Sunday, December 30, 2007

DAY 82: Day 3 off in Melbourne

62km at casual pace
Weds 26th December 2007
Distance to date 5243 km (3277 miles)
Very warm and sunny

I was up last again - nearly 8 - but I seem to be sleeping so well here; I think I must have slept an average of 10 hours a night for the last 3 nights.
After breakfast I got the bike out onto the front path in the shade, and set about changing the Rohloff hub oil for the first time. It’s not a complicated process but I always worry a little about something going wrong - and indeed I duly had a moment of panic when I though that I didn’t have the essential bit of tubing purpose-built for the job - but I was relieved to find it in a place I’d put it months ago for ‘safe keeping’. This tubing screws at one end into the hub and it’s used for drawing out the old oil by vacuum after addition of cleaning fluid. It took about an hour but appears to have been successfully carried out, and that should be good for another 5000 k m, or until I reach Cairns or thereabouts. I will have to get another oil change kit from the supplier here; the main Rohloff dealer is based in Brisbane, so I may be able to collect it there in February. I will also probably need to order new sprockets as they are unlikely to last all the way round Oz or 19,000 km or so.
I also gave the bike a good clean and visual check, then headed off the 20km into the city the direct way, along fairly busy roads. Drivers here in the city seem more aware of cyclists though - probably because there are a lot of us around. I ambled around the quieter city roads a little but soon finished up at Mecca - the food court on the Yarra embankment opposite Flinders Street Station. Lyn and I had trouble choosing what to have when we were in here last year as there are so many different types of food to choose from. There are around 20 food stalls selling Indian, Japanese, Italian, etc. Etc. I finally settled on a chicken and avocado toasted ciabatta, which was fresh and delicious. This place is in the ‘tourist centre’ of Melbourne, and the paved bank of the Yarra for some distance either side of the place features buskers (one playing haunting Chinese music); a Chi healing specialist soothing peoples’ stresses and strains, jugglers etc. It’s a really lively place and a far cry from the remote for est and bush that I havbe seen so much of - but I still enjoy this other face of the country. There are a lot of British visitors here judging by the accents.
I planned to type up my blog in the shade of the food court terrace and sat down at a table for two where another guy was reading, and he readily invited me to join him, and so started a long chat about all things Australian and otherwise; a very chatty guy and typical of the openness and friendliness of Australians, which I continually enjoy - I’m never alone for long. His name was Charles and he or his family came here from Malta. These chats have given me a lot of insight into how Australians think and their attitude to life, which adds to my enjoyment of this great country. In no way can you call people reticent here.

No comments: