One thing we love about being on the bike is spending time on the back roads in the towns tourists never stop at, eating lunch by overlooked spots of tranquility. Heading towards the Great Ocean Road was a chance to enjoy some quieter riding.
Riding quiet roads has also meant finding some lovely little camping spots. While we do enjoy the cycling, we joyfully anticipate setting up camp at the end of the day. Not really knowing where we will sleep each night, I know gives Kat some emotional discomfort, but when we find somewhere, unload our bags, face the tent to the best view and put a brew on we both get a little buzz. Once we have cooked – rain or shine, caravan park, secluded river bank or behind a public toilet – we get inside our tent, zip it up, and it’s home.
Deciding not to go to Melbourne as we find cycling in and out of cities rather stressful, we followed the coast and had the luxury of a couple of short ferry rides. It was a nice little break from the weather.
I was very excited to get to Bells Beach. I had been here once before but it was flat as a pancake – today it was working beautifully. A couple of Point Break quotes later we started on the hills.
Before we could adventure along the Great Ocean Road, we were forced to have a little break in Anglesea while Hooch had yet another wheel built. My old boss, Douglas, came to the rescue sending us the bits we needed from Sydney. Meanwhile we made the best of our time off chasing kangaroos.
As well as meeting the local wildlife, we meet some lovely, helpful folk on the camp site. Jess who worked at the campsite couldn’t do enough for us. She put us in touch with a cycle mechanic, took our wheel to the nearest town and even dropped the fixed wheel back to us on her day off. Thanks for getting us back on the road again! If you visit Anglesea – stay at the friendly Big 4 campground.
A few days off gave us time to face another little niggle. Back in New Zealand, you may recall that we had a slight misunderstanding with a rail track. While I had rolled unharmed across the road, Kat had hurt her knee. After a few days off, we were back on the road and Kat was soon cycling at full steam again. It wasn’t until Sydney that Kat admitted that although she could cycle, she found it very painful to put pressure on her knee and to touch it, it felt different from the other one. Kat again played it down because she was worried if she saw a doctor she may find out that she had something seriously wrong with it. I of course wanted to believe there was nothing wrong – I had been the cause of the injury.
Anyway, we finally decided that it was better to know. I had kept concerns about the bike a secret and Kat had kept her knee to herself. The bike had now broken (as I thought it might) and we ignoring Kat’s knee could result in the same outcome. Judgement came quickly. As soon as we mentioned the problem to Jess we were driven to the doctor who saw us straight away.
The doctor, who stripped Kat down and bent her legs in all directions, made a few comments like ‘that feels a bit funny’ and ‘can you feel that creaking’ – our hearts both sinking. She then got a piece of paper and wrote down the diagnosis. ‘You have significant periosteal haematoma of the right patella’ – that doesn’t sound good. ‘It means you have severe bone bruising of the knee cap. In fact you may have fractured your knee cap, but as you did this 2 months ago it will have already have mostly healed. I would have recommended rest, ice and an X-ray, but it’s a bit late for that, you are over the worst of it’.
Strange to say that a possible fractured knee cap was a relief – the mission home was still on. I had mixed feelings about how Kat pedaled on in pain, not bothering me with her worries. How did Kat manage to keep it quiet? All I can say is that my wife is one tough cookie!
After the mountains of New Zealand, the Great Ocean Road was a challenge that we relished – it proved to be a great ride, bike fixed and knee healing.
So now we head for Adelaide. We are learning that there is no point in worrying about the bike when it is beyond our control, to share our fears and concerns with each other is a must and to remember we are part of a bigger team, we all have our roles. Our job – to keep on pedaling. The role of multitude of strangers – to be bike fixers, feeders, hosts, friendly faces. Friends and family, your role….. to share the journey and to remind us why we are doing this!