AUSTRALIA Page 20 (Last Australian Page for the time being)


Australia, the adopted homeland of both Mal and Lee. The only continent under one government and the country we both love. The picture above is the “skyline” of our city, you can click on the picture to get a larger image. Perth is one of the most isolated regional capital cities in the world. There are so many things to say about our country that I simply do not know where to begin...

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Saturday March 31st (Written on 1-4-2007...) 2007 From Spirit of Tasmania Ship to St Kilda in Melbourne.
Approx. 22.52k's Average Speed 11.06kph Cycling time 2Hr(s) 02Min. Max speed. 32kph Max temp we recorded 18°C (Shade)
Flat. Road Conditions: Good cycle paths, O/night Accom.: $85.00.
Reason for the high stat's is we “booked” into a park that did not exist... Too hard to go into detail. We are now in St Kilda staying at a “Backpackers” hotel @ $85 per night. Given it was Saturday Night and not familiar with Melb., we did well. We will stay two nights and do all our business as best we can before we decide our future.

SMS through the night confirmed that my Mum had a successful op, in that she survived. A more peaceful sleep resulted. We still do not know the histology or prognosis. A long agonising wait to get answers for all of us.
Monday April 2nd St Kilda in Melbourne. Rest Day – No stats.
Approx. k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp we recorded °C (Shade)
. Road Conditions: , O/night Accom.: $85.00.
Rest day, city trip and tie up loose ends

And a contortionist........

And the upside down river....

Catchya Later
Tuesday April 3rd St Kilda in Melbourne to the sprawling GREENSPEED FACTORY then to Knox city(3-4-2007)...
Approx. 39.04k's Average Speed 10.48kph Cycling time 3Hr(s) 43Min. Max speed. 52kph Max temp we recorded 21°C (Shade)
Hilly. Road Conditions: Cycle Paths (Mostly), O/night Accom.: $85.00.
An early start to go and fix some issues with the bikes. Paul Sims gave us a fantastic reception and fixed many of the issues. We tried the BIONX electric assist and was very impressed.

There is no difference to the peddling one does , however, it offers a greatly improved speed. Hills are still as tough as always, but, you climb them faster. Also it it TOTALLY silent.

Sadly we were told many units had warranty problems whilst many did not. Those that did have warranty issues were not dealt with by the Canadian company in anything like a timely manner. Greenspeed no longer recommend the hubs, which is a shame. We deferred to their experience and did not consider a purchase. 
Paul and his staff had no issues with us having a Catrike, they praised the bike and even offer a link to Catrike's Site on the homepage. They hold the view that recumbent's should be promoted regardless of who we purchase from Catchya Later...
Wednesday April 4th Knox city to Tullamarine Airport.
Approx. 9.35k's Average Speed 8.10kph Cycling time 1Hr(s) 9Min. Max speed. 24kph Max temp we recorded 24°C (Shade)
Hilly. Road Conditions: Cycle Paths (Mostly), O/night Accom.: $90.00.
We cycled to a pick up point for our trip to the Airport. Well we got to a shopping centre and I decided we should try for a lift to the Airport, as getting there on “back roads” is not easy. I scanned the carpark for suitable vehicles and soon we had secured a ride – if you don't ask you don't get!! We were taken in a Landcruiser Tray Top through areas we cannot ride, Freeway's.

If we were purists we could have cycled to the airport via back roads I guess... Just seemed plain silly to me and may have taken two days with our knowledge of the city.

Why are we at the Airport? Lee was given an interview date (BEFORE WE STARTED) of the 13 April for Citizenship... We were told these dates are hard to get – so we took what we could. We were also told it is too hard to transfer her file to another city. When I said I could do it in 24hrs they said “we are Govt. you know”. It is just the heartless indifference to peoples circumstances that is concerning, in cases like this.

The second reason is we both feel that we should suspend this leg of the trip in Melbourne... with a view to recommencing at the tail end of our journey. We should depart for the UK and spend time with Mal's Mum. Of course we will cycle the UK, but it is a small island and we can visit our Mum much more easily.

We sent about 30kg by road via these people... Pack & Send... Expensive... but will save money on excess baggage.... Lets hope they get the gear there without damage. We could have used Aus Post but we have not had a good experience with them. TNT will take the gear.
Friday April 6th Hotel To Tullamarine Airport. This is the last time we cycle in Australia – until when, is unknown.
Approx. 4.75k's Average Speed kph Cycling time Hr(s) Min. Max speed. kph Max temp we recorded °C (Shade)
Flat. Road Conditions: Cycle Paths (Mostly), O/night Accom.: $0.00. With Family in Perth
A relatively short ride to the departure gate of the Airport will see us go to battle with the Airline to carry our gear. Watch this space to see how we go.... Their instructions (Virgin) are here which may benefit other cyclists reading this:- I have underlined and highlighted some points I see as more relevant (to us)


It is mandatory for all bicycles, tricycles and unicycles to be disassembled and packaged in either a soft or hard bike case or a manufactured bike box. This will aid in the safe handling, loading and delivery of your bike at your destination and may prevent potential damage to both your bike and our aircraft.

Your bicycle will be refused travel if it is not suitably packaged which is outlined in “Packaging the Bike”.

Preparing your Bike for the Flight:

To ensure your on time departure, we strongly advise that you pre purchase a box and pre package your bike at least 24 hours prior. Taking the time to do this will limit a potentially lengthy, messy and inconvenient check in process for you, your family and friends. If it is not possible to do this, arrive at the airport as early as possible to allow yourself enough time to purchase a box and package your bike. We require you to be at the airport no later than 60 minutes prior to your departure time. Late arrival may compromise your aircraft on time departure and therefore your bicycle may be refused for travel.

It is mandatory that our guests disassemble their own bike. If you are unsure, refer to the tips we have included below on this information sheet. Alternatively, practice preparing your bike at home or seek assistance from your local bike shop.

You are able to purchase a bike box from the airport for a cost of $15.00.

Tools needed for disassembling the majority of bikes are:

These tools may be obtainable to borrow for your convenience pending availability however it is advised that you bring along your own.

Disassembling the Bike:

Bikes vary in size & shape, as well as the accessories fitted to the bike. There is no one-way of dismantling bikes to ensure that they will fit in to a box. Generally, the following applies:

Packaging the Bike:

Once at the airport:

Depending on your port of departure, you may be instructed to do one of the following to aid you in the check in process

a) Line up as normal
b) Be directed to the check in service desk or designated counter
c) Be directed to the oversized baggage counter or designated counter <END>

You can check the link provided (here) to see if it has changed for YOU.

I will let you know by writing on the aeroplane (airplane for my American friends) – IF we get on that is :-)After we got to the Airport, we surrendered to the Virgin Blue bureaucracy. We were told it is a CASA requirement the bikes be put in an approved bike box...

Of course Trike's don't fit into an “approved” bike box. Still the book said they “must” so we squeezed them in, leaving a big “bulge” on one side

Despite our trials and tribulations we finished the job in about two hours,

Our bags (Trailers) were a huge 12kg over the limit and our “boxed” bikes weighed about 52kg (that is both boxes combined), including tools, helmets, ect.ect... Which, by the way is UNDER the maximum limit for a bike box (32 KG limit per box)

Apart from a $15.00 – per box – fee, we were not charged anything for the additional 64+ Kg overweight and oversize baggage. Thank you Virgin Blue, very much.

I am writing this on the aeroplane winging our way to Perth. As things stand now my Mother is VERY sick, I have managed to talk with her on the phone and feel strongly that we should visit MUCH sooner than planned, Lee totally agrees.

The primary focus will be to spend quality time with our Mother. As an optimist I have to believe – Once my Mothers recovery is on track, she is only 78yrs old.

It would appear we have to be content with crossing the Australian continent at this stage... We have cycled more than 5,700 kilometres, in Australia, since we started.

The next leg of our journey will commence in the north of England, probably in Wigan. We will continue to ride in Perth until we leave as we both want to maintain our fitness. At this early stage we do not know our plans for Britain, however, we want to circumnavigate and include Scotland and Wales, plus, hopefully, Ireland, We will probably leave out the smaller islands such as Jersey, Orkney , Shetlands and the Isle of Man.

We will depart for Iceland, followed by Norway, Sweden and Finland. Timing is critical as these can be very cold places, as indeed so can Britain.

Friday 13th April

Lee's interview for Citizenship went well. We have contacted the shire to facilitate a ceremony. There is a ceremony on ANZAC day – which would be a great day – see how we go. Right now we are in limbo and simply have to wait until all the bureaucracy do their thing. Currently we have moved to Beverly and will wait it out here. We will be cycling 20-30 k trips to keep in peak “condition”. We also will be examining our gear in detail for the next leg of the journey.

Europe presents many challenges as well as a potentially life changing experience. Our other “recumbent cyclist” friends have SMS'ed us from Canada and are soon to commence their Alaska, Canada and USA trip. Their website is here Andrew and Joanne Hooker from Rockingham PERTH WA. We wish them all the VERY best of luck, tailwinds and long downhills.

There is little more of interest to tell you. My mothers condition is unchanged at present. She did develop an infection after surgery and is on IV antibiotics. She appears to be responding well. We should get test results soon and then we will at least have a better idea of the prognosis.

Our sincere thanks to all those that have written to us with their best wishes... I had pondered long and hard whether or not to include my Mums condition in our diary. The support you have given via email SMS and our guest book has been very humbling and very comforting. Again thank you all.

I will write again when I have more news so please keep checking back. In the meantime please look at and if inclined, offer comment on, our “work in progress” summary of our first six months... You can access it by clicking - HERE Catchya Later.........

Friday April 27th
My Mothers condition continues to dominate our plans. Here is an extract, from an email written by one of my sisters some days ago and AFTER her operation:-

<SNIP>Hi Malcolm and Lee, the only way I can answer your first question is to give you the results of mum's tests to date, it is very difficult for me to be able to say how long she has, because we are not in receipt of the full facts about her condition, we are desperately trying to get a family conference organised with her consultant, but he may not be able to predict it either?

My assessment of her at the moment is Very poorly! Her cancer is a DUKES C, her CRP test is 226, she has pneumonia and is exhausted walking only a few steps, she remains positive and certainly shows no signs of giving up, her colour is dreadful, she has lost 2 stone+ in 4 weeks. She is to have a further CT scan sometime in the next few days, which should be able to tell us much more about the stage of the cancer which we are told is very aggressive. She has secondaries in her liver and at least two of the lymph nodes that were removed were malignant.

I am truly very sorry that i cannot help you to decide your next move but it is simply too close to call, I really have no idea.<END>

My mother is a fighter and did not want to stay in hospital after her treatment, hence was discharged. This was only to last about 48hrs, when difficulty breathing forced her return to hospital with pneumonia. She currently remains in hospital. Lee and myself are pulling out all stops to get there ASAP.

Friday April 27th Evening
Busy day, Letter from DIMA/Shire came today and I was on the phone “negotiating” straight away. We organised a Citizenship Ceremony on the spot (Thanks Armadale Shire and “our” Mayor
Cr Linton Reynolds AM JP), showered, and was at the shire offices in the blinking of an eye. Lee is now an Australian :-) and as proud as hell.

Followed by her certificate :-)

We have an appointment 9am Monday morning for the Passport application and interview... ALL being well we will have successfully navigated the bureaucracy in record time. Next we need to get a flight at the right price... Then we are on our way.... Will get back soon....

I love a sunburned country
A land of sweeping plains
Of rugged mountain ranges
Of drought and flooding rain
I love her far horizons
I love her jewelled sea
Her beauty and her terroF1
‘Tis the wide brown land for me

The 1940's version of our patriotic verse.

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