|The Full Story
Phil and Susan have just recovered
from a full on 10 days of helping run the Bicycling
Australia Cycle Challenge 2001 from Melbourne to Sydney.
"helping", because many others played a big
part in running this amazing event, and recording it on
the web. The talented Wazza the wizz web writer Warren
Slater has given cycling, or pumping the pedals, a
complete new dimension. Read his 9 day data on the
challenge and you'll see how exciting riding can be, and
how the Bandidos enjoy life to the max. Thank you Wazza
for not only adding colour and fun to the day, but
staying up all night with your computer putting together
your feelings and those of other bandits for the world to
appreciate. We love your work and dedication.
The ride is over, the
memories live on. The Bicycling Australia Challenge 2001
was a real hoot. All the preparation of the last 12
months had finished, the cyclists were at the Exhibition
Buildings, waiting for the word. The colours of the
riders and the bikes were dazzling. The characters on the
challenge were contagious. The serious faces as they
slogged up and down the hills, spread to laughter and
frivolity as everyone joined in to share the excitement.
Pushing the accelerator, not the pedal of the magnificent
BMW X5 4WD machine. Whenever a bike broke down, or a tyre
blew up or a wheel blew out Greg was there. He worked
hard, cruising the route, waiting for any strays to
wander from the pack. Like a blue heeler, he was on their
heels, and soon had them rejoin the fray.
The big truck
A character of enormous popularity. His wit and wonderful
sense of humour kept everyone amused as we loaded and
unloaded bags for the umpteenth time.
Thanks Bear for your constant comfort.
Without this guy, we would be lost. Frank steered us to
Sydney, driving ahead, signing every turn, cautioning
cars of cyclists, and calming the riders as they
continuously found new forks to fathom.
The wag in the sag kept everyone amused, while collecting
signs and picking up the odd straggler and bike that
didn't or couldn't combat the entire journey.
Tired legs and bodies fell on her table, and sprang to
life as she rubbed and kneaded them back to health.
When you run out
of water or want a sugar lift, you look for Sue. She was
there, ever patient, ever smiling, every time, and
sending you further into the unknown.
Bodies ached before, and after, but with a sense of
satisfaction after Lisa had tenderly cared for those
Thanks for coming for
those two days Lisa.
riders in need and one special rider indeed.
Full of fire and
toil, always there to share and care and reduce the wear.
At 86 years old a man to admire.
Well done and thanks
Stuart & Kerith
Putting up with terrible hardship in the Boxter!
Looking after their Bandidos and our riders too when
needed, thank you both.
Day 2 135 km Yea to
Phil & Susan
returned to find the early birds had hit the road, and
powered to no morning tea, too early guys, then some
bypassed lunch. (Someone had fun changing Franks
Lunch saw bodies being
massaged in the main street while some got lost after
practical joke of locals changing signage. The three
motels were appreciated and the nearby Royal looked after
our craving appetites.
Day 3 75 km Benalla to
alive again as 100 cyclists donned Ned Kelly masks and
rode into town with bananas in their holsters and
chocolate bullets for ammunition.
Hills gave way to flat
vineyards, and the Everton Pub was last stop, before
climbing 18 km along the new rail trail to Beechworth.
Lunch at the famous bakery went down well.
La Trobe Uni taught us
that good accommodation and food is always on top of the
highest hill in town.
Day 4 145 km Beechworth
They were off not
long after dawn attacking the hills and dales with gusto.
The gold mining area flattened out to Hume Weir towns
bordering the blue waters. A big climb to lunch at the
Koetong Pub and a taste of Marilyn's delightful home
cooking, the lumberjack cake was enjoyed by many. The
attitude and enthusiasm of the riders was staggering
after punishing themselves climbing the hills, but after
Koetong they flew down the mountain side ready to attack
the hills once more.
was certainly diverse.
Day 5 105 km Corryong
to Thredbo - A Challenge
The day that
everyone had been talking about. How big are those hills,
how accurate is the profile map, have I got enough gears?
It went till lunch, everyone way ahead of time. The lunch
break filled the spot, near the vertical hills. Cyclists
certainly struggled, some walked, but they got there. The
determination in talking themselves to Dead Horse Gap,
and down to Thredbo village was inspiring, with cyclists
finishing the days ride from 2pm to 6pm.
An excellent days
ride. You deserve the hot bath and warm bed that the
Thredbo Alpine Hotel had to offer.
Day 6 215 km Thredbo to
Canberra - The Challenge
The dedication and
determination of the cyclists, especially on departing
Thredbo was amazing. Breakfast at 5.30am, rain and sleet
falling outside, but not one cyclist considered backing
off. They were out at 6am flying down the mountainside
sun filtering through the water spray as it chased their
huddled up bodies.
Morning tea and
cyclists became reunited with their fingers. Toes felt
like dropping off as they walked around, loosened up, got
the circulation flowing, wrung out wet socks, and got
rolling to Cooma for delicious non greasy gourmet
hamburgers, then filled up and filed out. It was a big
day, 110 km still to go. The stop at Bredbo, the bandits
and others looked shot, but don't believe what you see.
David Soloman unfortunately struck a bump, and over the
handlebars he went, Stuart in the Porsche to the rescue.
Badly damaged shoulder, but he was there at Rosehill to
welcome us in. Canberra was welcome, rain or not, a
fantastic effort by all completing the two Challenges, to
Thredbo then Canberra.
What a ride, Power of
Day 7 165 km Canberra
enthusiasm of riders at 7am rearing to visit Parliament
House was astounding. Little Johnny didn't greet us,
however we managed to make our presence felt with a mass
ride through Canberra before heading over steep little
pinches to Bungendore. Conversation was rife as we headed
to Goulburn, a country town with Chinese fare.
Greg Thompson fell
heavily, ending up on the Hume Highway badly shaken cut
and sore, otherwise unhurt. Bundanoon was in sight, the
gums dancing in the paddocks to our rhythm.
Day 8 125 km Bundanoon
Lush countryside eventually opened up to views of the
Pacific Ocean. At the Robertson Pie Shop the bus was
waiting for cyclists to board, those obeying police
instructions that Macquarie Pass was no place for
cyclists. Regrouping at McDonald Park relaxed everyone,
before riders disappeared cycling the beach trail to
their place of rest. A bus ride brought everyone
together, for an impromptu night led by Shiralee with
lots of gifts, bagging, roasting and good humour,
recitals and songs. A most memorable night.
Day 9 70 km Clifton to
The last day was a
rush, with cut off times important as we cycled the base
of magnificent giant stone walls, towering, hundreds of
metres above us and the sea. The climb to the cliff and
the views were spectacular, with further climbing to
level out for a tea break. The convoy to Rosehill was a
colourful parade with our entry into the BA Show swamped
by crowds of people as we rode through the entrance.
Congratulations to all
riders. We are so proud of everyone's attitude, their
determination, their ability, their positive direction
and their never say die mentality.
Thanks also to the
team who worked as a team, supporting each other, and
looking after our main interest - you the cyclist.
Push hard, push long…