Sunday, October 07, 2007

DAY 1: 6th Oct 07 - Perth to Mandurah

83 km @ 13.7 km/hr
light headwind

I was already aware that I have done little long-distance training for
this task, but figured that I would get fit in the first few weeks.
The effort today was quite a bit more than I had expected however.
After a few last errands in the city I didn't leave Perth until 1000,
much later than will be the norm once I settle into a routine. Much
better to get going as soon as it becomes light, during the coolest
part of the day. It is a pleasany sunny day, about 23 deg C - perfect cycling weather.
I left Perth via the excellent Swan River cycle path, which eliminated almost
all the city traffic. After about 12 km it was not clear which
direction I should be going in, but as luck would have it a fellow
cyclist soon came along and saw me reading the map and asked if he could help. In fact
just a few hundred metres away was the start of a dedicted cycle track
running for some 40 km south parallel to the freeway, Highway 1.
Although the sound of speeding traffic was never out of earshot the
track was a reasonable distance away and landscaped with trees and
bushes. I saw many other cyclists en route. The cycle network extends
all around Perth and seems to incorporate most residential and
business areas, which are all well signposted. It's an entire network by itself, largely separated from the traffic.
After the track had come to an end the last 25 kms or so were ridden
on a wide verge safely away from the speeding traffic.
To cut a long story short I arrived at Mandurah around 1730 and after
a very warm sunny day the shadows were already starting to lengthen. I
was a little concerned that it might take me a little while to erect
the new tent (MSR Hubba Hubba) and I could be working in the dark,
however I needn't have worried, it was extremely easy with only 5
lines of instructions necesary. I am impressed with its spaciousness
and attention to detail, and it is very light at only 2 kg. Unfortunately I seem to have camped where there are hordes of mosquitoes and I was bitten to death in every accessible part of my body - and beyond!!
I had no food to cook so went to the local chippie and chose delicious
grilled red snapper from the choice of around 20 types of fish. An hour later I was asleep, but unfortunately was woken by a loud gathering nearby and had difficulty getting off again,
surprising since I was pretty tired. Oh for the peace of the outback!?

A year cycling around Australia supporting WaterAid - starting in
Perth 6 Oct 2007 and heading anticlockwise :-