Daily Archives: June 20, 2015

Our Typical Cycle Touring Day in Australia

Several readers have asked how we spend a typical day. So…here’s it is….

Two of this morning's many birds.
Two of this morning’s many birds.

I wake up when the birds start singing, usually between 6:15 and 7:00 am, make a pot of coffee, respond to emails, read some news on my laptop, or read my book until Eric wakes up. I then make breakfast.

What I make for breakfast depends on the type of accommodation we’re in and the distance we have to travel. For example, if we have a small kitchen with a stove-top and microwave like most campgrounds and we’ll be cycling less than 80 kilometers (50 miles) I’ll make eggs or pancakes. If we have only a toaster like most motels or we have a long ride ahead, we’ll have a quick breakfast of muesli and toast. I also make a couple of sandwiches for our picnic lunch.

In addition, I often use the mornings between about 8 and 9 am to make calls to the States as needed.

We load up our bicycles which takes 30-40 minutes with a goal of starting to pedal around 9 am or earlier if we have a longer or difficult (lots of hills) ride ahead. (In SE Asia we often started cycling about 7:30 am to avoid the heat of the mid-day.)

Bikes are loaded. Today's safety talk might be to remind Eric to buckle his helmut.
Bikes are loaded. Today’s safety talk might be to remind Eric to buckle his helmut.

After our bikes are loaded but before we start riding we ALWAYS have a “safety talk” where we review the day’s ride and discuss things that can be potential hazards; e.g. heavy truck traffic, strong side winds, crazy Australian traffic circles, narrow shoulders, use your review mirror…it’s amazing the new things we can think of.

Today's respite from the traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Today’s respite from the traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway.

We cycle anywhere from 20-30km and hope to find a cute cafe’ where we stop for our morning coffee break: an espresso (Eric) or a long black (me).The coffee culture and quality of coffee here in Australia is fantastic!

Coffee and a "world famous" scone!
Coffee and a “world famous” scone!

Noonish, or when Eric is hungry, or when we find a good picnic spot, or a “famous pie or scone place” appears, we stop for lunch. In reality, I like to have at least half of our daily distance cycled before we stop for lunch. Having completed half of our distance gives us a good judge of our time and speed for the day so we’ll have a pretty good idea if we’ll make our destination before it gets dark or how long we’ll have to dawdle over lunch.

One of our picnic spots.
One of our picnic spots.

Around 3 – 3:30pm, hopefully, we’re at or near our destination so we can find accommodation- cabin, tent, or motel – and get settled before it gets too cold. Because it’s winter here, once 3:00 pm hits, the temperature drops and our sweaty clothes turn very cold. Often our first stop in town is the Tourist Information Center where we get good, free local maps, ideas about “must see’s” in the area, and help with accommodation.

The Tourist Information Center in Kempsey was designed by a famous architect Glenn Murcutt.
The Tourist Information Center in Kempsey was designed by a famous architect Glenn Murcutt.

Unloading our bikes is faster than packing and we have a pretty good routine. I put perishable foods in the fridge, scan the kitchen for supplies so I’ll know what I have to cook with, plug in one of my electronic devices (the shortage of outlets means were always scrambling to get all devices charged before morning), ( see post about what we bring) and place my panniers on my side of the bed. We’ve found that by keeping our things on the same side of the room or tent in each different accommodation, really helps us NOT to lose things.

After our bikes are unloaded we often cycle to the grocery store. Or, I’ll go to the store and Eric will do maintenance on his bicycle. We I return from the store, he’ll clean my bicycle while I shower. Then, I cook dinner while he showers.

One of our vices has been the discovery of Arnott's cookies. Our goal is to try every flavor. The Mint Slice is better than a Girl Scout Thin Mint!
One of our vices has been the discovery of Arnott’s cookies. Our goal is to try every flavor. The Mint Slice is better than a Girl Scout Thin Mint!

Evenings are spent reading, writing (me) watching television, and/or route planning.

Of course, just like living at home we need a “weekend” or change in routine so we 1) go out for dinner 2) go to or rent a movie 3) stop by a pub for a pint 4) play cards or a game.

Socialization and meeting new people usually occurs during the day, especially when we stop for coffee or lunch. Now that it’s colder, we tend to stay in at night unless we’re going out for dinner.

Sightseeing is done throughout the day but especially leaving a town in the morning, entering a town in the afternoon, or when someone at the Tourist Information center tells us we “must do” something.

We like to cycle on "Tourist Drives" but I still can't tell you why it's called "Hungry Head."
We like to cycle on “Tourist Drives” but I still can’t tell you why it’s called “Hungry Head.”

I think the important thing to keep in mind is that we are not really “on vacation” everyday. This cycle tour “is” our daily life.
Days were similar in New Zealand but in SE Asia, we never cooked a meal and the days were warmer and longer so we rode more kilometers each day.