Around Australia by Tandem

 Seven Sister The Seven Sisters The Great Victoria Bicycle Ride 2000 began in McArthur and we were there to meet up with Tucson friend Dick Forcier who was bringing trash compactor bags for waterproofing our panniers, and just as importantly, five pounds of Trader Joe’s chocolate. Amazingly we found Dick and his friend Greg Cook (Stork, who is an Aussie) amid the 2000 or so cyclists getting ready to ride. It was a bit sobering to see Jim Norvil’s Univega. Stork had bought Jim’s bike during a visit to Tucson, after Jim was killed in a tragic in-line skate accident. We decided that riding with the GVBR for one day was about as much togetherness as we wanted with 2000 cyclists. We do admit to some measure of pleasure at blowing by a few hundred unloaded bikes on our loaded tandem. “Who was that masked tandem?” – “High! Ho! Zippy! Away!” We met Dick and Stork that night for pizza and wine and a good yarn.

 (We were saddened to loose Dick to heart failure in Tucson in 2004. He was a dedicated cycling advocate and friend)

   We jumped a day ahead of the GVBR since we were also traveling the Great Ocean Road along the Victoria (state) coast. We encountered our first really big hill in Australia, Lavers Hill, and were a bit humbled by it. We’ve been riding in rolling outback too long. Tasmania will be a grunt. Near Anglesea our thermometer showed 42C (107F) on the bike. And we had a tailwind with hills! That did it. We leaned Zippy against a beach sign and ran into the surf, stayed there for half an hour to cool down. It worked. We were a bit salty (unfortunately it was not a clothes optional beach) but were able to finish the day.

Zippy Maintenance Cleaning red dust from the Hugi hub

 Alan and Sheryl Harbison and Ethan

We first met them at the Tropic of Capricorn, just north of Alice Springs. In Torquay, where they live, we got together for Mexican food and a yarn, went to their house for desert. He is a masters racer and she is supportive, and likes recreational and fitness cycling. I think Zippy made them sorry they sold their tandem.

 Back at our tent, we were met by a mob,. breaking glass, loud yelling and music, illegal fireworks, and two policemen who told us to lock up Zippy in a shed. Many Australians will assume we had stumbled upon an aboriginal gathering. Not. These were white teens. But they only received a tisk tisk, boys will be boys.

Bob and Ann Grant

We spent a night with Bob and Ann in Rosebud. We first met them on the Plenty Highway in Northern Territory where they offered us tea and introduced us to their old corky, Taffy. Later they would share their grief after Taffy wandered off at a bush camp and was lost. It was fun to see them on home turf, to see Ann’s beautiful stained glass, and Bob’s wooden toys, and to hear about their children and Bob’s career as a builder. Hope we will see them again somewhere down the track.


We rode and trained into Melbourne where we spent a few days with John and Marj Barrett and their two daughters, Ruth and Jasmine, five chooks, two galahs and a mob of pigeons. We leave December 3 for Tasmania and plan to spend more time with them when we return around Christmas.


Around Australia by Tandem — 2 Comments

  1. Sounds like a true Aussie welcome to get you underway! Have a fabulous time. Can’t wait to read more reports, and see your slides this winter at FHTV.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *