Best laid schemes o’ mice and men…..

Self improvement literature constantly reminds the reader: “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Well, I had planned to be in Melbourne two days earlier, but my failure to keep to that plan was my good fortune. Staying a couple of extra nights with Jim & Anne was the best thing that could ‘befall’ anyone.


I accompanied them to their church on Sunday, where I was warmly welcomed, and showered generously with donations.


We drove into the mountains to a country restaurant and enjoyed a plate of locally farmed trout


…then we went to check out a beautifully restored wooden trestle rail bridge,


that once carried a line for the transportation of logs. Through a combination of bush fires and arson, the line became unserviceable and had to be closed.
But temperatures continue to be in the mid 30s, so resting in the cool indoors, or plunging into the pool, are as much as the doctor would advise……:-) How sad!

Warragul-Melbourne 131km(82m)
So, what about the ‘best laid scheme’ for my departure? The concept of leaving about 6.30am, before sunrise, obviously reflects my prowess as a decision-maker……but when you are a guest in somebody else’s house, it has ramifications. My hosts valiantly dragged themselves out of bed, Jim courageously donned his cycling kit, and he led me to the outskirts of town, just as the sun was breaking the horizon……


….and riding in a westerly direction, I had it warming my back, and not dazzling my eyes (a feature that has been constant for the duration of my journey in both countries).
I passed through Garfield, Jim’s birthplace


….and I doffed my cycle helmet, and thought of Jim (nice place, Jim!). But my best laid scheme (to have a shorter ride and camp somewhere out of Melbourne) did ‘gang aft aglay’ (with apologies to the bard). Once again, I got the bit between my teeth, reached the homeward stretch following the cycle track round Port Philip Bay, saw the city skyline of Melbourne in the distance,


and just kept pedalling. And to cut a long story short (thank goodness, you are saying) I got to my hostel accommodation in the city centre before I was fried to a crisp in the suffocating 36C heat which, unfortunately, will be with us for two more days.
The upside of this planning failure is that, with the extra day in Melbourne, I’ve been able to book an all-day bus tour to see the delights of the Great Ocean Road. What a considerable gain, I would say!

So this is journey’s end. I go into ‘recess’ and the bike now will probably go into retirement.


The welded frame makes its future durability uncertain. The big question now is: do I leave it in Melbourne, or box it up, bring it home, and dine out on all the derring-do journeys we’ve had together over 20 years? Is there room for sentimentality in the life of a long distance cyclist?
Do help me with this quandary…..

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on March 11, 2013, in Australia: Sydney to Melbourne 1000kms and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. You’ve done it, Frank. What an achievement, and you’re coming home with a wonderful store of memories that no doubt will come out in dribs and drabs at our film nights. I hope so.
    I’d dump the bike unless you plan on donating it to a museum, but I’m sure the more sentimental amongst your followers will have quite different advice.

  2. Frank,You never mention calling your bike by a personal name (Reggie!)So I reckon you could leave it behind as a donation, a part of You to remain in Oz….

  3. Glad to hear that you’re going to see some of the Ocean Road, one of the best parts of Victoria. I hope the tour operator tells you the story of its origins. No doubt with the new ring road you will bypass Geelong, so I won’t be able to give you a wave as you pass through !

  4. Welcome to Melbourne Frank and congratulations for your epic ride. What weather to be riding in at this time of year. I hope you have a really relaxing trip down the Great Ocean Rd – will it feel strange to not be on the bike? I’m sure your bike would be well cared for by someone here and maybe have some more adventures – but I’m sure you’ll find it tough to leave it behind – every bike gathers its own personality the more you ride it doesn’t it?

  5. Congratulations Frank! Even more impressive given the ridiculous Australian temperatures that you have been riding through. I am back in Melbourne tomorrow and if you are keen to get a bite to eat for dinner after your Great Ocean Road trip then my brother, his brother-in-law and I would look forward to you joining us for some tall stories.

  6. Well done Frank! Amazing adventure and supreme effort.
    Re the bike, could it be auctioned off in Aus to raise more money for the charity?

  7. Hello Frank, Well done! We will all be glad to see you home in Kimbolton, but I’m going to miss our early morning rendevous. See you soon, Joanxx

  8. Shelagh Doyle

    Fantastic Frank, I celebrated with Jenny at Pilates yesterday morning and everyone int he class gave a great cheer when Mel announced the news. Now………… re the bike………..Jenny and I chatted about this and we wonder if you might feel regret if you left it behind – it would make a lovely relic in your garden drapped with climbing plants!!
    Looking forward to hearing more from the ‘horse’s mouth’! Shelagh

  9. Your bike must feel like a part of you, welded together to keep it going. How could you possibly leave down under after what have both been through. Drs orders say bring it home as I am sure it still has few yrs yet cycling your familiar routes around Kimbolton.
    So many thanks for keeping us all entertained for these last few months.
    Safe journey home.

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