- Kilometers: 6
- Ziptie Repairs: 0
- Breakdowns: 1
- Beers: 4
- Rides Hitched: 1
When you spend the better part of a year planning, preparing, sacrificing to make something happen; when you finally make it to that point and it doesn't go in your favour - well it was tough.
The week leading up to my departure was spent in a mad rush to try and get ready. I was averaging about 3 hours sleep a night. I was still bartending at my bar to bring in a few extra dollars before I left. An average day involved getting up at 6am to work on the bike (the gear box was still not working). Then during the hottest hours I would run errands around town, gathering last minute supplies, packing up my room in the house before having a shower to open the bar at around 4pm. The bar would usually close around 11ish so I would head home and continue to pack the room and check my gear. Rolling into bed at 3am I repeated this process 6 days in a row.
On my last shift at the bar I farewelled the great team that I worked with, grabbed a beer and headed home for some sleep. It was 48 hours until I was to be on the road and I felt that if even if I had a few extra months until jump I would have been underprepared. I was fried, mentally physically.
The night before I left, the Landsdowner pub at Broadway allowed me to roll the fully kitted bike into the pub for a fundraiser/farewell drinks. Having not eaten since the day before and as everyone was more than generous with buying me beers, before long the drink had crept up on me and I was slurring my words and stumbling around. Having the bike in the pub attracted attention and the beyondblue donation tin managed to attract over $200 in donations. All in all, it was a win for charity and a chance for me to relax before leaving. A smarter person would have had an early night, a cup of tea and enjoyed the last night in their own bed for a long time. I did none of these things. I went to bed late and woke up many times throughout the few hours of sleep I tried to get.
I wish I could describe how I felt when I woke up in the morning but it was such a blur that even now, just a few days later I struggle to recall all of the details. Guessing, I would say - hungover, pensive, nervous, excited. I still had a pretty major oil leak in my gearbox which meant on the morning of my ride out I needed to reseal my gearbox and then meet the 50 plus riders who had assembled at the local bike cafe to see me off. I loaded up the bike and headed to the cafe.
The bike was running fine on my way there. Pulling up the cafe a little late I was taken aback by how many people had come out to see me. The Sydney Cafe Racer crew, the Sydney Desert Sleds group, the Enfield club and a few non-riding friends - all these people wanted to support and help. I was really, really taken back. I got talking with a number of people and waited until the Stories of Bike founder came out to take some footage. It was time. I kicked the bike over and swung my leg over the top.
I pulled out from the cafe and the 50 or so riders pulled in behind me. My bike died. The gearbox covering had separated out and oil was spilling out onto Parramatta road. I wasn’t going anywhere. Then just as you would expect, a storm rolled over and it poured down.
I thanked the riders that came out to see me and waved them off as they rushed home to avoid the worst of the storm.
One of the SCR guys had access to a truck; we loaded the bike up and I dropped it back at my share house, that I had left behind that morning.
I ordered some parts, spent a couple nights between friends’ couches and a friend’s bed and left unceremoniously 3 days later. Limping out of a back lane in Chippendale, I was finally on my way to London.