2022 November Mountain biking in the Philippines.

We left our traditional bus behind on Bohol. Siquijor has supplied us with a much small technicolor party bus. It struggles to carry us all. Young Harold, the guides assistant clambers onto the roof. He sits there cross legged clutching his bike for fear it will be scratched against the others. For a minute I feel like I’ve been transported back to India.

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2022 May Spinning through the Flinders Ranges

One hundred kms on gravel is a far harder push than bitumen. Thankfully there were sections of bitumen each day to allow my body to stop shaking. Some sections of corrugation left me unsure if my teeth would ever bite into a bread roll again. Worse was I didn’t have the skills to stop or ride over such a punishing track even if I’d wanted.

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2022 April Swimming with the Whale sharks of Ningaloo reef

I’d been told if possible to swim across onto the less crowded side of the whale shark to get a better view. All was going to plan until she slowed and I didn’t. Suddenly I was level with her face. Her mouth is over a metre wide and even though I know she only eats vegetation I’d like to see the full statistics. She turns to face me feeling I have partially trapped her in. She doesn’t read my apologetic bubbles very well and continues to face me.

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2021 Nov. Cycling the magical Murray River.

I am about to leave my motel when the owner asks which way I’m going. “Hard along the river” I reply. “Not sure you’ll get through due to recent rains.” I don’t want to double back when I have 100 kms to cover. “I was the local postman for 11 years.” He boasts. “Head towards Denny” he thinks aloud as he closes his eyes. “Just before you cross any bridges turn right. It’s dirt… is that ok ? Goes for 22 kms but lovely country. Turn right again when you come to Jungle lane. After that just follow your nose into Echuca” he gasps as his eyes reopened. He had revisited his postal route in his head.

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2021 May Cycling Noosa to Sydney

Kevin Ellwood another touring cyclist lives in Sydney. I met Kevin online when touring Taiwan a few years ago. We’d never met but today that will all change. His suggestion to catch a ferry from Ettalong Beach to Palm Beach wasn’t on my radar. Not only did I get a half hour reprieve on the local ferry but it left me on the much quieter North Shore beaches. I’m guided to Manly beach by a friend of Kevin’s strategically positioned along the way. We chew the fat on all things touring whilst sitting like lizards in the Winter sun at Manly.

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2021 March. Cycling the Great Ocean Road

I lift my bike over the threshold at the Vue Grand, the grandest old dame of a hotel in Queenscliff and ring the bell at reception. Sadly the receptionist didn’t say “Mr. Barnes we were expecting you, normal suite? “ instead she simply asked for my credit card without looking up. I celebrate by taking a large beer up to the turret deck high above the hotel and look out over the old town. I spot the ferry heading towards Sorrento, I’ll be on that in the morning.

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