Fully loaded with bananas, well rested, and psyched for what lay ahead; I left Townsville and set off on the final leg.
As always, the road was paved with awesome people and heaps of encouragers.
I was so enjoying the ride that by the time I reached Innesfail (a mere stone’s throw – 95 km – away from Cairns), I decided I was far too close and rerouted my trip a little
It’s weird how 2 months earlier I could barely ride a bike, hills made my stomach churn, and 80 kilometers took me a whole day.
Now I was that person who willfully chose to ride up to the Atherton Tablelands (a 1400 meter climb) just to prolong my trip and a few 100 km detours were termed “small”
The detour didn’t disappoint one bit!
I timed my arrival perfectly to be the very first customer at the Millaa Millaa Caravan Park
And for the first time on the trip I became an actual cycle tourist spending my days exploring wonders rather than just covering distance.
As always, I gave the serious cyclists a laugh.
But the sense of accomplishment from conquering a mountain was awesome!
From the Tablelands I pushed North and took the ferry across to the Daintree
And pushed on from there to Cape Tribulation
Where I found rainforrests, and pristine beaches and creeks and assortments of delicious fruit
I pushed on further and eventually decided to stop pedaling at Emmagen Creek – the very end of the tarred roads
Cape Tribulation and it’s beauty sucked me in for a few days
(even with all the crocodile warnings)
Although it doesn’t look it, I was actually quite sad to have conquered the last significant hill of the trip.
And the ferry back south felt rather wrong
But there were a few more minor detours to be made
And then finally, after 2 months of barefoot pedaling with my exceptionally dirty teddy bear.
After 3678 Km of mud, rain, mountains, forests, highways and dirt tracks, breakdowns, smiles, waves, yells of encouragement…
After meeting more amazing people than I thought Australia could hold…
I did what I had thought was impossible – I arrived in Cairns and crossed the finish line.
It’s amazing how one gyspy, who knew nothing about bikes, could clamber on an old recycled bicycle and just keep going.
But with the amazing charity that is Bikes 4 Life behind me, I had that Umph I needed to keep pushing – It just shows you that all things really are possible (If I could do it anyone can).
One little cycle trip transformed my life and reminded me how much the human body is capable of and showed me how far a bicycle can take you.
It’s quite sad to be at the end of the trip, but new adventures (whatever they may be) lie ahead.
Ninja, my faithful steed, is being added to a container of bikes in Cairns and is on his way up to Cape York to help transform a community up there.
(it’s not too late to donate – go to www.bikes4life.com.au)
I know I have many a cycle tour ahead
of me in the future and I hope I’ve inspired some of you to do the same!
It might be difficult at the start – but the best things in life are always worth working for!