1. Perth to Albany

Two years in the planning, two years of having an incredible passion for making this ride happen, two years of waiting for day zero, and here is was, a normal Wednesday morning in Melbourne, and I didn't want to go.

I couldn't pinpoint it, but all of a sudden I just wanted to do anything other than fly to Perth. I wasnt sure if it was that I had barely even rode my newly built single speed touring bicycle, or the fact I had no idea if I could even ride what I had proposed to do, or the fact that the trip preparations were at a minimal, or if it was because I was about to leave my beautiful fiancee for the next two to two and a half months.

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Leah drove my loaded bicycle box, my panniers and myself out to Tullamarine Airport to wave me off that afternoon. However I am not sure she could actually see me leaving through all the tears streaming down her face.


The first win of the trip, Tigerair did not have a big enough weight machine to weigh my bicycle box. The question came, "How heavy is the box?" Knowing full well I was about 4 or 5 kilos over my allocated weight of 20kg, I replied "I think it's 18 or 19kg!"

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Landing in Perth 4 hours later, the uber driver was very interested in what was in the cardboard box that he had to put his rear seats in his car down for. After both of us forcing the bike box in he was very excited to hear all about my trip.

I had found an Air BnB sharehouse owned by Leon, about 10 minutes from the airport that, after a couple messages back and forward prior to leaving for Perth, was going to be the perfect location to be able to "build" my bike and begin my journey from.

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The morning of Day 01 was spent drinking coffee, building the bike, organising and packing my panniers, drinking more coffee and scouting through WikiCamps to find a suitable place that I was going to aim for, to sleep for the night.

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Plans were to ride to the local Woolworths, shop for the next couple days, ride to bunnings to buy shellite for my stove, and then to follow the main highways that all had bicycle paths running along side them, out of Perth.

60km out of Perth was my first campsite for the evening, called Lilys Rest in Forrestdale. This was a local farmer who had placed a shipping container on his back paddock and filled it with tables, chairs, a fridge, microwave and kettle, and a couch at the rear. For $10 a night I was happy to call this home for the night.

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The next few days I followed a similar bike path next to the highways that made for easy riding and a good introduction into the bike that was going to see me across Australia.

Heading out west for the coast line, I finally found the sea at Bunbury. Just before reaching Bunbury, on Day 03, I had my first puncture. This experience also lead me to find that I had left my puncture repair kit behind in Melbourne.

Idiot!

So I put my only spare tube in the rear wheel and prayed to the bicycle gods that I would make the next 60km into Bunbury without another flat, where I could then buy two more tubes and a puncture repair kit.

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Riding the coast line South into Magaret River I came across the first "proper" hills. Keeping in mind I had never riden this single speed bicycle set up while it was fully loaded, bar the 25km around St Kilda to get used to my brand new SPD clip in pedals and shoes. Thankfully for the sake of my pride, I did not have to walk up the lengthy hill in the main street of Margaret River. However due to that particular hill, and the feeling that both my knees were going to explode outwards at any given moment, I chose to walk almost every hill after that heading to my camping spot for the night.

For the 5 minutes it took me to ride through Margaret River, the town looked beautiful, and I do regret not spending more time there, but still being a newbie to this tour, my desire to push onwards overtook. I did spend sometime exploring the caves that Margaret River had to offer before a late start to the next day, and I am so glad I did.

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Pointing my handlebars East from Margaret River I set my sights on Pemberton, which I estimated to take me 2 days. Starting to feel a little sore on the bike and keen for a day off my thoughts were definitely resting on Pemberton for a break.

Wild camping that night between Margaret River and Pemberton was an interesting experience, as wild camping always seems to be. Sitting just off the the highway by around 100 meters, hidden enough that no one racing past at 100 kilometers an hour can see you, but you can see them. Firstly hearing the drone of their engine, then their lights lighting up the trees and a whoosh they past. It's a lonely experience, especially when the frequency of those cars and trucks passing slows done to almost non-existent as the evening grows old.

Grinding the hills into Pemberton I found myself getting really frustrated. I was frustrated at the hills, frustrated I couldn't keep the pace that I had been experiencing over the last few days, frustrated at the weather as it was on and off raining, topped off with really suffering the blues of being solo on the road.

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In Pemberton there is a lovely camping park that I decided to book two nights in. Offering an undercover camp kitchen, hot showers and laundry for $25 a night was something I could do, seeing as I had not had a shower since Melbourne, seven days prior.

I can confirm the beers were in fact cold, and the parmas were absolutely delicious at the local pub. In fact I can confirm that twice!

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Pemberton was a turning point, mostly for my mindset than anything. I was feeling down about the loneliness (something most solo travelers experience at some stage), about the distance I still had to travel when zooming out and out and out from where I currently was on Google Maps and about the current weather I was experiencing. I can pretty much put it down to two people to pull me out of that zonk, one who's book I was reading at the time about a similar experience in her own way, and one a friend who knew all too well what I was going through.

After a well deserved rest day and a change in mental strength I pushed off on a blue sky day from Pemberton, headed for the South Coast Highway to take me through Albany and onto Esperance.

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The next day I can say my new mindset saw me crush over 1000m of accent without walking a single hill, and that evening rewarded me with a gorgeous campground, with huts that I could sleep in. These huts also had fireplaces with cut timber stacked beside them. Setting my sleeping pad and sleeping bag up in front of the fireplace provided a very cozy sleep that night. Suddenly things felt that they were going to be alright.

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Rains scattered through the next day with a thunderstorm brewing for that night meant I had to bypass the Valley Of Giants in Walpole, that a couple of people had spoken highly of before I left Melbourne. I wasn't too keen to be caught in these thunderstorms and with the aid of WikiCamps I found a little bush camp situated 2km off the highway at Parryville, called Boat Habour Camp. As the horizon line behind me for the last 5km of the days ride predicted, as soon as I pulled into camp and paid my money, the heavens opened. The thunderstorm did not disappoint with a hail and lightening show. But I was safe, dry, and warm under the camp kitchen shelter, where in the end I decided to pitch my tent as well.

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I had such a sense of achievement riding into Albany the next day. It was only a fraction of the planned trip riden, but it was the first major town on the map. Riding nine days in the saddle, a restructured mindset since Pemberton, I really had fallen into the touring lifestyle once again and was certainly enjoying being on the road, and doing what I was doing.

Happy New Year

I hope everyone has had a great start to 2019! I was lucky enough to spend the last week of 2018 touring through some beautiful regions of Victoria following the Goldfields Track with a mate of mine. It has excited me even more for my trip across Australia, to be able to see even more of what this country has to offer. Almost 6 months to go before I leave 🚴‍♂️😃✌

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I consider myself very lucky to be supported by people like my buddy Perry, who knows quite well what long periods on the bike can be like. Perry rode just on 10,000km through some amazing countries last year 🌏 Here is a photo of us spinning the pedals summiting Mt Donna Buang ⛰ on one of our regular training rides together.

I'd like to thank Perry for supporting me on this journey 🚴‍♂️ and if you would like to, feel free to follow us here 💥

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It has been a little while between posts, but do not worry, the team and I working on the One Gear ride are busy locking in sponsorships, finalising the route through Australia I will take, as well as planning another fundraising night, stay tuned!

I also want to announce that Camping Adventures has become an official sponsor of the ride. Graham and the guys have shown generous support for the last 18 months while this ride has been in the planning stages, and it is much appreciated.

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