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					PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1

MELBOURNE- CANBERRA, 18 JULY – 14 AUGUST


Day 1: Sunday 18 July - MELBOURNE TO SORRENTO
Distance: 101km
Weather: raining progressively harder all afternoon and evening
Terrain: Flat except for 1-2 hills for coastal path to climb up over.

First test of the bikes and the two=wheeled trailer. Survived a day in the rain. Didn‟t do as well as we
thought. Realised we needed to start earlier in the day.



Day 2: Monday 19 July – SORRENTO TO GEELONG
Distance: 34 km
Distance so far: 135 km
Weather: chill in the air. Dry.
Terrain: Off road, using the former railway track

We stayed with the Creator and main coordinator of the Geelong Sustainability Group Monica
Winston and her partner Phil. From nothing coordinated in Geelong, Monica has created a vibrant,
active sustainability network. Phil, runs a business installing solar thermal heating for homes and
businesses which created an ambient temperature of 22 degrees without any formal heater in the
house, in the middle of winter, where the outside temperature ranged between 2 degrees and 15
degrees.

We joined a Community-based food security training programmed centred on permaculture, where
we visited 2 homes to talk about design aspects to convert their gardens to more effective food
production with the owners‟ aims to be partially or fully self sufficient in terms of food production.

Did stuff with bikes. Purchased clothes from local bikeshop. Supplemented and enhanced our cycling
equipment and personal clothing. 2 of the 3 items purchased needed to be returned because they were
faulty/ didn‟t fit.
Discounts, Support or Gifts received from:
Wine shop (supportive of Geelong Transition)

Day 3: Geelong

Day 4: Wednesday 21 July – GEELONG TO BALLARAT
Distance: 94km
Distance so far: 229 km
Weather: misty start. Cold.
Terrain: Steadily uphill. Flat. Some inclines.


Successfully linked in a public meeting sustainable energy production in Australia within an
international perspectives, specifically linking the potential to provide concentrated solar power and
other renewables to Indonesia, East Timor and New Guinea, drawing on the example of Desertec in
Europe.

Successfully linked the energy company‟s need for public support in lobbying the Australian
Government to get infrastructure to be built by Government with the 100% renewable energy
campaign‟s need for financial support to achieve their aims of 100% renewable energy.

Put forward the possibility of all the green energy companies, as a collective, putting their financial
and business support behind the 100% renewable energy campaign.

We coached the BREAZE Organising team to encourage them to look more positively at their
achievements and the achievable next steps towards their goals.

En route from Ballarat to Daylesford, Roland managed and dealt with some of the unfinished
logistical complications, and emotional stuff, of packing up and leaving Melbourne.


Day 5: Thursday 22 July - BALLARAT TO DAYLESFORD
Distance: 48km
Distance so far: 277km
Weather: raining from mid afternoon, seriously. Arrived in D.
Terrain: Hilly


Inspired Scott Kinnear, the owner of Organic Wholefoods to support Bike the Earth with a monthly
contribution to some of our ongoing daily costs of food, drinks and energy. Chuffed with our first
monthly supporter. Wouldlike to inspire others to partner with us in the same way!

In this meeting with Scott Kinnear, who is also one of the directors of Hepburn Wind (largest
community-owned wind power company), we learnt about the local community taking responsibility
for their own energy security. More information:
Newspaper interview with The Advocate, Daylesford, and photos.

Documented and learned about an owner-designed and built sustainable straw bale home. From one
slow combustion wood-fired kitchen stove, the house was warmed all day comfortably. Through
double-glazing, passive solar design, effective thermal conductivity (chimney passing through
laundry and the upstairs bathroom heated those rooms), the house maintained a comfortable ambient
temperature. We dried our washing overnight. Upstairs bathroom grey water helped clean the
composting toiler. More information from Per Bernard: Unicorn architecture and construction,

Met up with, and rode with Rod Hayes, and Australian champion cyclist, gold medal winner from
World Cycling Championship in Soviet Union in 1989, and connected him with Scott Kinnear from
Hepburn Wind.



Day 6: Friday 23 July – DAYLESFORD TO CASTLEMAINE
Distance: 42km
Distance so far: 319km
Weather: raining progressively harder all afternoon and evening
Terrain: Flat except for 1-2 hills for coastal path to climb up over.

Day 7: Castlemaine

Connected with the local bike shop The Bike Vault run by Gary and Peter Grant who offered to service
Chris‟ bike for free as he was purchasing a number of items at a discounted price..

Documented, filmed and learned about eco house-building at an open day organized by Mount
Alexander Sustainability Group and Alternative Technology Association

We got a contact from the Bike Vault: Pump‟n‟Pedals in Cairns – Brad Shannon. 0740516853

Stayed with an initial Board Member from the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, and received A
financial donation to the Bike the Earth expedition from Tony and Nada Smark.

We learned about the impact of building new roads leading to the closure of organic farms and
production.

We attended a local Performance Space - Lot19 Art Gallery to attend a screening of local short films
and animations. Chris had his first rooburger.

En route from Castlemaine, to Maldon, to Bendigo, Chris encountered first problems with his new disc
brakes, and hadn‟t learned how to realign them. Progress into Bendigo slowed.


Day 8: Sunday 25 July – CASTLEMAINE TO BENDIGO
Distance: 56.5km
Distance so far: 375.5km
Weather: warm
Terrain: gentle ascents. Broken glass on hard shoulder of some roads.

Day 9: Monday 26 July – Bendigo

Stayed with one of the key community members of the Bendigo Sustainability Group Karen Corr and
her husband (engineer working in energy sustainability and a volunteer fire crew member).
Interviewed on ABC Bendigo by John Riddle on 0745am slot about sustainability issues we inspired
listeners about Bike the Earth.

Visited Bike shop where Chris and Roland received a quick lesson in how to re-align disc brakes, tips
that have been used several times since.

Spent an afternoon in the Bendigo library poring over maps, choosing the onward route via Albury
and Wagga Wagga, and double-checking planned stops and where we could stay. And how steep are
the hills, and whether we could ascend them with our trailer.

Opened a Bike the Earth bank account at Bendigo Bank for inward donations from Australian donors.

Visited Atisha Temple, planned to be the largest stupa in Australia. Not yet built. Just the outline
structure to give an indication of its future



Day 10: Tuesday 27 July –BENDIGO TO RUSHWORTH
Distance: 79km
Distance so far: 454.5km
Weather: cold in the morning. Warmed in the midday, but quickly cooled again.
Terrain: flat

Leaving Bendigo, we first felt the space of Australia. No towns for a few hours. While ordering lunch
at a relatively rural Victorian town, Colbinabbot, the shop keeper was inspired to give us $20 back
when she heard what we were up to.

Stayed just outside Rushworth at King Billy Retreat, owned by Louise Costa, a sustainable landscape
architect who was featured on the ABC TV Garden Show. Louise had created a permaculture-style
vegetable garden and native garden with outdoor eating areas and a renovated shearing shed turned
into a beautiful retreat for a single person or a couple wishing to stay in the area. A simple, well
renovated, sustainable cottage, fusing Mediterranean style with rural Australia.

Beautiful rural town centre. Local council paying for construction of cycle path over dismantled
railway line.
Day 11: Wednesday 28 July –RUSHWORTH TO SHEPPARTON/KAILIA VIA MURCHISON & TATURA
Distance: 84.3 km
Distance so far: 538.8 km
Weather: a little rain, getting progressively worse all day.
Terrain: fairly flat. A few inclines at the start.

Met with Yvonne Forrest and Jeff Lodge, Solar Valley Goes Solar. Inspiring interview with them in
which we learnt about the amazing success that they have had installing or about to install solar
panels or solar hot water systems on almost 10% of the homes in their area. What was most surprising
to them, and to us, was that a lot of the people choosing to do this were retirees and/or farmers,
wishing not to contribute to the legacy that seems to be unfolding, rather to make a positive difference
in a practical, sustainable, economic way.

Visited Transition Town Tatura, Ross Mussalino, member of TT, and was interviewed by, and
photographed in the rain, by the local Tatura newspaper.

Cycled on from Tatura in the rain, dodging trucks who passed us by very closely. Scary. Particularly
after 4.30pm when they seemed to care less about other road users. Stayed with the mother of one of
the Changing the Dream (Victoria) Facilitators, Lee Coller.




Day 12: Thursday 29 July - SHEPPARTON TO KATAMATITE
Distance: 68km
Distance so far: 606.8 km
Weather: Good, but cool.
Terrain: Flat.


Bought yoga mat and a waterproof bag to keep contents of clothing in the paniers dry. Plus an
additional rear light for one of the helmets (getting to be visible to trucks)

Stayed in a small country motel which was comfortable, but soulless. Had dinner at the local pub,
and met the locals, and connected with a couple from Hervey Bay, north of Brisbane. Also learned
about the local chambers of commerce and the Australian Country Women‟s Association, and Alliance
Club, being good contact points for Community Activities.


Day 13: Friday 30 July – KATAMATITE TO RUTHERGLEN
Distance: 80.4km
Distance so far: 687.4 km
Weather: a little rain.
Terrain: fairly flat.

At breakfast, mindful of the dangerous episodes already with some trucks, Chris went outside to
speak to a posse of truck drivers (lorry drivers – UK English) having their breakfast outside. After
Chris had regaled his own experience driving a lorry (once) and how he impressed he was with their
skill, something shifted that day. Every single truck/lorry which overtook the two of us did so safely,
courteously, giving plenty of room: the paragon of good driving. Every truck all day… except one,
just outside Rutherglen succeeded to run Chris and trailer off the road.

Stayed with Lee Coller‟s step sister Jeanine and partner Matt. James. Great to share about our
discoveries with Jeanine and Matt, and to feel that it inspired them to consider how they could
contribute to Bike the Earth and/or their part of Sustainability.

Visited Rutherglen information Centre and enjoyed a good coffee made by Jonathan, a former
Journalist cum barista, and some delicious gluten-free cake made by his wife. On the way out, as
Chris took a photo of “ Sydney has a good harbour, but Rutherglen has a great port” Jonathan, ran
into the road, and donated $50 to the expedition. He also made contact with the media in Albury
which resulted in us getting an interview in the paper and appearing on Win (Albury) TV news.


Day 14: Saturday 31 July – RUTHERGLEN TO WODONGA
Distance: 43.3km
Distance so far: 730.7 km
Weather: Continual Rain all day.
Terrain: A few inclines at the start, and some steep hills at the end.

We met and stayed with Lizette Salmon, a key member of WATCH
Gave an Introduction of the “Be the Change/ Changing the Dream symposium to members of the
WATCH community, and Transition Wodunga and reconnected Lizette with a previous work
colleague who lives in neighbouring Albury, who is also committed to sustainability.

Was interviewed by Benjamin Habib – Our Voice Albury/Wodonga.
Lizette‟s house was a great example of actively trying to create a sustainable home on a new housing
block without cutting down trees, using passive solar, photovoltaic energy generation, solar hotwater
and permaculture inspired garden. Double glazing in some spots.

Documenting and noting that the neighbouring suburbs around Lizette‟s home showed clearly the
short sighted design and building of homes, and the acceptance those types of homes as being the
ideal part of the contemporary suburban dream. Yet these houses clearly show the difficulty that will
be involved, and the financial impact of the home owners that have bought a too large, badly designed
and positioned house, over mortgaged, and thus are suffering from water, energy, and interest rate
increases and will suffer the most cost of retrofitting these brand new houses built so unsustainably.


Day 15: Sunday 1 August: WODONGA TO ALBURY
Distance: 10km
Distance so far: 740.7
Weather: dry
Terrain: downhill to the Murray river, then flat.
Day 16: Albury

We stayed with Shay Manderville and Houston. Shay works as a speech pathologist and sees that in
terms of health recovery our ability to communicate is so essential for our spirit that it can greatly
improve and aid people‟s recovery from major and minor trauma. This includes debilitating long term
brain injuries.

This connects with an Australian indigenous wisdom that suggests that when someone has ill-health
symptoms, one should look at the underlying spiritual concerns and treat them and then the body will
be better able to heal itself.

Shay is active in the Border Permaculture Group, and is now fully inspired to become a Changing the
Dream Facilitator at a training course in the next few months.

We were interviewed by „Border News‟, and after a half page article about us appeared, Win TV
Albury made contact and interviewed us as we were about to leave. As we climbed a hill out of
Albury, along a quiet road frequented by cyclists, next to a large industrial processing plant, a
helicopter came across and seemed to hover above us and the plant and we wondered if it was the
news channel



Day 17: Tuesday 3 August – ALBURY TO HENTY
Distance: 72.6KM
Weather: dry
Terrain: a long hill out of Albury, then flat with a few gentle ascents and descents.

Stayed at Henty Central B&B that Warren Heycox and his wife have bought and are working to turn it
into country bed and breakfast accommodation, celebrating the architecture and features of the old
pub. Many of its fittings are original, some made in England. They are actively renovating part of the
downstairs area to have an accommodation option for mobility-impaired person.

In Yerong Creek, we visited the Hanerika Farmstay for lunch which is run by Deniz & Amanda
Aygun. They invited Roland and I to stay, but we knew we had to press on to Wagga Wagga.
However we were able to put them in touch with Warren Heycox (above) and with the Solar Valley
Going Solar project in Murchison.



Day 18. Wednesday 4 August – HENTY TO WAGGA WAGGA
Distance: 60km
Distance so far: 873.3
Weather: fairly dry
Terrain: A few gradual ascents and descents. 1 steeper hills near to Wagga.
Connected with the Cycle Community via Morgan Street Cycles – 0269216629, a small but very
friendly and helpful bicycle shop who donated a large amount of energy bars, gels and spare bolts to
us.

Documented the awareness of sustainability issues such as water scarcity in an international hotel
franchise, but in observation within the hotel, on a sustainability score card they were very very low,
with a 1* energy rating washing machine and a 2* water rating (out of 7 stars). Also an inefficient air
conditioner, single glazed windows, ineffective drapes, beds too big for a room so you couldn‟t close
the door; no lo-flow shower head seen.


Day 19. Thursday 5 August – WAGGA WAGGA TO JUNEE
Distance: 40km
Distance so far: 913.3
Weather: starting dry. Rain storm from mid afternoon, drenching everything in its path.
Terrain: undulating landscape with 2 steep hills before Junee.

Given Chris needed to see a doctor regarding a tooth infection, we made an unscheduled early stop in
Junee.

Staying at the potentially beautiful old building – the Junee Hotel ( a potentially good scene for a
Hitchcock film)- that was declining and becoming a shade of its former self, due to the decline of the
country town and suffering by being on the wrong side of the railway line from the classic historical
side, and being next to a brand new urban development. The conservatism, resistance and negativity
of some community members bring to their work, and towards new ideas was instructive. The
challenge to re-invent rural communities and towns all over Australia, such that they are resilient,
invigorated, sustainable, and connected is being able to engage the local community with new ideas in
such a way that they embrace the parts that work for them and are willing to let go of the parts that
don‟t in their present way of life.

A local farmer and community member, when requested to help us video us riding through the town,
having never videoed anyone before, willingly agreed, and spent half an hour with us getting the
footage required, and sharing with us some of the challenges of sheep farming,


Day 20: Friday 6 August - WAGGA WAGGA TO COOTAMUNDRA
Distance: 60km
Distance so far: 971.3
Weather: a little rain, getting progressively worse all day.
Terrain: steep ascents and descents in the 2nd half of the day.


Roland nearly hit by Patient Transport Vehicle Ambulance and Police/ stickers trying to pass us on a
hill when there was minimal shoulder and vehicles coming the other way.
Prison-carrying van marked with Crimestoppers overtook on a double white line without due regard
for the legal regard for one metre‟s safety and clearance.
Reported this to Police who took details and have said they will investigate.

Visited the Cootamundra bike shop to get a service on Roland‟s bike and stayed at the GLOBE hotel
owned by the same family. There is an active cycle community that meet on Thursday evenings at the
GLOBE and go cycling on Saturday mornings, and have breakfast afterwards at the Outback café.

Roland and Chris had a really good breafast at Helen‟s café, a classic English fry-up together with
pancakes and maple syrup, a welcome foundation for the chilly misty start, and hills ahead on our
journey towards Yass.


Day 21: Saturday 7 August – COOTAMUNDRA TO BINALONG
Distance: 73km
Distance so far: 1044.3 km
Weather: crisp winter start to the day. Freezing mist lifting to reveal clear blue sky. Cool at day end.
Terrain: more and more undulating, with more frequent, steeper hills.

Aiming for Yass. 10km outside of Harden, Chris had a mechanical problem on the bike. The main
support bolt connecting the rear luggage rack sheared off, and the rack hung loosely against the frame
lug. After assessing the problem, and realizing the impact of it, and not being able to reach Roland by
phone, Chris waved down a car to pass on the message to Roland who had luckily stopped just over
the crest of the hill. He left his gear at the top, retraced his steps, and together we worked on it twice
to try and get the rack working. 2.5 hours later, with paniers, mudguard and back rack strapped to the
top of the orange trailer box, we set off again for Harden.

Saturday afternoon. Of the 50 retail shops advertised, only 5 were still open, a blacksmith in
Murrahbateman,2 petrol stations, and a take-away food store run by a Serbian-speaking Macedonian
woman and her Greek husband, serving delicious roast chicken and potato wedges.

Re-assessing our plan to get to Yass, we looked at catching the XPT train from Harden to Yass and as
Harden station was unmanned (huge, empty) we had to book online or by phone beforehand plus had
to have bikes in boxes to be able to travel. Scrapped that idea, and aimed for Binalong, half way to
Yass, and contacted the Binalong Hotel/pub and booked the last twin room available.

Stayed at the Binalong pub and were warmly welcomed by the proprietors and their sister/friend and
dogs. Enjoyed a hearty meal with some rail engineering workers, and they offered to help us try and
fix the sheared bolt. Unfortunately the bolts that they had were Imperial measurements/ the wrong
size.

Day 22: Sunday 8 August – BINALONG TO CANBERRA
Distance 100km
Distance so far: 1144.3 km
Weather: good. Cold. Some sun.
Terrain: hilly, ascents, descents, with a steady long climb from Yass upto Canberra‟s 600m altitude.
As we had covered less distance the day before, we now had 100km to get to Canberra, our biggest
ride yet. A hearty early breakfast and a steady, beautiful cycle to Bowning and Yass. The Hume
Highway into Yass was surprisingly okay to cycle on.

Arriving in Yass, we found a hardware store, and got a replacement bolt, and at a nearby café ate
lunch and re-attached the back rack minus the mudguard, reattached the paniers, and some locals –
Gerald and Helen – offered us a place to stay in Yass, to wash clothes, and contact media, and help us
with mechanical stuff, but we had to press on to Canberra. Rode the back routes as far as possible
and then rode along an horrific Barton highway into Canberra. Fast, narrow, undulating and winding
in places, with many cars, trucks and buses (Greyhound Australia, and CountryLink) not slowing
down and not giving extra room, just barreling along their lane as close as 500m from our handlebars
without any consideration. Plus there is a definite ascent over the route from Yass to Canberra.

Arriving in Canberra. Random person, a foreign student, gave directions to a hostel which was full,
and then made an extra effort to recommend the YHA that the hostel also recommended. 2 nights in
YHA meeting other international visitors, students, and Australian schoolkids.


Days 23-29: Monday 9 August – Sunday 15 August. IN CANBERRA
Weather: lots of rain: the wettest, coldest weather in Canberra for 10 years.
Terrain: fairly flat in this city, founded in 1913.


Staying with Caroline Le Couteur, Green MLA (Member for Molonglo) who opened her home for us
to stay until we leave Canberra.

Attended the launch of the national action plan for Active Transport. Steven Hodge, 5 times Tour de
France competitor who promotes cycling to the Federal Government has brought together a
partnership of the Cycling Promotion Fund, the Australian Local Government Association, the Heart
Foundation, the Bus Industry Confederation, and the International Public Transport Association to
launch this plan. More at: Pedal Power Canberra and Cycling Promotion

Chris called upon Zed Seselja, Leader of the Opposition Canberra Liberals, in the ACT Legislative
Assembly. The Liberals are socially more conservative than the British Lib Dems and economically
even more pro market. Chris introduced Bike the Earth, Earth Summit 2012, the One Planet London
Olympics, and Cycling in Canberra. Chris hopes to meet Tony Abbott in Sydney. Paradoxically there
is much more in common between the UK Lib Dems and the Australian Greens!

Meanwhile, ATA‟s John Knox is cycling towards Canberra, highlighting the need for action on climate
change.

Saturday morning, cycled from Curtin along the edge of Lake Burley Griffin , past the Australian
Rowing Club who will give GB and France competition in the double sculls and pairs at the London
Olympics, and inspired them look at becoming carbon neutral, using local biofuel to fuel the
motorboats used by their rowing coaches! Cycled on past the old parliament. Visiting Velo Republic
in Kingston, where old Canberra began. Myles who helps out in the bike shop wore arm warmers
fashioned from grey/black patterned socks – stunning design… far more interesting than plain black
ones! More about what he is doing here

Chris Le Breton
http:/www.biketheearth.net
http://www.planbig.com.au/Bike-the-Earth


THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS WHOSE SUPPORT WE APPRECIATE HUGELY:

www.untouchedworld.com
www.havebike.co.uk
www.bigfootbikes.co.uk
www.dhl.co.uk
www.humanpowered.com.au


AND TO THOSE WHO HAVE DONATED FUNDS DIRECTLY TO US OR VIA JUSTGIVING.

-- THANK YOU -

				
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