Bek and Steff's
China Challenge
2 - 14 Dec 06

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Misnomer: Merri Creek Trail

Another Sunday, another ride...

After a slight delay, Team Melbourne finally hit the road for a training ride last Sunday. Deciding to be a little adventurous, we avoided the City Trail and follow the Merri Creek Trail which the sign advised was about a 38km round trip.
As we followed the path further up the creek, it became evident that the heavy rains earlier in the year (see photo below) had flowed through the city's storm water drains and flooded the whole creek.

Photo taken from Herald Sun website

Trees were growing plastic bags and other crap (at heights well past what one would consider 'the high tide' mark) and other rubbish littered the banks. Sadly, I don't believe the rains washed the shopping trolleys, mattresses or an old television down the drains - they were clearly dumped. So, the creek really wasn't all that "Merri".
We also found a bridge had been washed out by the rain which meant we roughed on dirt track, taking our mountains bikes off-road!
While it was a perfect day for a ride, not too hot, not too cold - I think next time, we'll pick a different path.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pretty pictures

After threatening to add photos to this blog, I now draw your attention to the following amended post that has illustrations:

Plus some random photos. Here are a couple taken while I was still part of Team Canberra:

Bek fixing one of her many flat tyres which seemed to be less
common since we removed the metal shard lodged in the tyre!

The Carillion, Lake Burley Griffin on the morning of the
Big Canberra Bike Ride

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Warning: Buffaloes Crossing

Found this news article the other day - of all the things to worry about!

Cambodian police crack down on roaming buffaloes at Angkor Wat

CAMBODIAN police have been ordered to capture dozens of buffaloes and cows roaming in the Angkor Wat heritage zone because of the dung they are leaving among the ruins, an officer said on Wednesday.Colonel Tan Chay, commissioner of police for the World Heritage-listed area, complained that at least 30 buffaloes and ten cows have been regularly meandering through the ruins seeking food and leaving a mess behind.
"I have ordered my police to catch the buffaloes and cows. Then we will ask their owners to pay a fine," he told AFP.
"The area needs to be kept as a nice place for the tourists."
He said that half a dozen police had spent around six hours Wednesday trying to catch buffaloes bathing at Sras Srang, or the pool of ablutions, but only managed to seize one.
"I have appealed to the people in the area many times not to release their cows and buffaloes into the Angkor area. Most of them understand but a few are going against regulations."
The police commissioner said grazing animals have been a long-running problem at Angkor, particularly during the dry season when villagers traditionally let them roam free to eat and sleep wherever they like.
The ancient Angkor temples, the kingdom's premier tourist attraction, represent the pinnacle of Khmer art.

Motivational meeting

On Tuesday night Marty and I attended the info night for the Oxfam Challenge, put on by Oxfam and Intrepid Travel (who's running the trip).

They were presenting on two trips: Yunnan (China) and Vietnam/Cambodia. Both look awesome but from a novice cycler's point of view - I'm glad we chose the Cambodia trip. Cycling in the Yunnan province involves a lot of hills, or more accurately, mountains!
Previous participants gave very positive and enthusiastic reviews and everyone presenting did a great sell job on the Challenge. If I wasn't all ready registered and paid for, I would have been by the end of the night!!

As a result of the night, I'm feeling fairly motivated again.
We're planning a few events over the couple of months, the first most likely to be a trivia night! And, our training is back on track!

(which should change to involve cycling to the coast)

Day 1 Ho Chi Minh City
Fly to Ho Chi Minh via Singapore. Stay at the Liberty 3 Hotel which is in a central location. A chance to explore the city or take a cyclo tour.
Day 2 Tay Ninh
Travel by bus to the far outskirts in order to avoid the congested roads. First day on the bikes following the back roads to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Day 3 Svay Rieng
Cycle to the Cambodian border at Moc Bai. Complete entry formalities and cycle to Svay Rieng.
Day 4 Prey Veang
Long days cycling through Cambodian countryside
Day 5 Kampong Cham
Head inland to cycle along quiet roads through paddy fields and villages to Kampong Cham
Day 6 Phnom Penh
Cycle along the side of the mighty Mekong to Phnom Penh
Day 7 Phnom Penh
Explore this fascinating Asian capital. Visit to 'the killing fields', some 15 km from Pnomh Penh. Option to visit Oxfam project.
Day 8 Siem Reap
5 hour bus journey to arrive in Siem Riep by late morning. Head out to see the sunset over Angkor Wat.
Days 9 & 10 Free days
Explore the temple region by bicycle
Day 11 Banteay Srei
Ride out to the stunning Banteay Srei temple for out last day's riding.
Day 12 Fly to Bangkok
Fly out of Siem Riep to Bangkok*

Day 13 Arrive home.
Arrive back home

*Bek, Marty and I probably won't head home with the group, but stay on to explore Cambodia and Vietnam (and possibly Thailand) for a few weeks.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sights and sounds of Melbourne

After a few false starts and postponed rides, yesterday Team Melbourne finally enjoyed their first team cycle.*
Leaving from Brunswick and heading down to the Yarra River via Fitzroy Cycle Shop to replace my pedals and gloves (and also finding the perfect rain/wind jacket), we enjoyed the weather and also the traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian!
The first few kilometres were a bit stop start, and involved carrying bikes up stairs, giving directions and waiting for traffic. But, finally we hit the path along the Yarra and it was smooth sailing from there. The path goes through a little oasis in the city which almost makes you forget that the rush of the city is only a street or two away. There was very little noise from the traffic but every few metres were marked by the call of bellbirds - just gorgeous.

I have to say too, that the route we followed** is one of the best ways to see Melbourne. The scenery as we cycled past various bridges and bends in the river reinforced the European feel of the city, especially as the afternoon grew older and the temperature began to drop a little.

I have to admit to being a little slack in the training department so I also found the cycle a little tiring. After we passed through the city (having cycled about 25km) Marty led me through the newly developed Docklands area and then homewards along the trainline. When we finally fell through the front door at 32km - I was exhausted!

It's back on the bike for me more regularly for me, so I actually cycled to work this morning and will have to bite the bullet and join a gym down here!

*This does not include the couple of times they have cycled to and from work together. One way, to get to work is only about 5km.
**The route was the Capital City Trail, which consists of a few different bike paths connected up. We went on the Main Yarra Trail, the Maribyrnong Creek Trail and the Upfield Bike Path Marty thinks!

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