Travel to starting point - A happy ride around Australia (third attempt) - CycleBlaze

May 25, 2022

Travel to starting point

I took this picture yesterday.
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The blue bag is a cheap shopping bag containing 3 panniers. I will carry 1 pannier as hand luggage. The bike is in the box. I had to deflate the tyres, remove the wheels, seat post, pedals, front rack and the handle bars to make it fit.

We got up at 4:15am in the brisk cold Canberra morning. 

The airport was quiet. I checked in the blue bag fine, it weighed 17kgs. My bike box weighed in at 31.5kgs. The nice Qantas man put heavy stickers on the box and walked me to the oversize luggage section. There was no mention of an excess weight fee. All was well.

I said sad and happy farewells to Serena. I will see her in a month in Broome.

I had a nice coffee while I waited for the flight to board.

When I scanned my boarding pass to board the plane, the flight attendant was curt to me, saying I had to go back and pay an excess weight fee.

This was a surprise to me. She was curt some more and then told me to board without paying the fee. She must have been having a bad day.

My flight to Sydney took an hour.

My flight to Darwin was due to depart in one hour until it was delayed a further 1.5 hours.

My luggage was automatically transferred to the Darwin flight. Or so I thought.

The Darwin flight was 4.5 hours. Sitting still was making my legs unhappy. They wanted to be pedalling.

After arriving in Darwin, there was a delay for our bags to be placed on the carousel. 

My blue bag turned up, missing a strap and with a couple of holes. When I used the remaining strap, it started to tear off. I put it on a trolley and then went to the oversized luggage collection door to wait for my bike.

I waited a tense 30 minutes. I was worried the bike hadn't been transferred from the Sydney flight to the Darwin flight. 

I thought all was lost, and then I was paged to collect my bike from a different oversized luggage area. I didn't know there were two different areas.

All 4 handles on the bike box were ripped, creating small holes.
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Annie O'SheaThat's not good
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6 months ago

Luckily, I had no small items that could fall out. I had cable tied my pedals to the rear rack.

I put the bike on the trolley and joined the taxi cue. I needed to get to Darwin city to catch the bus to Katherine. 

While waiting, I called a taxi company to ask for a maxi taxi as my luggage wouldn't fit in a normal taxi.

I was advised they didn't have a maxi taxi and I should catch the airport shuttle bus. 

The airport shuttle bus has a trailer that would accommodate my luggage. I went there, only to be told they were full and I should wait for the next bus. They couldn't give me a timeline.

I waited 40 minutes. If the shuttle bus didn't arrive soon, I would miss the bus to Katherine. I had 30 minutes left. I was googling Darwin hotels as I thought I would have to stay the night in Darwin.

And then thankfully, the shuttle bus arrived. I spoke to the nice driver and explained my haste. He was helpful.

He let a few other people on the bus and we departed. I was running out of time. He said he would drop me off first. He asked me to put google maps navigation on my phone for him as he wasn't sure of the location of the bus exchange. 

I did as he requested and gave him my phone. He held onto my phone while driving. This is illegal in Australia. If I wasn't in such a rush I would have declined his request. 

We arrived near the bus exchange but he couldn't drive in so he parked 200 metres away from the Katherine bus.

We then got my luggage from the trailer. I was carrying the bike and he was carrying the blue bag. We ran as best we could with our heavy loads to the bus.

He was a very helpful driver. I couldn't have carried everything on my own. I don't know what the other passengers on the shuttle bus thought of my dilemma. 

Originally, I had 3 hours to get from the airport to the Darwin bus exchange. But due to all of the delays, I only just made it with 8 minutes to spare.

The Katherine bus ride took 4 hours with no opportunity to get off the bus and stretch our legs.

I was lucky to see a suitable taxi after disembarking in Katherine, which took me to my hotel for the night. I arrived at 7:45pm, it's been a big day.

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Sandra LawnYay Vince fantastic to see you back on the road Frank and I were wondering how you were going to get back to your end/start point.
You braved the airport.

Duck tape, duck tape, duck tape you can never use enough of that wrapped around and around cheap carry bags and to reinforce bike boxes including handles.
Good tip cable tie pedals to bike, will do that next time I fly somewhere.

Looking forward to following your journey back to your front door, stay safe and enjoy ( of course you will)

Sandy in NZ
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6 months ago
Rich FrasierUgh. Travel days suck! You were so lucky to find a helpful shuttle driver! There are good people everywhere. Hopefully things will improve once you start riding.
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6 months ago
Lorenzo JaryWow nightmare! It stressed me out just reading it! Bike touring is the best but traveling with a bike and loads of luggage sucks.
I'm glad to see it all worked out okay in the end!
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6 months ago
Annie O'SheaWow you had a day and a half reading about it made me start to get up tight anyway you finally made it to start your new adventures. Enjoy abit more of Oz
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6 months ago
Lednar De NallohWow... your bike box was 8kgs over the 23kg checked baggage limit and you didn't get charged. Well done and all the best for your trip. The Munda Biddi with all that weight might be interesting but you'll be fit as an ox by then.
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6 months ago
Vince McCarthyTo Sandra LawnHello again Sandy!

I've had a lot of therapy the last few years which enabled me to use the airport. It all went well. Thanks for noticing. I didn't want to make a big deal about it but it was a big deal for me.

I'm glad you guys are following along. I miss NZ dearly and hope to return soon.

Cheers
Vince
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6 months ago
Vince McCarthyTo Rich FrasierHi Rich,

I'm very excited about departing tomorrow. It's been a long wait and the most planning I've ever done for a ride.

Cheers
Vince
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6 months ago
Vince McCarthyTo Lorenzo JaryHi Lorenzo,

Thanks for your message. Yes, it was a big day. It was all worth it. Everything arrived and is in working order. Now all I have to do is pedal.
Cheers
Vince
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6 months ago
Vince McCarthyTo Annie O'SheaThank you Mum.
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6 months ago
Vince McCarthyTo Lednar De NallohHello again Lednar!

Yeh, I'm a bit worried about the Munda Biddi trail. I know touring bikes aren't recommended for it. And my tires could be wider. I'm still keen to try it because I'll be in the area. I'm looking forward to it.

Cheers
Vince
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6 months ago