(If you missed it, here is Part One.)
The story resumes in Canberra, where I’m staying with friends Lisa and Simon (originally from Perth, like me, but who I got to know when I was living in London). Lisa was having her birthday celebration on Saturday afternoon and evening, which I had cunningly arranged my trip around. Good times were had all around with plenty of vegan food and wine and interesting new people … although I did notice that everyone there worked for the public service or the University. On Sunday I caught up with another friend, Sam. We went to visit Mt Stromlo and then the Canberra Deep Space Centre in Tidbinbilla. There was a certain irony to be to travelling on some of Canberra’s best biking roads as a passenger in a Hyundai Getz, but sometimes that’s just how things turn out.
On Monday, I set off for Sydney, taking the scenic route: taking Kings Highway down Clyde Mountain to Batemans Bay, the north along the coast to Nowra, where I turned off towards Kangaroo Valley. More wonderfully twisty (but slightly scary) roads to Kangaroo Valley and out the other side to Robertson, where I took another “scenic drive” turn-off down to Jamberoo. The descent had lots of hairpins and the road was narrow and damp, so I took it quite slowly. So slowly, in fact, that there was a Suzuki Swift stuck impatiently behind me. Sorry, Suzuki Swift driver! There wasn’t anywhere I could safely pull over.
After Jamberoo I returned to the main road and rode to Wollongong, where I stopped briefly to refuel and have a drink of water. Consulting my phone, I memorised the route to David’s place in Sydney … or so I thought! At some point along the way, I missed the turn-off and ended up on the Eastern Distributor, a toll freeway tunnel that spat me out right into the CBD at the tail end of peak hour. I had no idea of the road layout of central Sydney, nowhere I could legally park to consult my map and anyway I wasn’t moving very quickly in the dense traffic. I decided to park on the footpath for a bit to check my map, and after a few more missed turns, eventually made it to Petersham an hour later.
On Tuesday, I caught up with another friend during the day and spent more time chatting with David and his partner in the evening. On Wednesday, I went for a bit of a ride. Crawling through Sydney traffic to Windsor, then out through Sackville Ferry and Wisemans Ferry over the Hawkesbury River. After the second ferry, I turned left onto the dirt road out to St Albans, a historic settlement with some beautiful old architecture. After about 50km of gravel I returned to the main road at Wollombi, where I continued north towards Singleton. At some point I hit the start of Putty Road, a name familiar to bikers and sports cars in New South Wales. And what a glorious road it is: a smooth, wide road with 140km worth of corners, almost all of which can be taken easily at the speed limit (on a bike, anyway).
To be continued…