RTA Big Ride 2006 diary

Day 0: Travel to Holbrook
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This year there was a travel option that started on the day before the ride, allowing us to stay at a motel overnight and get a good night's sleep instead of arriving at 8am, and immediately checking in and riding. Naturally I felt that this was a good option to I jumped at the chance. Therefore we had to gather for the bus to Holbrook at 1pm on the Friday.

The coach locations map actually showed the wrong place for the Sydney coach departures, so the taxi let me off at the actual bus stop on Lee Street, rather than in the bus terminal itself. Apparently if I had been browsing the BINSW we site I might have seen some indication of the actual location. As it was, I had to drag the boxed bike and two bags down Lee Street to the terminal. Thankfully some other riders in a similar situation had found the location and were heading that way and were also able to help me cope with the fact that the bottom was falling out of the box.

waiting for the bus
waiting for the bus

I heard that we only have about 750 riders. One of the guys waiting for the coach was the BUG coordinator for BINSW. and he said that they're all pissed off at Bicycle Victoria for poaching the NSW riders with a ride in WA, which starts just as we finish. That's a bit specious, I think, since both organisations have a major ride each year anyway and people will generally budget for one or the other. Bicycle Victoria has picked somewhere new and sexy to go this year and if BINSW can't compete, too bad.

Two coaches arrived and Debbie split us up so that all people for certain motels went on a certain coach. That ended up such that one bus (the other one) was chockas, where as the one I was on was only about a third full. At least that gave me room to relax, rather than spending 7 hours cramped up next to someone. I think that we left Sydney about 1:30pm.

We stopped at the Yass Service Center at about 5:30pm, where I had a dodgey roast beef roll. To counteract that I had to get a back of chips and some lollies. At about 8:15 we arrived in Holbrook and it was a real mess. A couple of people were left in the lurch after the bus driver couldn't take them to the motels they'd booked. Apparently the scheme whereby we would be taken to the motels was a new one, sprung on the bus company at the last minute - they had been contracted under the scheme of taking us all to the ride headquarters (and, of course, how we'd have found our ways to the motels from there I don't know). The driver had no map of the town or motel locations, and we found out that one of the people had to get to a small town near Holbrook. This made the driver less than amused as he explained that he was only allowed to drive for eight hours, which left him just enough time to get back to Sydney. He definitely couldn't spend time wandering the country roads looking for a motel.

The driver ended up dropping them at headquarters on the way beck through town to the Holbrook Settlers, where I was booked in, and a couple who were also staying there took the opportunity to ask the staff about the collection of luggage in the morning. Grant and Lauren were given an earful by someone who we found out was the new Events Coordinator, Gaye - in charge of the whole ride. Apparently there was never any plan for BINSW to organise collection of our luggage (despite evidence in a letter sent to us) and we were ingrates and carping low-life for suggesting that BINSW was not keeping its promises - which are still clearly printed on the website 4 days after the ride. Luckily, when we got to the motel, the owners said that the locals had organised a volunteer service to pick up the bags and take them to the check-in point.

Lauren had become quite chatty after I recognised her t-shirt logo as being The Cheat from homestarrunner and complementing her on her taste. After getting our gear stored away in our motel rooms, Grant, Lauren and I went across to the only place open for dinner at 9:30 (apart from the pub which was 10 minutes walk away) - the truck stop across the Hume and down a bit. The food was generally atrocious, as you would imagine, but I had sausages and eggs from the breakfast menu and they were edible.

Ride Statistics

No riding today

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