RTA Big Ride 2006 Diary

Introduction

This set of web pages contains the notes written on the RTA Big Ride in February/March 2006. The ride went from Holbrook on the Hume via Tumut, Gundagai, Cootamundra and Boorowa to finish in Binalong. The total distance was listed at 530 kilometres.

HMAS Otway
HMAS Otway

I also carried a Garmin GPS receiver with me this year and captured most of the ride GPS information. Each day's route is displayed with an image from Google Earth and I have route profile information from GPS Track Maker. I also have a Google Earth data file containing all the days, which is located here.

The following links will take you to the given day. Each day's entry will have links to this page and to the previous and next day's entry. Each day's entry will contain a few of the images taken during the day. A complete photo gallery is available here

I found out that James, the guy who started the NSW rides the same year I did, also has an on-line ride diary. With his permission, I'll link to a few photos from it for locations where I failed to take any myself. James also has some diaries for his Queensland rides which sound interesting. Unfortunately the plane travel required to get to one doesn't interest me particularly so I might have to be contented with reading about them.

Due to interest by some in taking part in next year's ride, I thought I'd give pointers to the last few rides, and provide a bit of a commentary on the day to day stuff. Firstly we get up at about 6:00 each day. Breakfast is cereal or porridge with something like eggs or waffles as the daily special. There's almost always a banana which everyone stores for later, on the ride. There's also an endless supply of hot water and tea bags. Some cold mornings, that hot cup in your hands is extremely welcome, even if you don't really drink tea.

After washing up your dishes, you take down your tent and pack up all your gear, making sure that you keep out your helmet, sunscreen and other stuff you'll need during the ride, and unlock your bike (they have to be locked every night in case some local decides to sneak in and pinch one). Then it's all luggage on the truck, and onto the bike, and off.

In the afternoon, it's pretty much the reverse. Get the luggage out of the pile from the truck, set up the tent and have a shower. Then you explore the town or collapse in a heap as your energy level requires. The Big Ride Brasserie is open from about 4pm for drinks but you usually all head for the local town pub a bit earlier than that to share a beer and some commiserations over the state of the heat or the hills or whatever.

At 6pm you get your dishes out and go to dinner. It's usually some rice or pasta with a side salad or a variety of vegetables, sometime with a mild curry. Usually on one of the last nights we get roast chicken. There's always a dessert which is generally fruit-based or Sara Lee cakes/pies. Dinner is almost always better than breakfast, which can be a little tragic (like a hard-boiled egg or two). Then it's time to wash up and probably get a good night's sleep if possible. Some nights, if the tent is in a bad location, the campground lighting can be quite annoying and an eye mask can be very handy. If there's a local band playing in camp I might stay up a bit, but generally I'm in my sleeping bag by about 8:30 or 9:00pm.

These days they have a camping option which didn't exist when I started in 2003: the Housing Commission, as it's loving called by the volunteers. Basically entrants can pay extra to have a supplied tent set up and torn down each day, rather than having to do it yourself. All your luggage is set up at the front of the tent, and you just have to worry about the riding, not so much the camping. Of course we real Big Riders look down on them. But of course there's degrees of machismo. Those on the ride in the early 90's recall that the showers then were simply cattle trucks or similar with no stalls, simple shower nozzles. They talk about women who got into the wrong truck and disrobed before they realised their mistake.




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