Fat bike Odyssey: Day 1
While things are still fresh in my mind, now would be a good time to pen some thoughts about our coastal tour. Our plan was pretty simple. Pedal North. We would stop where we felt like it, ride as many beaches as possible, stumble over some goat tracks on some headlands, ride some single track and connect it with roads if it was the best option although we’d avoid it if possible. Lots of photos were compulsory and hopefully some video to
I’ve never toured on a heavily laden bike before. I’ve always gone the light and fast option so I planned this trip as a kitchen sink tour where I carried everything I could possibly think of. You know when you are squeezing your third SLR lens into your frame bag that you are making some compromises on the weight vs pedalling efficiency front. Before I had finished packing, and with no water in the bottles, the bike weighed in at 34 kgs on the bathroom scales. Factoring in my backpack and 4.5 L of water, i was easily lugging more thank 40 kgs.
We started on the train. A train that despite the bicycle insignias on the carriage was clearly not built for a fat bike. We spent the next 2 hours standing with the bikes, wrestling them from side to side to make room for other commuters who seemingly came and went solely for the comedy that would ensue as Brad and performed all manner of 7 point turns to make room.
It was a late start and we didn’t arrive in Woy Woy until close to 4pm so the first day was going to be a transit leg that would get us to our unofficial starting point – Box head at the mouth of the Hawkesbury. About halfway there, we met up with Chad on his moonlander who was coming out to ride the first few parts with us. He was travelling light with a strategically parked car and Brad and I stared longingly at his boat-free bike. Five hundred meters into our trip we stopped for hamburgers – life is tough on the road!
We rode as far as possible to Box Head before hiking the last few hundred meters to the point and enjoyed the cool evening air, golden light and grand views.
From there we descended into Tallows beach which has an amazing designated campground nestled behind the sand dunes and rimmed by spectacular sandstone cliffs. I attempted to go fishing but there was a technical issue involving an unco operator and a hair trigger bail arm that quickly saw me cast the sinker from the end of the line and make the walk of shame back to the campsite with nothing to show for my endeavours.
Prior to leaving, Brad and I had a phone conversation:
Me: “We aren’t going to be able to carry cold beer, what spirit should we take that fits with the trips ethos”
Brad: “Pirates like rum!?”
Me: “That’s good, I’m standing in front of the Captain Morgan. Spiced or Jamaican?”
Brad: “Jamaican sounds more exotic”
So Captain Morgan became our unofficial mascot for the trip and bottle quickly disappeared between the three of us in that tiny campground. For those that don’t know me, I really don’t drink very much so the Captain made quite an impression on me. In true pirate fashion, we slept on our boats. The floor chamber nicely inflates to make a half size inflatable mattress and with the world gently rocking thanks to the Captain, I drifted off to the sounds of the ocean in the background. It was a rough morning for the start of day 2.
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