Yesterday was the first anniversary of my completion of a 16,000km fixed gear loop around Australia. I wanted to find a unique way to celebrate so came up with the idea to hunt down some roads named after the major cities I cycled through, in the correct order too. After about 30 minutes of tinkering around on Google Maps I seemed to have located suitable roads for Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin. Some names were very limited on options so I got lucky with the locations of a few. It just so happened it was an anti-clockwise loop too. It was meant to be.
I'm not much of a route planner but the estimated distance on walking mode was about 423km. I haven't been riding much recently but for the momentous occasion I could probably draw on some spiritual energy to get that done in one push. I'd just figure out the actual routes between 'checkpoints' when I was out on the road. Whatever distance it ends up being it will simply be. Not thinking about total distance actually helped me a lot psychologically.
I started mid-afternoon, after sleeping-in as long as I could. With a ~24 hour ride, your start time is pretty much irrelevant. I got myself to Perth Road in north London before continuing further north. I felt great! It was awesome to be back out on the road with my bike pretty much in the exact same set-up as I had it in Australia. Even using the same gear ratio that I used on my final day too.
Nightfall came at around 100km in. The setting of the Sun always pumps me up. I was pumping out the motivational trance music and mulling over all my memories of Australia. Smashing it down huge empty A-roads in the aerobars which would otherwise be a no-go during the daylight hours. Night was great. Vibes of the Australian desert night riding was flowing through me. Things got weird when the Sun finally rose. Usually an energising factor - this time it made me feel sleepy and unmotivated. It may also have been something to do with the 1 litre of chocolate milk, 200g of cream cheese and loaf of bread I ate at a 24-hour supermarket though. Either way, this was roughly the half-way point.
After getting to Darwin Close, all I needed to do was get back to the start point. It should be all downhill from here right? Well, that's when the headwind started. Google Maps was telling me I had 143km to pump out. The most direct route was a somewhat major road which makes a beeline to London. F*ck it. However, I had unfortunately snapped my mirror an hour earlier. This made me quite uncomfortable with the traffic - which there was now a lot of as it was the middle of the day. Lots of trucks too. Uncertainty of the traffic behind me made me retreat to the shoulder when I had the opportunity. This meant slower going though, as the surface sucked and had grit too.
After what felt like an eternity of battling traffic, heat and wind, and coming to terms with the fact this ride will take more than 24 hours to finish, I got back inside the M25 - the motorway which encircles London. I was almost done but I gave myself one more challenge. I could have met up with my outbound route and had a simple return into London but I realised I didn't want to complete the loop unless it was with Perth Road. It would have felt wrong. So I came up with an alternative route on the fly which took extra patience and distance but I think was TOTALLY worth it (lol).
446km. About 28 hours elapsed. 100% solo & unsupported. Fixed gear. All-in-all, a very silly ride but I am happy I still have 'it'. Hopefully I'll back in Australia soon for some more adventurous riding in that beautiful country!
More photos over on the Strava upload: http://strava.com/activities/2596430593
PS! I'll be (eventually) posting video from this ride and telling stories from Aussie loop on my channel if you're interested: http://youtube.com/josephxkendrick