Greg Waddell - Munda Biddi Derailleured March 2020

My plan was for a Munda Biddi E2E from South to North taking 30 days. Just me and my bike through the magnificent tall forest and coast of southwest WA. Oh, and the birds (I'm a Twitcher) ...bliss! The bike is a Cannondale CS Quick hybrid with front suspension, 50mm front knobby, only 42mm knobby on the back due to frame restrictions, and front and rear racks. My preparation started in Victoria in early March 2020, just before Covid-19 really changed things up.

Visit the bike shop, get a bike box & service. New back panniers replaced 40-year-old canvas Karimoor ones that are finally too decrepit to use. Check the gear list, pack the panniers, box the bike, check the weight distribution, repack and off to town. I am the only passenger on the Airport Bus... COVID-19 is just starting to have an effect but I am thinking ‘good move Greg, you’ll escape all this on the trail, out on my own in the forest.’

At the airport I put on a face mask and after a late start I’m on my way to Albany via Perth. At Perth Airport I check in for the regional flight and am surprised by the extra $140 charge for excess baggage. My luggage is late arriving, but the flight is late leaving, so thankfully my luggage and I made it onto the flight to Albany together. Ideally, I wanted to ride from Albany Airport to the hostel, but not up for it now - taxi instead.

For some reason, whilst sitting in the front seat, I take off my face mask and feel it’s okay with just the driver, even though he would have been ferrying passengers for ages. All the while I feel a little uneasy about this decision, however, the cabbie didn’t seem too concerned. The hostel is full of European backpackers, no one seems to be avoiding each other. I do my best to keep my distance, use lots of hand sanitiser, and have my own room.

The next day I spent in Albany getting prepared. I stock up on food, buy some light walking boots, metho for Trangia, freeze dried meals, get an updated map from Parks & Wildlife, chat to a Canadian cycle tourist and even manage to get a massage. Pack, ready to go tomorrow.

Day 1 Albany to Cosy Corner East

Standard morning routine for the trip – pack inside tent stuff, paw paw cream on butt as a precaution, soak muesli, ½ hr Tai Chi, eat brekky, pack bike, ride. Twitch if the situation calls for it. Generally flat easy riding through coastal scrub and lowland forests that look a bit like Victoria, except the plant species look slightly different. No watch or idea of time... using the sun if needed for a vague idea. No need for GPS. Map and compass great for a low-tech man like me. Find a great bird hide at Lake Powell – saw an Osprey catching a fish, red-capped Plovers, Little Grassbird, and Red-winged Fairy Wren. Country is similar to SE Gippsland. The Cosy Corner Cafe is a great little café - Woodfire Pizza night this evening, but I am all set for ‘Back Country’ freeze dried cuisine tonight!

At the end of Day 1 I realise that my bike is too heavy with the full touring set up, 50kg of bike and gear! I'm wondering if the journey is even possible... I may be walking and pack hauling a bit on steeper tracks, I feel okay about that too. Today, I was already in 2nd gear on some of the dirt roads on gentle undulations so I hope I’m fitter by the time I get to a decent hill!

Day 2 Cosy Cnr East to Denmark

1 map down, 8 to go! Got a good tailwind today, most of the way. Some nice bush tracks interspersed with farmland, then wide dirt roads, some tar, more undulations and a stop at Hay River for a refreshing swim in the brackish river.

The Denmark Info Centre is right at the top of a steep hill in town and is closed on weekends and public hols after 2pm! What’s the point of that! The IGA is great though! I have time and energy in the legs, so decide to keep going. Hit the Heritage Trail junction just out of town and there’s a council sign ‘MB detoured west along heritage trail’ (as of last week). Hmmm... I ring the council for details and of course, not open on Sat. I entertained riding the MB anyway, but I’d need to ride all the way along the coastal dunes before I’d know if I’d get through, and that was too far to risk. Head back to Denmark and stay at the Caravan Park by the river mouth. From the camp kitchen I see a Carnaby’s Cockatoo, Scarlet Robin, Nankeen Kestrel and Golden Whistler! I feel a little disappointed that the heritage trail detour cuts off 18km of the ‘WOW’ Coastal Ride (hmm must be good!), but it does mean less hills.

Day 3 Denmark to Junung Beigabup

On the Munda Biddi they are referred to as huts but I call them shelters... they’re not enclosed, so I reckon shelter is more like it! Quite a pleasant cruise along the Heritage Trail today, basically a well-pruned fire trail through forest and farmland. After crossing the South Coast Hwy the Trail goes through some nice forest for the first couple of k’s. After a few days of appreciated tail winds, I hit a bit of a headwind for the short section to the steep and sustained tar hill climb – I refused to give in to the granny gear and cranked up slowly. Highlight in the forest section before the climb was a Sparrowhawk, with a Yellow-rumped Thornbill in its talons, moving ahead of me looking for a lunch perch.

Later on, I came across my first other E2Eer’s – a couple of 30-something guys from Perth riding south with gravel bikes sporting fat knobbies and very little gear! They seemed to be fuelled on Red Bull, Coke and Gummy Bears from what I could see! I thought ‘what am I doing with all this stuff...and weight?!’ They are doing a ‘bike-packing’ type ride covering around 100-130km per day with no tent, but staying in accommodation in the towns. They have no maps or compass, and are using only the trail signage with the very occasional google map! Wow, and I’m watching my map like a hawk! They’re doing the trail in 10 days; I’m doing it in 30! Being younger and more adept at technology, they had checked out the MB Facebook page and called Oliver at the Foundation to find out that the detour track I took this morning was actually open on the weekend, although there was nothing on the council sign about that. They also confirmed that the WOW section is supposed to be spectacular and possibly one of the highlights of the trip! Seems the world truly does run on Facebook and my luddite status didn’t work so well this time! I’m actually feeling okay about it and working on just accepting things as they are.

From there it was a fairly cruisey ride until just before the hut where I hit my first real single track. A bit of sand, a bit of gradient and it wasn’t long before I was walking/pushing up steeper sections as the back wheel spun out or slowed in the sand. I had to stop and rest a few times too and felt pretty legless by then. I did feel good to have gotten the ‘push/walk’ out the way so I could just submit on future occasions! I only did 30 odd k’s today, but enjoyed resting on the shelter verandah doing a bit of twitching. I saw two new bird species, a Rufous Tree Creeper and White-breasted Robin, and later on a White Browed Babbler and a purple-crowned Lorikeet, or was it an Elegant Parrot? I spent a bit of time on bike maintenance and hope I’ve fixed the annoying brake squeak that’s persisted for the past 3 days.

Day 4 Junung Beigabup to Booner Mundak

I woke early and headed off – still no real idea of the time! Beautiful start to the day on single-track downhill through tall forests all the way to Mt Lindesay. The squeak returned even after my meticulous straightening of the front disc. I’m thinking it must be the front wheel bearings (paw paw cream might do the job since I don’t have grease)!

The highlight today was the biggest mob of wild Emu I’ve ever seen. Generally mild undulating country with occasional steep sections on one of which I had my first ‘drop’ of the bike. The front wheel slipped in the pea gravel (small round ‘pea’ rocks of Ironstone which are sort of compacted, but often loose and slippery), it was more like I ‘lay’ the bike down than dropped it, I was going so slow! Walk the 20m to the top...

Found a magnificent spot at Kent River for lunch at a deep pool and groovy suspension bridge. I hung out there for a while then pushed the bike (again!) up the short steep rise on the other side. Glad I got the stigma out of my system yesterday, anyways I was way too relaxed to be bothered riding. It was gentle undulations again for the next 10km’s, pretty easy riding. The vegetation reminded me of the damp heathland in the Grampians. I started to feel a bit knackered by the last 3km, but I was thinking ‘easy riding, nearly there’! And then I hit the sand! Had a few spots of pushing the bike where the sand was too deep to ride.

I arrived at Booner Mundak with a fair bit of light left. It's a really nice campsite here with less stony ground than the last hut. It was nice to be away from the hut and out under the stars surrounded by bush instead of walls and roof. Ten minutes after I arrived, a couple of guys rolled in who’d come from Walpole heading south to Albany on an E2E. They said it was a brutal day which was reinforced in the hut journal. So, I’m preparing for a hard day tomorrow – sand on the flats, some very steep climbing, and spectacular scenery as well.

Birds today: Kookaburra, WF Heron, W Rosella, Grey Shrike-thrush, female Rufus Whistler, quite a few RTB Cockatoos in the forest sections, usual suspects of other birds and ubiquitous Grey Fantail.

Day 5 – Booner Mundak to Walpole

I woke with the orange dawn after a beautiful night under the stars. I took it very easy for the first half hour on the bike. Some sand and undulations but rode through no worries. I got into the habit of regularly checking the back of my bike while riding to make sure everything was still in place over the rough bits. After a few k’s I noticed one of my panniers was precariously hanging on by one clip, I also found one of the bolts holding my rear rack had just about worked itself out, eeek!

I was feeling good and ready for the climb I could see in the distance. It certainly was steep, first time using granny gear but not too long, I didn’t have to push! Cresting the peak, I was in a beautiful cool tall forest with a mottled shade descent - wide, smooth, quiet, a dense covering of eucalyptus leaves on the track with only a few sticks to avoid. It was absolutely sublime and I was blissing out 100%.

Next thing, I heard a ‘CRUNCH!’ and the back wheel came to a grinding halt. I’d ridden over a few sticks on the way down, but with the mottled leaves and shade I didn’t see the stick that rammed up into my derailleur, ripped the derailleur hinge apart and broke a spoke. I had to smile...I knew that trips like this usually bring up something unexpected! I’d done all the hard climbing and the rest of the day was basically a beautiful downhill cruise through awesome forest.

I was impressed that I wasn’t fazed at all... just got to work trying to repair things. I eventually pried the hinge back into place and was amazed the metal didn’t snap. This was when I discovered that that part of the derailleur was made of plastic! Cheap Alivio Shimano! Next job was to remove the broken spoke being on the cluster side it was bloody difficult to get out. No way was I going to attempt to replace it without being able to remove the cluster! I re-tightened the remaining spokes around the break to straighten the wheel somewhat, left the nipple in the rim, and gingerly rolled downhill to the Treetop Walk. The gears seemed to sort of work a bit which was good ‘cause I had 26km to go!

The trail along Frankland River is an absolute highlight with tall forest which reminds me of the Otway Range. There were some steep sections, and today brought clear blue skies, the first of the trip. I stopped at Monastery Landing on a small jetty and had a swim and 2nd lunch. So beautiful here, with the whistle of wind in the treetops, occasional fish jumping, and sporadic birdsong. The ride from the Landing was undulating, some single track, some burnt sections (one section still on fire from controlled burns!) and the forest again was absolutely beautiful.

I stay at Coalmine Beach Caravan Park, and head into Walpole on a heathy track; spy three Quokkas, to add to the Roos and Wallabies I’ve seen. No dining-in in town due to Covid, seems things have changed a bit since I last checked 5 days ago. WA is closing its borders, as have a few other states. Ate dinner on the beach at sunset after a quick refreshing swim in the shallow inlet. Rest day tomorrow to reassess bike status, plan upcoming days between towns and stock up on food.

Day 6 Walpole

First job, sort out the derailleur. As there are no bike shops in the area, this may be a challenge! My best chance was to find a bike shop that would express post a replacement derailleur to me. I recalled Melo Velo Cycles in Bunbury being mentioned on the MB website so I rang them to see if they could help me out...yes! I could either wait here in Walpole hoping it would arrive tomorrow sometime, or ride 3 days to Northcliffe where I could collect it. This would mean risking derailleur failure again, but since I’d got through 26km with my repair, I was optimistic I might get another few days out of it if I was careful. The Walpole Visitor Centre was incredibly helpful, as was Wendy at Northcliffe Visitor Centre. I decide to head onto Northcliffe. Wendy will have it for me to pick up on Saturday when I arrive, or I can pick it up from her house - super generous!!

Seems Covid is kicking in now...bakery closed, library closed, caravan park virtually empty. I was told by the IGA last night when I rushed in before it closed, that I should come back tomorrow after 11am because the morning was ‘locals’ time.

Well after 11am today, there was a staff member out front refusing anyone who was not local. They had changed their policy and were now permanently ‘locals only’. Eeek! How am I going to get food to stock up for the next 3 days in huts away from towns?? I pleaded my case that I was there last night and told to come today and I needed to stock up to be able to get to Northcliffe on my bike. They must have felt sorry for me as they let me in for a quick grab of a few crucials to get me to Northcliffe. God knows what will happen in Northcliffe then???!!

I’ve been writing this journal on scrap paper of old plane tickets, hostel bookings, trail diversion maps I’ve passed, but I’m getting short on paper now…

Day 7 - Walpole to Kwokralup Beela Hut

Beautiful clear morning, warm and again light to little wind. Cruisy pedalling on undulating roads with pea gravel and sand but previous rains meant the sand was ok.

Stopped and had a walk around Swarbrick Rec Site. I found it one of the most puzzling things I’ve seen in a Nat Park! Large industrial sculptures aiming to induce connection and contemplation of nature. And all joined by a wide gravelled urban type path. I wondered why looking at the magnificent forest and tall trees themselves wasn’t a direct and powerful way to connect to nature? Perhaps these installations would be more appropriate in an urban setting to remind and connect us back to nature?

I’m now at Kwokralup Beela hut where I’ve arrived at the end of a short day and feel a strong connection to nature, marvel at the tall Karri? and I presume Tingle? or other stringybarks. Beautiful forest and a Noongar sacred river – Beela (the Frankland River). This specific area is Kwokralup. I feel a very strong peace here and although I had time to pedal further, this place is just so beautiful that I couldn’t leave. I walked to the river, twitching and just ‘being’ in this wilderness. Scarlet Robin, Silvereye, New Holland Honey-eater, White Breasted Robin, Wren, White-browed Scrubwren (race maculatus), Western Wattlebird and the highlight, a Red-eared Firetail! It began to rain lightly after quite a while so I’ve come back to the shelter for a cuppa and to write. I stood on the picnic table watching the stars fade into cloud and the flashes of lightning from both east and west; decided I’d put my tent inside the shelter on the sleeping platform.

Day 8 - Kwokralup Beela – Yirra Kartta hut

Last night I fell asleep to the rain pattering on the tin roof; there were bouts of lightning and thunder and patches of heavy rain during the night. At one stage I woke from a nightmare to the sound of loud ‘gonging’ plonks echoing in the shelter as incessant water dripped onto the tank after the rain.

It was like Chinese water torture with sound! I was so agitated I had to move the tent out into the verandah roof area; could be my first and last time sleeping in a shelter!

I’ve now moved my writing onto the back of a trail diversion map in advance of using it as things are getting dire on the paper shortage front! Beautiful morning with a warm westerly already up just after dawn. Again, an undulating day with some spectacular single track, tall forest and sandy heath.

I dropped the bike again today in loose pea gravel... just a slight camber on the road, a slight turn of the bars as I looked sideways to check out a bit of Emu scat (it was a bit of wood!) and out slipped the front wheel. A short uphill push ensued. Enjoyed a beautiful smooth ride on a compacted sandy narrow track through low dense heath. About 20m from the end, the dense Banksia had encroached on the narrow track to such an extent that it was scraping against my legs and panniers. At one stage I deflected off one bush, which pushed me to the other side, whereupon I hit another Banksia, lost control and fell over sideways into the prickly heath with a thud! Both bike and I over this time. And I was going so very slowly too... only one minor cut but wow, it’s that easy to crash!

I’ve barely seen a car on the trip so far (except in towns) but there are some drawbacks to fire trails, back roads and single track that take a little away from full enjoyment of the beautiful natural surrounds. Ever vigilant for sticks and snakes (both potentially game changers for the trip), and other challenges such as deep sections of pea gravel or larger ‘spud’ size rocks that could burst a tube and cause a crash, I often need to focus my concentration on the track.

Swim at the Ordinance Rd crossing of Deep Creek (first lunch) and another swim in the gorgeous pool at Fernhook Falls (might be a good spot to camp next time??). Not much water at Ordinance Rd but enough for a refreshing dip.

I’ve watched the sunset on top of the bald granite hill of Yirra Kartta (360-degree view), marvelled at the plant communities growing in depressions on the granite and the flakes that over years have separated themselves from the massive hill. There are stars and a sickle moon out, but still quite a bit of wind and cloud around, so I’ve hedged my bets and placed my tent on the edge of the deck under the stars without the fly. I’m absolutely loving the ride and also finding it quite physically challenging... (maybe less weight next time and a wider rear tyre).

Grey Shrike-thrush and Western Rosella birds of the day (and the ubiquitous Grey Fantail of course!)

Day 9 - Yirra Kartta hut – Northcliffe

It did rain overnight and continued raining on and off the whole morning but I was never cold riding so it was beautiful! It was a day of general undulations with nothing super challenging. I made it to the Boorara Tree in good shape just as the rain stopped. There was a nice warm little replica hut of the lookout tower that apparently sat 80m above the ground at the top of a Karri tree.

I’ve changed my tact now on my ride style and am hitting ‘granny’ gear on anything that looks like some sort of hill. Body feels better for it too.

There was a big storm last night as well as the rain and heavy winds which deposited many more sticks onto the roads and tracks. I’ve been super careful with sticks since the derailleur incident, but still getting up some speed downhill.

6k’s from Northcliffe however, I came to the last real climb... into granny gear and very slowly crankin uphill. Skilfully slipped between two sticks (I thought) and suddenly ‘CRUNCH!’. I did exactly the same thing I did previously! Broke a spoke, but this time ripped the derailleur right off the hinge and caught the idler pulley in the spokes. Whoops! This time it looked less easy to repair... thank god I’m only 6k’s from Northcliffe to get the new derailleur... pretty good timing really... and it’ll be a roll/walk mainly downhill to get there...

I decided to give the derailleur one last hoick to see if I could get it back in and..... ‘SNAP!’ I broke the hanger/drop out that the derailleur bolts onto! Hmmm... now that complicates things a little!!

Without the hanger, the new derailleur in Northcliffe is absolutely useless! (nothing to screw it onto). I didn’t get too upset to my surprise. Instead, I took this as a reinforcement of the lesson I was supposed to learn about stopping and taking time out to consider a problem before barging straight in. I used brute force when I should have stopped and had a breather. I could easily have removed the derailleur and rolled into Northcliffe and screwed the new one on and ‘Bob’s your uncle!’.

I resigned myself to the situation and actually really enjoyed the roll/walk through farmland and single track forest into the Visitor Centre in town. I was greeted by an enthusiastic Wendy with my rescue derailleur! “Ah bummer, not much use now!”

After much logistical discussion and great help from Wendy, I decided to go 2km up the road to the Caravan Park for the night (despite offers from a cottage owner who was in the centre who would do a ‘good price’ for me); pretty hard to beat $17 a night. But what to do about the hanger/dropout for the derailleur??

Being Saturday arvo, I was too late to ring a bike shop, and the next day being Sunday would mean I could wait around until Monday to call to see if anyone had the part, and then wait another day at least for them to send it...

I resolved to catch the bus 3hrs north the next morning to Bunbury and Melo Velo Cycles (who provided the new derailleur) so I’d be there first thing the day after (Monday morn) to find a bike shop and the part. Before all that though, the first stop was a trip to Wendy’s place to see her family’s mountain bikes as she generously offered that I could take the ‘hanger’ from one of them if it fit (none did). She also put me onto her friend Mark who’s a bike mechanic who explained that being a Cannondale I might have trouble finding such a specialized part even in Bunbury, and that if I do find one, get TWO of them!! No mountain biker should venture out without them, as they are designed to snap to protect the derailleur. Wish I’d known that beforehand! I’ve never broken one of these in my life, nor even knew they were meant to break.

So, my bike would need to come with me to Bunbury. Might be a blessing since I might get the 2 spokes fixed as well!

I really loved the caravan park in Northcliffe. Very bushy, very laid back, nothing flash, but the camp kitchen had everything I needed (including crockery, cutlery, saucepans etc that the flash ones down the coast didn’t have). Only me and Bob from Donnybrook in his caravan. Dave the owner even offered to drive me to the tip to see if there might be a hanger on one of the old bikes there!!

Day 10 - Side trip Northcliffe to Bunbury

Cruisy walk/roll into town, some fruit and snacks for the bus, and a quite ok bus ride into Bunbury. The farm/bush country easily could have been central Victoria. Rolled/walked from the station into the town centre to the Visitors Centre which was closed anyway! Shared some biscuits with a talkative homeless woman then bought some supplies at the supermarket and walked/rolled 1km to the caravan park cabin. Had a nice swim and walk along Bunbury Foreshore then spent the evening researching bike shops on my smartphone. If all goes to plan, I’ll be at the bike shop at opening time 8.30am, get the bike dealt with, pick up some more backcountry meals, and a new shirt, and be on the 12 o’clock bus back to Northcliffe with a ride-able bike!

Day 11 - Side trip return Bunbury to Northcliffe

Melo Velo was closest to the caravan park so I walked/rolled (“warolled”) there. By 8.30am they still hadn’t opened the bike shop, so I called Fitzroy Cycles. And how bloody good are they!!! Yep, Keaton, the mechanic, straight away paused his other work and put my bike up on the repair stand and removed the remaining bit of the hanger. After 5 min of foraging he returned with a match!! Not only did he attach the hanger, he put on the new derailleur I had from Melo Velo, replaced the 2 spokes, trued the back wheel, replaced the cable, adjusted the brakes and front gear changer for me right there and then! Bloody Legend! As recommended by Wendy’s bike mechanic friend, I also got a second ‘dropout’ as a back-up. I showed my appreciation of his incredible generosity and left the shop feeling so happy and excited to have a bike that worked again! I can’t really describe the joy, but it was more like elation! And, it was only 9.30 so I’d make the 12 o’clock bus no worries!

Cruisey bus ride back and made the most of the ½ hour stop in Manjimup to shop for the next 3 days of riding to get me from Northcliffe back to Manjimup where I’d be able to re-stock again. With the rolling out or more and more Covid restrictions, I’d reassess once in Manjimup whether I could continue with the ride.

I had learned that the WA govt is closing internal regional borders by midnight tomorrow night and I have another week at least of riding in this region before getting into the next (Perth) region.So, while the pushy is now in perfect order, weather is looking great, and expecting some more magnificent tall forests, perhaps further contemplation needed.

I RODE! back to the caravan park in Northcliffe... ate, sorted out and packed what gear I could then sat back with a cuppa and reflected. I was starting to feel uneasy about everything Covid. I decided to sleep on it, ride to the Visitor centre in the morning to join the MB trail, and drop in there first to get the latest updates and make a final decision.

I woke in the middle of the night...

I felt strongly that I should at least catch the bus into the next region in the morning, so I wouldn’t be stuck in this region or have to illegally cross into the Perth region. I checked the bus timetable and I could get a bus and train the next morning into the Perth region, or all the way to Perth that day.

At this midnight hour of clarity, 3 more days riding actually looked difficult and against my ethical judgement, so I totally surrendered the MB trail and in the morning I’d ring Virgin to find a flight in a day or two, and I’d get on the bus/train (if the train would take my bike??) and begin the journey back to more heavily infected Victoria via high risk public transport, airports, and flights!

With the rolling out or more and more Covid restrictions, I’d reassess once in Manjimup whether I could continue with the ride. I had learned that the WA govt is closing internal regional borders by midnight tomorrow night and I have another week at least of riding in this region before getting into the next (Perth) region. So, while the pushy is now in perfect order, weather is looking great, and expecting some more magnificent tall forests, perhaps further contemplation needed.

I RODE! back to the caravan park in Northcliffe... ate, sorted out and packed what gear I could then sat back with a cuppa and reflected. I was starting to feel uneasy about everything Covid. I decided to sleep on it, ride to the Visitor centre in the morning to join the MB trail, and drop in there first to get the latest updates and make a final decision.

I woke in the middle of the night...

I felt strongly that I should at least catch the bus into the next region in the morning, so I wouldn’t be stuck in this region or have to illegally cross into the Perth region. I checked the bus timetable and I could get a bus and train the next morning into the Perth region, or all the way to Perth that day.

At this midnight hour of clarity, 3 more days riding actually looked difficult and against my ethical judgement, so I totally surrendered the MB trail and in the morning I’d ring Virgin to find a flight in a day or two, and I’d get on the bus/train (if the train would take my bike??) and begin the journey back to more heavily infected Victoria via high risk public transport, airports, and flights!

Day 12 - Northcliffe to Perth

So, here I am in a Caravan Park cabin 10k’s from Perth airport eating ½ a ‘Back Country’ hotpot for dinner (don’t get this flavour again!).

There was a Virgin flight in 2 days time, and the train could take the bike. So I spent a bit of the morning hanging out at the bus stop in Northcliffe and did some twitching... Silvereyes, Fairy Wrens (non-breeding so couldn’t discern exact species), a Thornbill with striated breast, red eye, similar to Brown Thornbill but held its tail up... Inland Thornbill. Oh, and of course, Grey Fantail!

Had a cruisy day of sitting looking out public transport windows (third day in a row!).

The ride from Perth station to my overnight stop was 90% really good bike path! Seems Perth has a magnificent set up for the outdoor lifestyle.

Day 13 - Perth Central Caravan Park

Awake a lot in the night wondering what I’ll do once back to no home?

The next day I decided to do a test run to the airport to check if there was a bike box there, see if I could check in, and to suss out the route so I didn’t get lost or have any surprises when on a flight timeframe tomorrow. A pleasant ½ hr ride on another great bike path, almost all the way to the terminal...incredible!! At the airport, Virgin checked me in and assured me there were lots of bike boxes in the storage room so I just needed to arrive early enough tomorrow morning to dismantle my bike and pack it into the box, and pack my panniers into the cheap plastic luggage bag.


The 300km of the Munda Biddi trail I got through proved to be a fantastic taster and gave me plenty of inspiration to return for the whole E2E. I also learned a heap about what ‘Not to Do or Bring’ for next time! Met some really lovely people, including the townsfolk who were helpful and welcoming. The country and bird-life is spectacular (even without the ‘Wow’ bit) and this time of year was perfect for temperature and prevailing winds going South-North. Whilst I rode unsupported carrying all my gear, I wouldn’t recommend this for the beginner or unfit cyclist, although there are certainly sections that would be easier going to whet your appetite if you are wondering about cycle touring (or maybe even an E2E!) in this beautiful part of the country.

Gear (things I didn’t use in italics):

Front Handlebar bag

Handlebar bag rain cover, small binoculars, map and compass in clear pocket, reading glasses, sunglasses, sunscreen, swimming earplugs, Gastrolyte, hand sanitiser, pocket knife, lip balm, paw paw cream, pen, bag of nuts, muesli bar, piece of fruit

Under seat tool bag

Repair kit, rag, lock, small cable ties, tools – Allen keys, spare bolts, small shifter, small pliers, small screw driver, small Phillips head, flat pedal spanner, tyre levers, spoke tool.

Rear rack bag

Food in tupperware... 2 mandarins, 2 tomatoes, 2 plums, cheese triangles, jar of nut butter, spinach, GF flatbread, sachet of black pepper. Tupperware with phone, wallet, Smartphone, keys, leads, head torch, torch batteries (2) and spare batteries (2).

Small daypack strapped on top of rear rack bag

Thongs, tent poles, rain jacket, fluoro vest, 2 person Trangia (with matches, lighter, 1 bowl, spondonicals, tea towel, spoon, mug, fuel burner). Solar phone charger clipped on top, bungy strap to hold bag on

Front pannier 1

First Aid kit, spare tubes x2, spare tyre, spare spokes, (will add spare drop-out for future rides!) Chain break, spare link, spare pannier clamps (2), large cable ties, Oil lube, gaffa tape, cleat screws, needle and thread, thermarest repair patch, plastic bags (if needed; small for wet socks/shoes, large for inside panniers, medium for sleeping stuff), Trowel, toilet paper, extra hand sanitiser, mozzie repellent, extra stuff sacks, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, earplugs, puritabs

Front Pannier 2

Food – dinners and snacks (which seemed to balance out all the unused stuff on the other side!

Rear Pannier 1

Groundsheet, tent, camp pillow, sleeping bag, thermarest, sleeping bag liner, clothes to sleep in: t-shirt, boxers

Rear Pannier 2

Clothes- light walking boots, long pants, thermal pants, shorts, 2 thermal tops (1 cycle, 1 camp), Fleece jumper, Beanie, Neck warmer, thermal gloves, peaked sunhat, 2 pairs thick socks (1 cycle, 1 camp), 2 pairs jocks, spare cycle shorts, 2 pairs thin riding socks, Sarong. Spare 1lt water bottle, Fuel bottle (1lt), Maps and all diversions, paper info re trip in waterproof ziplock

Bike stuff

Pump, 2 water bottles, helmet, gloves, clip in bike shoes, loose riding business shirt, cycle shorts, board shorts over cycle shorts