Day 74: Jul. 1 – Gold Coast to Brisbane
Daily Distance = 87.76km, Trip Total = 2,357.49km, Today’s Climb = 543m
I had a decent amount of ground to cover today and I often find cycling in unknown cities slows me down quite a bit for a variety of reasons: the constant stop and go of traffic lights and roundabouts, trying to follow signs to make as much of the ride on trails and paths as possible and constantly checking with google maps to ensure I’m still on route or don’t get too far off route. The benefit of riding into a city, is that as long as I could get within the city limits by sunset I should have street lights to light the way, so it’s not as much of a necessity to be at my final destination by sunset. The other variables working in my favour today? The wind did indeed change direction a couple nights ago, so I have a great tailwind, it is clear skies with no hint of rain and the temperature is perfect for cycling – not too hot and not too cold (3rd day in a row riding in a t-shirt :)). Nevertheless, I feel more comfortable finishing my day in daylight, so opted to be on the road nice and early.
Heading out of Gold Coast I was going to follow Hwy 2, however within a few hundred metres I was re-routed as it was closed due to a marathon. I actually think the marathon is tomorrow (I had seen signs for it on my way into Gold Coast yesterday), but they must have been having some of the shorter distances run today. So I spent a couple km’s along a path slowly weaving between runners who had finished their run. I didn’t mind as I always like the vibe and energy around these kinds of events. When the path ended I was at a road where the run was in progress. There was another cyclist there and we were told by the volunteers to ‘boot it’ when we saw a gap that we could make it through!
Fair warning to cyclists for crossing tram tracks
Run in progress – just needed to find a gap to get through
It took a while, but eventually I was able to get through the run-in-progress and had the luxury of a couple of km’s on roads with absolutely no car traffic – it was a rare treat in such a busy city!
Roads all to myself!
Eventually I got past all the road closure areas and was mixed with traffic again, however by that time I was on a road with a very well signed bike path and there were lots of road cyclists out for a morning ride. I even came to one small bridge where it was very heavily signed that traffic was not allowed to overtake cyclists on the bridge and the whole bridge was painted green noting a bike path (I would have taken a picture but I didn’t think traffic behind me would have appreciated me stopping to do so).
Awesome bike lanes heading north of Gold Coast
The theme of my ride today – red stop lights! I think I only hit 4 green lights all day, each and every other one would turn yellow just as I was getting close to the intersection
Is that a telephone pole dressed up as a palm tree?
Just as I was getting closer to the highway I started seeing signs for the v1 cycle route and was able to pick up the bike route quite easily. This route was pretty well signed in this area as it followed quiet roads going from one suburb to the next close to the highway, mostly with wide bike lanes. I did however still keep a close eye on google maps on my phone as my research indicated that one or two of these signs actually point you in the wrong direction. As a result, there were a couple times that I followed google maps instead of the signs.
The V1 cycle route signs
In most places they even have the V1 cycle route identified on the road signs at roundabouts
Cycling the V1 – wide bike lanes on quiet roads
See the bridge in the distance? That’s the other side of this roundabout. It literally crosses over the multi lane divided highway below and further. My exit for this roundabout was only about 100m away from where I entered it, but in the opposite direction of traffic. So I blindly followed this roundabout all the way around! Another roundabout like this occurred further up the road and instead of following it all the way around with traffic I eventually spotted a sign that pointed cyclists on the sidewalk against traffic so we could take a shortcut to get to our exit
The Brisbane km countdown continues….
I was starting to get a little nervous when the V1 signs seemed to be heading towards the highway – in the wrong direction no less! But then I spotted the path for cyclists just to the right of the exit lane
There is a stretch about 30km’s from Brisbane where the road traffic gets busier and the V1 cycle route (and signs) seem to disappear. This also came up in my research, so I just followed the roads in the most direct route possible. Within about 20km’s of Brisbane I was able to pick up a dedicated bike path and followed that for a good stretch. This path eventually went back and forth between being a dedicated bike path and following quieter roads. On one of these quieter roads I unknowingly missed my turnoff back onto the path. After about 1km something didn’t seem right, so I consulted my phone to find I was off route. I was able to correct course pretty quickly and was able to pick up the path again.
Dedicated bike path following the highway
Eventually the path deposited me on the southbank of the Brisbane river where I made myself north on a very busy path (it was a Sat. afternoon, so lots of people were out and about taking in the sunny afternoon). From here I was able to cross the Story Bridge and arrived at my destination around 3:30pm – well before sunset! I checked into my accommodations, cleaned up and made the quick walk to the grocery store to stock up on groceries.
My first glimpse of Brisbane when the path I was on led me to the southbank of the Brisbane river
A natural rock climbing wall in the city!
View of Brisbane from the Story Bridge
Proof that I was here :)
It is a little bittersweet arriving in Brisbane, as I have decided that this will be the completion of the tour cycling portion of the trip. In total I have only cycled half of what I originally hoped. I definitely underestimated a few factors that has led to this difference in mileage, such as:
- Shorter daylight hours reduce the amount of ground that I can comfortably cover in a day
- Shorter daylight hours along with the cooler temperatures also impacted my camp vs not camp decision which had a ripple impact on how quickly I was going through the allocated trip budget
- I kept getting sidetracked with all of the sightseeing trips and tours along the way
But overall I am still pretty darn proud of what I have accomplished and how much ground I was able to cover, especially given how little I was prepared for this trip vs the Canadian trip.
Most importantly: THANK YOU for all the thoughts, prayers, well wishes, messages and advice along the way – I really wouldn’t be able to do this kind of travel without the support of such great friends and family! It goes such a long way to knowing that I’m never alone and keeping my spirits and confidence up (especially on the more challenging days)!
I still have a few things I want to see while I’m in Australia. So from here I will be picking up a car to do some more sightseeing. I’ll still provide a few more posts of what I’m up to, but they will likely be fewer and farther between and focused more on pictures vs the state of the roads I’m travelling/rain/wind/how hilly it is 😉
Oh – and lastly – thanks for following along and not pointing out all of the terrible english and grammar errors. I wasn’t really checking anything so hopefully the posts were somewhat intelligible!