Aus | Broulee - Nowra - Wollongong - Sydney | 6th Mar '15 - 14th Mar '15 | 6008km
We begrudgingly left the beaches of Broulee with full bellies and some advanced yoga techniques to practice (Flora *will* master the shoulder stand!), heading North.
At Bateman’s Bay we rejoined the Princes Highway. Since hitting the coast we’d already spent a day trudging up it and it wasn’t much fun. Whilst thinking though the limited route options to Sydney we approached a gaggle of brightly clothed guys on the side of the road. Waving enthusiastically they were keen to chat and we soon established that they were a group of 6 French cyclists also heading for Sydney. They were on the Australian leg of a round the world ride, raising awareness for MS and had already ridden through parts of Europe, North America, over the Andes and South Africa. Central to the group was Gerrard, father of one of the guys, who himself had suffered from MS for 10 years. Between the 5 of them, they were towing him the whole way in a modified trike, attached to a tandem.
As we left them in the lay by they had flagged us down from, we were hugely impressed and realising it would be a shame not to see them again. Thankfully, about a minute later, we were on the recieving end of pretty severe belling as the tandem/trike set up romped by us, all occupants grinning. They weren’t messing around and used the momentum of the tandem trike to great effect. It did, however, look like incredibly hard work going uphill (reminder that they crossed the Andes), with two handles on the back of the trike used to help push as soon as the momentum wore out. Between the five of them, they rotated who rode the tandem and there was never an occasion where two of them weren’t behind the trike when it slowed. We helped out the best we could and both found the groups unbridled enthusiasm inspirational.
With a larger group and not much reason to complain about anything given the exploits of our present company, the Highway didn’t seem so bad and we gladly accepted the invitation to join forces on the run in to Sydney. As it only takes two French men at most to change a puncture, it’s nice to have another three to play the guitar, accordion and violin whilst you perch on the side of the road.
Over 4 days we became very fond of the Frenchies! Before we parted ways in the Sydney twilight - them heading for a hostel and us down to Circular keys for the obligatory Opera House photo - we vowed to meet for celebratory beers before they headed for Japan and the next leg of their tour. If you’d like to read more about their exploits, and watch some nice videos they’ve made along the way, you can do so here.
In Sydney we took the advice of some local riders and booked a train up to Brisbane, the proposition of more Highway riding on our own not being of great appeal. 15 hours and a bus transfer later we rolled into Queensland and Brisbane train station. Two people were waiting in the empty car park...