Le Tour de Food!
This is the third story is a series about my first overnight bicycle tour. This tour, which revealed the delights of Billinudgel’s bushy belly and the dilemma of tour planning, is now affectionately remembered as Le Tour de Food!
We might have travelled slowly, but there was no risk of us running out of food.
We carried vegemite and cheese sandwiches made on sourdough bread, bananas, a tube of vegemite, chocolate coated sweets called Wallaby bites, cut carrots, blueberries and a block of dark chocolate. We each carried a thermos of green tea, which was excellent for staying hydrated and I transported a neatly packaged, brick-shaped (and almost brick weight) Pecan and Date Loaf lovingly baked by Jane.
Added to that were clothes, shoes, toiletries and a first aid kit. With both panniers full to the brim, I wondered how we’d manage if we had to carry camping equipment as well!
But of course, this was the first tour. And we designed it to be an easy ‘first try’ at bicycle touring. For this first trip, we were ‘plastic card’ tourers, staying two nights in a comfortable apartment by the Brunswick River. If it rained, it didn’t matter. We had a clean, dry place as our destination.
At 63kms (39 miles), this was the longest ride I’d attempted. About nine years earlier I rode with a Sunday morning cycling group and clocked the occasional 60km ride. But that was on a flat bar road bike and I was nine years younger. In March 2015, I rode 45kms with my brother through the canefields on my touring bike but completely free of any luggage. Even during my year of cycling through the seasons in 2014-2015, most of my longer journeys had been around 20 to 30kms and usually not with a full load.
Mentally I’d divided the trip into three main sections each of roughly 20kms:
- Currumbin to Kingscliff,
- Kingscliff to Pottsville, and finally
- Pottsville to Brunswick Heads.
This helped me stay focused on where I was, and allowed me to acknowledge what I’d completed and what I still had to ride. It’s like that well-worn management quip of: ‘how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ It’s might be overused but it works.
So while my mind was taking the trip in bite size pieces, my stomach was too. Snack by snack we rode our way through each leg of the journey.
I know we carried far too much food. It wasn’t like we were going into the wilderness or away from access to shops for long lengths of time, but somehow the carrying of food, despite its weight, gave me some comfort. It meant that if I needed refuelling, at any time, I could simply pull over and eat! And that would keep my wheels turning.
Viva la Tour de Food!