Ian Randall is an educator, artist and author at Cambridge University Press.
You can view examples of artworks or obtain further information here.


Sunday, September 18, 2011


ADELAIDE TO MELBOURNE 7-11 September 2011

Photo's click here

- DAY 1
We have arrived safely at camp at Salt Creek after a fast first day on the road. What surprised me was that the core riders are just every day guys, no elite cyclists here. Even after 200km every day for 70 days they all get pains, get tired and puff and pant away. We are also joined by a small cycling team from SthAfrica, sponsored by NOBLE ENERGY, who don't seem to need to breath at all - cycling machines! The setup is simply impressive, complete with a chef, massage therapist and support crew who pitch and pack up our tents. The food is amazing! The ride out of Adelaide was over the undulating hills through little towns with little stand stone cottages. We stopped in Strathalbyn for a meal after the first 100 and were served a full cooked breakfast. I had thought that breakfast was the Wheetbix I eat at 6am. The last 100 was riding into a headwind across a salt flat. So far the SMILE riders have raised over $1.4m for research into rare childhood diseases. For the tech-heads Average speed 33km/hr - No graphs sorry.

- DAY 2

After 245km I'm in Mt Gambier sitting warm and contented in front of my empty dinner plate. I spent the day with one of the Sth African riders hearing about how he became a professional cyclist. Anton started riding at 17 to get work at a bicycle repair shop, 80km away from his home. A year later he won his first race - chasing down a break away on his own and then won the sprint to the line. In his own words he is one of the only coloured pro-riders he races against. With NOBLE ENERGY's support of Sth African cycling, he has a great future on the bike. He has been ride for NOBLE now for 3 years. He is also about to get married when he gets home. We've just had word that tomorrow is going to wet and cold with the head wind picking up.
Today we broke the ride into 110/80/55km into an increasing head and cross wind.
Average speed: 31km

- DAY 3
Today was a day of attrition. The severe winds and rain battered us and saw a number pull out and sit one of the legs in the support van. Two of the SMILE riders arrived in Warrnambool nearly two hours later than the main group. Some of them are feeling the now 72 days and are starting to worry about making it on time to some of the functions planned in Mel/Can/Syd. And google is predicting more of the same weather. Today's cross winds meant that it was hard to find shelter. I had a good first 100km but the last 80 was the most I've suffered on a bike. I was hoping to make it to Melbourne without treating the SMILE riders as Sherpa's but during the last leg I didn't have to ride on the front taking brunt of the wind. My bike has been excellent and was well prepared for my journey by my good friends at BIKEMINDED. Many thanks.Average speed- who cares!

- DAY 4
It's all about perspective.
As we rode along, without argument, the most picturesque road in Australia and facing the predicted weather conditions, I called out to two brave elderly Mountain bikers who had abandoned a climb and were walking their bikes "Where would you rather be?"
I heard one of the SMILE riders behind answer "Long Bay gaol!"
I was having my greatest day on a bike. I felt I was on my own epic odyssey, I was not feeling the cold the wet or the 130000km!
I was pleased that over dinner the boys said that was the most spectacular days ride of the trip.
I hope those two old men made it up that hill. I'm sure they're telling the world about it. Distance - 240km Average - 27kmph
Tomorrow we ride from Aireys Inlet to the Melbourne ferry. On the other side we pick up a pelaton of local riders who will accompany us to a function in the city. The end of the road for me.

- DAY 5
I'm packed and about to grab some breaky before my flight back to real life.
Here are some practical, philosophical and spiritual things I've learnt on this trip.
- Aloe vera gel works a treat for all minor and major skin irritations.
- Wool is the best base layer.
- Except in NSW, people love cyclists.
- Roads in NSW are the worst in Australia (and we know the roads in the Blue Mts the worst in NSW!).
- yes, tire punctures are uncommon! The SMILE riders hardly had any on their entire trip. We only had one in 1000ks and it was because a tire wore through.
- Tall heavy cyclists do exist. 3/6 of the SMILE riders were bigger than me!
- When you think your on the last hill there will be another round the corner (you'll always find the strength to get up it - 'dig deep')
- When you're pushing hard to keep up with the rider in front there is little time to stop for photographs.
- Cyclists universally have no shame and will stop to 'go' anywhere - it's the 'Lycra license'
- If you are just not coping, we were told to take a 'tactical'. Get the roll of toilet paper find a bush and lie down for ten minutes. No one will ever know.
- No body can do anything on their own, support each other in small ways, taking small turns in the wind, to make it through life's long journey.
- When you see a double rainbow over the ocean after climbing out of a rainforest valley you can only give praise to God.

May God Bless you all - thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
Ian Randall


1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi Mr Randall,

My name is Laura and you commented on my blog a few days ago about my dad cycling around Australia. I think that you had more of the experience instead of trailing around in a campervan (like me.)
You wrote a great post as well!!