Cycle Against the Beast – 2017
Day 20 – 8th June, 2017
Today, like most mornings over the last couple of weeks, was quite cold. It was also foggy. Not too much above 0 celsius. Still, I had a big day ahead of me, so I couldn’t delay too long. Just after 08:00, after a couple of rest days, I set off. It didn’t take long for my fingers to freeze. Thankfully, I’d planned to make a stop at the local Macca’s for about 15 minutes. By the time I got going again, it had warmed sufficiently enough to continue on – the sun had come out a bit.
Today was to be spent mostly on the motorway – the M31 Hume Highway. During my ride, up until now, I’d spent several days, in different sections, on this motorway. So, rejoining it was nothing out of the ordinary.
Today’s progress was quite good. No headwinds, and traffic wasn’t overly annoying either. In fact, I had a few truckies giving me a couple of short toots for encouragement. By 11:30, I’d already crossed the highest altitude for the day, at 357 metres – mostly all downhill from there!
I stopped for lunch, a little early (11:45 or so), at the halfway mark of the day. I thought, if I could keep this progress up, I could make it to the MCG by around 16:00. Another 20km, and I was already off the Hume Highway and in outer suburban Melbourne. Once inside the M80 Ring Road, things started getting a little tougher. Not due to the terrain (by this time, it was mostly all a downward trend), but due to traffic lights and no real cycle lane/path. As soon as signals turned green, it meant having to get off the blocks faster.
Once reaching the tram network, in North Coburg, things were much better. The centre lanes are generally shared by traffic and trams, whereas the curb lanes are for parking – but they’re more than wide enough for cyclists also.
Once through North Coburg and Brunswick, it was on to the cycle lanes along Royal Parade through Parkville. The weather started looking a little gloomy, so I tried to hurry along as quickly as I could. After a couple of turns, it was on to Swanston Street through to Federation Square. A turn left, and down along by the Yarra River and over the William Barak pedestrian/cycle bridge. And straight ahead was the MCG – the Melbourne Cricket Ground. I rode right up to the MCG, went off to the right and did a victory lap. And, appropriately, right alongside the statue of the great Sir Donald Bradman, I hit the 100.0 km mark of the day. After finishing my victory lap, I stopped near the statue of Dennis Lillee – one of the best, if not the best, fast bowlers in the history of cricket. I asked a couple of innocent passers by to take a photo of me.
I had made it. I hardly believe it myself. I certainly had my doubts, particularly when I didn’t complete a day’s cycling hitched a lift to Gundagai. But I did! After leaving the MCG, I sought out a hostel in Melbourne, but it was all booked out. But they could offer me no bicycle parking/storage either. Instead, I cycled off to Southern Cross station, caught a train to Geelong, and stayed at a motel for the night.
I hope you have all enjoyed my little cycle adventure, and would really appreciate it if you could throw in a donation to my fundraising page for Fight MND. MND (motor neurone disease), also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, has no cure. The video below, by the Cure for MND Foundation / Fight MND, is an explanation as to what MND is.