Tuesday, September 09, 2008

DAY 2 off in Fremantle / Perth

Mon 8th September 2008
Sunny, 20 deg C

Spent the morning organising my departure - particularly, the most cost-effective way of getting my excess baggage home. I only have a 20kg allowance and the bike weighs around 19, plus I have another 20kg or so of stuff. I’ll probably risk getting away with 25kg in the bike box, and send a 10kg parcel back, leaving around 7kg hand luggage - the maximum allowed. It will cost about $240 (£120) for the parcel with a local shipping company, who will also supply a customs declaration form C4 which will hopefully avoid me paying import duty and VAT on stuff that I brought with me - otherwise I would get clobbered for this again on goods which will be worth around £500.I also bought a new Deuter rucksack - 32 litre capacity which I was informed is the maximum size allowed as hand luggage, so I can make full use of that 7kg allowance. It was $180 (£90) but I will be able to use it once home too. The last rucksack I had was a Deuter too, and it lasted for many years - I finally threw it out at Edith Falls when the zip gave up the ghost.

I’ve also got the telephone nos. of a couple of bike shops near to where my hosts for next weekend, Andrew and Joanne, stay, so I can hopefully collect a box on Friday and pack the bike over the weekend. I shall make up the 10kg box by Friday and drop it off at the shipping company here at Freo before leaving for there’s.

After all that I had a good lunch and spent the afternoon sightseeing around Freo. It is a very pleasant and somewhat Bohemian town with lots of character; old buildings nicely restored, and plenty to see and do, and it’s easy to get around on the cycleways. There are some interesting craft shops which I had a good browse around, managing to get some presents at last; things that don’t take much space or weight up. Cafes abound, and there must be a hundred at least. I also did some succesful haggling and got 10% discount lol.

A disabled guy, Scott, in a wheelchair, stopped me to comment on my not wearing a helmet, and I listened to how he was hit by a car as a pedestrian and brain-damaged. He was concerned that the same might happen to me, and I had to agree he was probably right - I have worn a helmet religiously on this tour, but didn’t bother today for just a short while. I will probably wear one all the time back home in future now that I’m used to it.

The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and cycling along the river, out on the breakwater etc. and anothet sociable evening in the campers kitchen.

DAY 1 off in Fremantle / Perth

Sun 7th September 2008
Sunny, 21 deg C

A much more peacefu night at this CP thanfully, and a lie-in until the tent warmed up i.e. well after 8. I cycled down to Fremantle station and only had to wait a few minutes for a train. It’s easy peasy to take your bike on the train; there are a couple of bays in every carriage where it fits in nicey without flopping around. There were plenty of people with bikes on the train, and I got chatting to a guy with his 2 kids who cycled part of the Munda Biddi 500km trail, which was interesting - I had thought about doing some of this.
I had sussed from my Perth bicycle lanes map that it woud be simpler to get to King’s Park by getting off at the penultimate station, Perth West, and from here there’s a bicycle lane than goes most of the way to the park. It’s less than 2km, but up a steep hill, however the height affords a great view of Perth city centre and the Swan River. It was a perfect sunny day and so good for snapping piccies.
Kings Park was very busy, and this is Father’s Day in Oz so there were plenty of folk out for the day, and lots of dads with new jocks and socks lol. I spotted a familiar tree - the huge Boab that passed me on the road to Kununura a few weeks ago, stopping all the traffic on the way. I think it was ‘available’ as it had to be removed to make way for a road (in Darwin?), so the King’s Park authorities snapped it up, and presumably paid heavily for the 2000km journey with 1 police and 2 other escorts. Hopefully it will survive the colder and damper climate down here. The birds in the park are prolific and diverse, and I heard plenty of calls that I didn’t recognise. I may have another day here this week when it’s quiter and try and identify some of them.
Soon after a hot dog and muffin and latte lunch the sound of Irish music wafted across the park, and I homed in on a 3-piece band playing one of my favourite songs - Danny Boy. They made a very good and passionate job of it, and caused a tear in my eye; beautiful. I was hooked after that, and they played 3 sessions over the afternoon sprinkled with many Irish classics; they gave a great, modern rendition of Molly Malone.
During the afternoon I met a couple who were keen cyclists, and we had a long exchange about touring by bicycle. The lady (forgot names as usual) said she has always wanted to cycle around Oz, so I gave her my card with the website details on. She had a bad accident last week whilst mountain biking and her arm was in a sling, but she has no intention of stopping cycling; she gets such a buzz from it. If they read this please remind me of your names and my apologies for forgetting! It all capped a very nice day for me.
Train ‘home’, cool evening, put more clothes on, cooked dinner of pasta and tuna (what else), sociable evening with 3 young Italian tourists. Good day...