Bicycling Australia
Melbourne to Sydney
October 2001
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The Full Story

Phil and Susan have just recovered from a full on 10 days of helping run the Bicycling Australia Cycle Challenge 2001 from Melbourne to Sydney.

We say "helping", because many others played a big part in running this amazing event, and recording it on the web. The talented Wazza the wizz web writer Warren Slater has given cycling, or pumping the pedals, a complete new dimension. Read his 9 day data on the challenge and you'll see how exciting riding can be, and how the Bandidos enjoy life to the max. Thank you Wazza for not only adding colour and fun to the day, but staying up all night with your computer putting together your feelings and those of other bandits for the world to appreciate. We love your work and dedication.

The ride is over, the memories live on. The Bicycling Australia Challenge 2001 was a real hoot. All the preparation of the last 12 months had finished, the cyclists were at the Exhibition Buildings, waiting for the word. The colours of the riders and the bikes were dazzling. The characters on the challenge were contagious. The serious faces as they slogged up and down the hills, spread to laughter and frivolity as everyone joined in to share the excitement.

The manic mechanic.
Pushing the accelerator, not the pedal of the magnificent BMW X5 4WD machine. Whenever a bike broke down, or a tyre blew up or a wheel blew out Greg was there. He worked hard, cruising the route, waiting for any strays to wander from the pack. Like a blue heeler, he was on their heels, and soon had them rejoin the fray.
Thanks Griffo.

The big truck driver.
A character of enormous popularity. His wit and wonderful sense of humour kept everyone amused as we loaded and unloaded bags for the umpteenth time.
Thanks Bear for your constant comfort.

The forerunner.
Without this guy, we would be lost. Frank steered us to Sydney, driving ahead, signing every turn, cautioning cars of cyclists, and calming the riders as they continuously found new forks to fathom.
Thanks Frank.

The bus.
The wag in the sag kept everyone amused, while collecting signs and picking up the odd straggler and bike that didn't or couldn't combat the entire journey.
Thanks Bram.

The cosy masseuse.
Tired legs and bodies fell on her table, and sprang to life as she rubbed and kneaded them back to health.
Thanks Kuszanne.

When you run out of water or want a sugar lift, you look for Sue. She was there, ever patient, ever smiling, every time, and sending you further into the unknown.
Thanks Sue.

Masseuse twoose
Bodies ached before, and after, but with a sense of satisfaction after Lisa had tenderly cared for those aching bodies.
Thanks for coming for those two days Lisa.

Supporter of riders in need and one special rider indeed.
Thanks Fiona.

Frank H
Full of fire and toil, always there to share and care and reduce the wear. At 86 years old a man to admire.
Well done and thanks Frank.

Stuart & Kerith
Putting up with terrible hardship in the Boxter! Looking after their Bandidos and our riders too when needed, thank you both.

Day 2 135 km Yea to Benalla
Phil & Susan returned to find the early birds had hit the road, and powered to no morning tea, too early guys, then some bypassed lunch. (Someone had fun changing Franks directional signs).
Lunch saw bodies being massaged in the main street while some got lost after practical joke of locals changing signage. The three motels were appreciated and the nearby Royal looked after our craving appetites.

Day 3 75 km Benalla to Beechworth
Glenrowan was alive again as 100 cyclists donned Ned Kelly masks and rode into town with bananas in their holsters and chocolate bullets for ammunition.
Hills gave way to flat vineyards, and the Everton Pub was last stop, before climbing 18 km along the new rail trail to Beechworth. Lunch at the famous bakery went down well.
La Trobe Uni taught us that good accommodation and food is always on top of the highest hill in town.

Day 4 145 km Beechworth to Corryong
They were off not long after dawn attacking the hills and dales with gusto. The gold mining area flattened out to Hume Weir towns bordering the blue waters. A big climb to lunch at the Koetong Pub and a taste of Marilyn's delightful home cooking, the lumberjack cake was enjoyed by many. The attitude and enthusiasm of the riders was staggering after punishing themselves climbing the hills, but after Koetong they flew down the mountain side ready to attack the hills once more.
Corryong accommodation was certainly diverse.

Day 5 105 km Corryong to Thredbo - A Challenge
The day that everyone had been talking about. How big are those hills, how accurate is the profile map, have I got enough gears? It went till lunch, everyone way ahead of time. The lunch break filled the spot, near the vertical hills. Cyclists certainly struggled, some walked, but they got there. The determination in talking themselves to Dead Horse Gap, and down to Thredbo village was inspiring, with cyclists finishing the days ride from 2pm to 6pm.
An excellent days ride. You deserve the hot bath and warm bed that the Thredbo Alpine Hotel had to offer.

Day 6 215 km Thredbo to Canberra - The Challenge
The dedication and determination of the cyclists, especially on departing Thredbo was amazing. Breakfast at 5.30am, rain and sleet falling outside, but not one cyclist considered backing off. They were out at 6am flying down the mountainside sun filtering through the water spray as it chased their huddled up bodies.
Morning tea and cyclists became reunited with their fingers. Toes felt like dropping off as they walked around, loosened up, got the circulation flowing, wrung out wet socks, and got rolling to Cooma for delicious non greasy gourmet hamburgers, then filled up and filed out. It was a big day, 110 km still to go. The stop at Bredbo, the bandits and others looked shot, but don't believe what you see. David Soloman unfortunately struck a bump, and over the handlebars he went, Stuart in the Porsche to the rescue. Badly damaged shoulder, but he was there at Rosehill to welcome us in. Canberra was welcome, rain or not, a fantastic effort by all completing the two Challenges, to Thredbo then Canberra.
What a ride, Power of the Mind.

Day 7 165 km Canberra to Bundanoon
The unbelievable enthusiasm of riders at 7am rearing to visit Parliament House was astounding. Little Johnny didn't greet us, however we managed to make our presence felt with a mass ride through Canberra before heading over steep little pinches to Bungendore. Conversation was rife as we headed to Goulburn, a country town with Chinese fare.
Greg Thompson fell heavily, ending up on the Hume Highway badly shaken cut and sore, otherwise unhurt. Bundanoon was in sight, the gums dancing in the paddocks to our rhythm.

Day 8 125 km Bundanoon to Clifton
Lush countryside eventually opened up to views of the Pacific Ocean. At the Robertson Pie Shop the bus was waiting for cyclists to board, those obeying police instructions that Macquarie Pass was no place for cyclists. Regrouping at McDonald Park relaxed everyone, before riders disappeared cycling the beach trail to their place of rest. A bus ride brought everyone together, for an impromptu night led by Shiralee with lots of gifts, bagging, roasting and good humour, recitals and songs. A most memorable night.

Day 9 70 km Clifton to Rosehill
The last day was a rush, with cut off times important as we cycled the base of magnificent giant stone walls, towering, hundreds of metres above us and the sea. The climb to the cliff and the views were spectacular, with further climbing to level out for a tea break. The convoy to Rosehill was a colourful parade with our entry into the BA Show swamped by crowds of people as we rode through the entrance.
Congratulations to all riders. We are so proud of everyone's attitude, their determination, their ability, their positive direction and their never say die mentality.
Thanks also to the team who worked as a team, supporting each other, and looking after our main interest - you the cyclist.

Push hard, push long…

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