ride

January 6, 2010 1 Comment

Well, wasn’t last night interesting! Woke at 1.40am to hear a man yelling out: “(expletive) shut up so we can get some sleep!”  It was then that I noticed the snoring. About 5 minutes later we heard someone kicking the wall of a tent, alot more swearing and then a loud conversation about sleeping bags wet from the rain. And then finally, the conversation shifted to this particular gent’s sexual exploits for the next half hour with a girl he met at the Spokes Bar (Great Vic Ride mobile bar)…

Would morning never come???

Yay! 5am and we’re up. Did a quick race to the toilets before the crowds gathered.

Started getting things together and packing my Reservoir Dog (backpack) for the ride…

Kickbike? Check (not in the backpack of course!)
Sunnies? Check
Gloves? Check
She Shell rain jacket? Check
Water? Check
Spare tubes? Check
Hand pump? Check
Dates? Check
Mobile phone? Check
Ride guide? Check
Bike lock? Check
Sister-in-law? Check (LOL)

Suncream? Forgot to check! Damn… that became a habit which I paid the price for later…

As we were staying in this campsite for two nights, there was no need to dismantle the tent or pack our bags… yipee!

53km bike ride today from Portland out to Cape Bridgewater and back to Portland.

Deb on the Great Vic RideAs we rode through the Start Banner a Police Officer yelled out, “You’ll have one leg shorter than the other by this afternoon!” I laughed and waved.

200m from the start, Linda encountered a problem us Kickbikers don’t have – her chain came off. We pulled over and threaded it back on the chain wheel, wiped the grease off my hands onto the grass, and took off again.

It rained a short way out from Portland… and this rain was not like our Brisbane rain – where it was a pleasure to ride in – this was freezing!!! We passed a bunch of cyclists all huddled under an overpass trying to get out of the rain as it started to hammer down…

No room for this little kickbiker and her sidekick (Linda, my sister-in-law) under the overpass, so we kept riding and stopped under some trees so we could get our She Shells out to combat the rain… and we were off again.

We were doing a good speed by this stage. We had started out slow for the first few k’s to warm up – 16 to 17km per hour and were now sitting up around the 23km per hour mark when we came into the Lunch stop.

Yumbo – crusty roll with cottage cheese, avocado, lettuce and tomato, an apple, a choc-chip cookie (which I donated to Linda as well as the crackers and cheese).

The only problem was, I was freezing. The wind was blowing and the rain kept falling. I huddled in beside Linda trying to get some warmth. Linda is used to riding in these conditions and had worn leggings for the ride while I was in shorts. When my lips started to turn blue we decided it was time to get going again.

Phew! Warmth again as we hit some hills.

On one hill a man on a bicycle pulled up beside me.

“How old are you?” he asked.

This is interesting, I thought.

“How old am I?” I repeated.

Linda, who was cycling behind me was about to reprimand him – ‘don’t you know it’s rude to ask a lady her age!’

“Are you young and adventurous or old and silly?” he enquired.

Oh, now I got the context – this was an enquiry about an adult riding a ‘scooter’.

“Oh, definitely old” I assured him.

“What’s your name?” he asked.


“Deb what?”

Pause… Don’t tell me the Great Vic Ride is actually a Night Club on wheels and I’m getting picked up on my first day of riding???

He must have sensed my disapproval…

“I’m John – I’m the media guy for the bike ride.”

“Oh! Ok! I’m Deb Stewart.”  LOL

“If the media contacted you would you be happy to speak with them about your bike?” he asked.

“Certainly!” The more people who know about footbiking and kickbiking and scootering… the better.

The day got steadily colder as the rain fell harder and as we turned back towards camp (the ride was a loop) I soon discovered why we’d been doing such good speed on the way out – we got blasted with a headwind home. Once again, my She Shell saved me.

A cyclist asked, “You’re not seriously going all the way on that are you?”


“The whole 50kms?!”

“I’m doing the whole 550kms on it.” I told him

“You’re doing the whole ride on that thing?”

“Well unless I’m abducted by aliens or eaten by a rogue kangaroo, I plan to.” I assured him.

“Geeze – that’s gutsy!”

When we got back I was so relieved to get into some warm clothes. I donned a Thermal Top – a Hot Toddie… yup, you guessed it – from Ground Effect! Why do I love those guys so much? Sports jumper, jeans… and finally warmth!

By this stage we were starving and dinner provided by the ride wasn’t until 5pm… so Linda and I decided to walk into town for a snack. We stored my kickbike in the tent, figuring if any bike was to draw attention and be nicked, out of the 5,000 on-site it would probably be my baby! A small luggage lock came in handy for securing the tent zipper.

As our sandshoes were sopping wet from the ride, and mine were also muddy from kicking, Linda and I donned our thongs and walked into town. Hmmm! Why did I send that second pair of sandshoes home with Eddie? Within ten minutes of walking in thongs a blister on the webbing between my big toe and 2nd toe grew and popped. Ouch!

My grumbling was soon drowned out by another grumble – my stomach. And then in the distance I could see the answer to all my cares… A haven for any starving vegetarian… Subways!!! And across the road – Brumbies for Linda (she’s very partial to a vegimite roll).

We sat on a bus seat, Linda with her roll and me with my foot-long Vegie Delight Subway.

On the way back to camp we visited a shop and I witnessed a strange phenomenon – Linda has a fossicking, gathering and storing behaviour… sort of like a Chipmunk! She bought two bags of fruit and nut (although she already had a bag of Trail Mix in the tent) and was about to buy a huge bag of lollies as well until I talked her out of it. (Those two bags – 500g each – she carried the entire way of the ride and never ate, and continued to gather and store more snacky stuff along the way… Linda the Chipmunk!)

It started raining again and we did a bolt through town back to the campsite – mud flicking up over our clothes…

And it kept raining… We sat in our tent while I administered First Aid to my blister – now red raw. Fortunately, I had packed 40,000 bandaids ready for the good old ankle whack that I’m such an expert at when kickbiking! I think the scar tissue is large enough to warrant it’s own ID!

Dinner came… and we did another bolt through our campsite across a road to the other campsite where dinner was set up… past all of those clever people who packed their umbrellas…

Dinner which we scoffed down, standing under a huge marquee, squeezed between tables and chairs filled with diners… was delicious. It was some sort of vegetable pattie thingy with mushroom sauce and potato salad. Linda also scored a Chocolate Mousse which she ate slowly with relish, waving her spoon in ecstasy. The Great Vic Ride organisers certainly know how to put on a good spread.

We raced back to camp, covered in mud, and cleaned off as best as we could. We huddled in our sleeping bags, deciding not to bother with showers tonight as the rain poured down – we’d be covered in mud again by the time we made it back to our tent.

An Elvis Presley entertainer kept the masses cheering until 10pm that night – and as it was near impossible to hear each other over the din, Linda and I slowly drifted off to sleep…

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  1. Karen Toll says:

    Oh, what an adventure; a muddy, noisy, blistery adventure!
    Keep them coming.

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