Well, it’s been a week since I got home and unpacked everything. Everyone is asking me the same question, “Will you do it again?” Honest answer, “I don’t know.” BUT, as the week wears on, and the scars heal, I’m starting to lean heavily towards, “Maybe!”
The ride was one of my long term goals. The thing that surprised me about the majority of the entrants I spoke to was that many of them were repeat riders. They were obviously hooked. This is a good sign. So it may not be a one off… I would be keen to return and catch up with some of my new mates, riding acquaintances etc, and see how they are getting on.
Things I liked
Well, the organisation and running of the ride is, let’s face it, a nightmare. The lead up and preparation for the ride and the logistics of providing food, shelter, toilet and shower facilities etc. must be a full time job for some very stressed people. My hat is off to them.
Then dealing with the various problems on the ride itself would be another matter. Never, at any time did I come across any volunteers or ride officials who were anything but, friendly, courteous and helpful. This is the difference between a ride becoming a ‘death march’ and a ‘fun, life-changing event’. A big “WELL DONE” to the hidden people who made the ride so much fun.
Of course I liked the ride itself. The day run into and out of Biggenden was particularly good, and the ride through to Imbil, Kenilworth and Maleny was magical.
The best part was making new friends, and getting out of my comfort zone on more than one occasion. This is where you learn more about yourself, and the kindness of strangers.
Things I Didn’t Like
People who pushed into the lines. The lines moved fairly quickly anyway, so there wasn’t much to complain about really. But for some it was a cardinal sin to stand at the back of the line, and too often we saw people shoving in front of others. I’ve worked in places where blood would have been spilled. But it’s a testimony to my fellow riders and the fun spirit of the event that the few ‘butt in bozos’ were tolerated with barely a shrug of the shoulders. I think it’s a country / city thing. We rural-ish folk aren’t used to long cues, or being in crowded spaces for too long, and it sort of grates us a bit. Whereas for our city counterparts it’s a natural way of life, and something they can do without even thinking about it.
Riders who didn’t call out when passing you. The number of times I went to pass someone only to discover that I was in the process of being passed myself were too numerous to mention. Plus riders who would pull out to pass and not look before doing so. The number of times I saw cars, trucks, etc. brake and swerve to miss ignorant riders was waaay too many. My heart got a good workout just by jumping into my mouth several times a day!
But the only thing that really annoyed me was some of my fellow riders’ obsession with wanting to smear poo all over the toilets. I don’t know what would possess a person to want to wipe crap all over a toilet seat, wall, and floor, but geez I wish they hadn’t done it. By day 3 of the ride I was hunting for a relatively clean public toilet, because the ‘poo pigs’ had driven me out of the hired units. A big THANKS to the toilet vendors though. These ‘Kennies’ worked hard to keep the toilets and showers running in as clean a state as possible, in some trying circumstances at times at times, and they deserve a big pat on the back.
A Special Mention
A huge thankyou and cyber hug to Jane Clarke, who has been my personal Guardian Angel before and after the ride. Her upbeat emails, and assistance really set my mind at ease before the event, and I was glad to get to meet her in person and thank her. Even last week she took the time to email me the details on where the hell my bike got to. As usual it came down to a company in Gladstone providing the ‘usual’ crappy service for its’ customers. If a company ever offered anyone in this town good service, it would be about 3 days before the rest of the towns’ vendors turned up with pitchforks and flaming brands to run it out of town. People like Jane would just be shot as an example to other shop keepers thinking of being helpful, polite and nice to their customers. Good onya Jane!
Apparently next year the tour is going to start and finish at Toowoomba. There’s some nice country around that area, some good hills, lots of flats, and some pretty little towns. I was initially disappointed that they didn’t choose a run through Central Qld, but the more I think about it, the more I’m warming to the idea of riding from Toowoomba to… Toowoomba.
If I do go though with it, then I’m pretty sure it will be on a Giant CRX-4 this time. AND, I will get it professionally serviced before hand to remove any annoying creaks and cracks… and I will buy a new, leak proof tent. Being cold is one thing, but being wet and cold is another. There’s only so many nights you can get by wrapping yourself up in newspaper to keep warm.
Thanks to all the nice folk reading my blog, and sending me positive feedback. You’re all welcome! It’s been a blast writing this thing, and I think I’ll keep going with it! Although I’ve pretty much written out my ride material, for now. I suppose I’ll have to start having more adventures and blog those… sounds more fun than tiling the house, building garden beds and retaining walls!