Adelaide to Port Wakefield
Up = 329m - Down = 356m - Highest Point = 76m
ADELAIDE TO PORT WAKEFIELD - 17th August 2017.
63.5 kms biked - 37 kms in car!
The first day of any long bike ride, for me anyway, is very exciting but also a bit of a nerve-wracking time. Not quite so when I have done rides on my own as it is only me I am responsible for. I can start my day, finish my day, have my snack breaks, meal breaks, alter and change routes as I progress along. I probably would take on busier routes too when biking solo – but with other riders I feel an extra responsibility so will often opt to take a “safer” route – if there is such a thing in cycling! In cities, getting through traffic lights etc is easier when just one person, with more it can take heaps of time etc. With more people / riders involved it brings many other thoughts into the equation. Therefore, I found there was a lot more planning to be done for this trip. When riding on my own, if I make a bad decision in the planning – it only affects me. When the group is larger - everyone is affected!
So for today, I had posted on an Adelaide Cycling board to see if there was anyone who would be prepared to “ride us out” say the first 20 kms til we were on the edge of the city. I have found following bike paths in several cities in all the countries I have ridden not that easy to follow. Local knowledge is required to link them altogether. I know the ones in Brisbane certainly do!! So Andrew Prior and Richard Spurling offered to accompany us. It seemed an incredible co-incidence that Richard happens to work for Adelaide Library Services – whose director is the Chair of the charity we are fund-raising for – the Indigenous Literacy Foundation!!
I had established the set-off time as 9:00 am from the John McDouall Stuart Statue in Victoria Square. I figured all but 300 kms of this ride would be on the Stuart Highway so it was therefore a fitting start point. With departure photo’s duly taken – we played follow the leader – who was Andrew! Between him and Richard they had worked out a way through the city on bike paths and quiet streets. We saw some lovely spots, and it was interesting to hear about buildings etc from “locals”. We passed the new Adelaide Hospital which sounds like it has been a controversial project – but soon to be “moved” into. Some pretty parks, an old gaol, past a bacon factory that had smells to die for!! I have to admit there were times I thought we were going around in circles! Commentary on inner city suburbs, new estates, state housing estates, bikie gang headquarters, industrial areas, past a bread factory with more good smells, and eventually we were out into the rural cropping area.
The weather wasn’t being too kind to us, with driving head winds and some showers of rain. Travelling up Old Port Wakefield Road we had to ride about 100 metres through flooded roadway – the first time I have had to do that!! Very wet socks and shoes for the rest of the day after that! Eventually we reached the bakery at Two Wells – 50 kms covered – 50 to go to our destination at Port Wakefield. The entire crew were here as this was our first meet up point of the day – Pat, Des, Barry and Bette!
What great food at Two Wells Bakery! We warmed up with coffee, lamb shank pies (extra yummy) and cakes – and then farewelled our fellow riders who were returning to their homes in Adelaide. Thanks so much guys - such a great help to us! Hope you enjoyed the strong tailwinds on your journey back home! Looking at the photo's of us all in Two Wells it looks fine and sunny, and there were shadows! You can't see the howling winds that were blowing, the cold temperature and the sudden showers that would blast through.
As we set off for Port Wakefield - the weather was in a serious state of decline for cycling. The westerly wind was getting stronger by the minute and the showers of rain became more frequent and quite heavy. The road soon became very wet. It was a reasonably busy road with many trucks and we would get coated in spray from the road as each one passed. Riding became pretty dangerous. The wind would buffet us around on the road and sometimes force us to over-correct with often not too good a consequence – but luckily for us, not into the path of a vehicle! The rain was driving straight into us and our glasses became very hard to see through! A check of the weather showed winds of 40 to 50 kph with gusts up to 85 kph. No wonder we were battling!
Our average speed had also dropped incredibly with the strong winds. The road was basically flat, yet we were down around 10 kms per hour - and that was really hard work!! At this rate - it would be dark by the time we made it to camp. As a result a call had to be made – and while I consult the others, it was ultimately for me to decide. My call was that we pack up and head into Port Wakefield Camp by car. 37 kms short for the day. While this was such a disappointing thing to do – it was the right thing to do. It doesn’t happen very often – but when you have a schedule to keep – something has to give!! It was also the first day of 32 – I didn’t want us to wreck ourselves physically today so we would be unable to enjoy the riding days ahead. So a sad way to end the riding on the first day – but that can’t be changed – tomorrow is another day – so onward from here - look forward not backward!!
Camp was set up and we enjoyed hot showers to warm us back up - it was so nice of Liz to have made me a birthday cake that was sitting outside our campervan on my return from the shower along with a bag of energy food - Freddo's. We all moved out of the wind and rain into the cabin Annie had taken where Happy Birthday was sung and I managed to blow out all the candles!! That was a lovely finish to the day!!!
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