Back on the track

Susan Frankel
I swore I'd stay on a bike track if I ever gave bike riding another go. People will always cheer you on with life's about moving forward. Tell that to someone who’s been in the wars with machinery or cars or bikes and has fears of having it happen all over again. As it turned out, it wasn't pain that was putting me off, the fear, or even taking things slowly. It was something far more basic; my bike. I've had some tricky moments out there, but I hate missing out.
Posted by: 
Susan Frankel on 29/04/2014
A bicycle locked on a pole in a street.

The bike will get the flick.

Recently I went with my two friends Richie and Bernii down a long bike track. There was country to view: old railway tracks, cows, patchy old farm cars, birds and beauty. The path was fairly straight and easy, mainly flat but also curved to show off new sights of trees and wavy grass. It was quiet and peaceful and we had time to look and enjoy each new sight. It was a 45-kilometre journey from Geelong station to Queenscliff, Victoria. It had been around 10 years off my bike after a biking disaster and I thought it was better not tempt fate ever again. But the invitation to join friends for the weekend and get out into the open was too good to refuse. 

The day before our planned journey I had pulled my bike up the road to see if the bike shop could raise the handle bars. No adjustment could be made. The attendant raised the seat a bit, which wasn't such a good thing as it turned out.

Beautiful view, bad cramps

The three of us cycled from Port Melbourne to Southern Cross station. I borrowed panniers and they were attached to my bike. We left the train at Geelong and cycled the Bellarine Rail Trail to Queenscliff. It's a 32 km walking and cycling track on the Bellarine Peninsula, which follows the route of the former South Geelong to Queenscliff railway branch line. 

It was very pretty but a hard ride for me. This was the bike I should have tossed years ago but was only now just realising it. It was me and my grossly mismatched bike. It was a male bike, had a bar across, low handlebars and at full throttle my chest collided with my knees. I fell over a few times because the seat was too high, my feet needed total ground grip when necessary and I was getting cramps in my shoulders and hands. The seat was lowered and Richie took control of the panniers and my sleeping bag. It was a stop and start journey, but we made it because of my friends' patience.

Caravan & camping community

We stayed at a Queenslcliff caravan and camping ground on the water. Caravan parks and camping grounds have their own rhythm. There are long-term and short-term stayers. But everyone is friendly and their tents and cars all look interesting, like their assorted owners.

It was good to be out in the open, watch the stars, cook dinner in the communal kitchen, share the food and drink a beer together. On Saturday we searched and found good coffee. Later on I walked the long stretch of moody beach and swam. We all had a little time by ourselves, exploring the land around us. Then together we strolled and visited some of the beautiful old local Queenscliff properties and breathed the atmosphere.

So we had a great time. The microcosm of caravan park life is always a delight. But although I was originally prepared to cycle back to Geelong, I decided it was best to catch the bus with my bike. I met my friends in Geelong and we caught the train back to Melbourne and then cycled back to Port Melbourne. All up I stumbled with the bike more than a few times, I have a scab on my knee and I'm on the lookout for a worthy tent. The bike will get the flick and will be replaced by a bike that is a good fit for me, and practical to ride. I want to make it real easy for our next adventure and I'm not missing out.