This is the a continuation of our attempt to cycle from Homebush to Brighton Le Sands which ended up being abandoned somewhere in Arncliffe. On this ride, however, we decided to meet at Adora in Earlwood to load up on coffee and chocolates. The previous night has been drizzling and Jeannie has already sent an email saying she’s not feeling well and will have to skip this ride.
I decided not to take the car and rode to Rooty Hill station to catch a train to Strathfield. Not knowing how to get to Earlwood on my own – I relied on previous tracks stored on my GPSMap62 mounted on my handle bar. I picked a point on the track that I knew how to get to and followed the tracks to Adora. The highlight of this solo ride was that a magpie had a go at me once – but my helmet protected me.
I was later joined by Ivor and Tricia at the cafe then we headed towards Brighton. The ride was not very far, upon reaching Brighton, we decided to go further to Cronulla. When we got to the Captain Cook Bridge – we hesitated a little seeing it is a long uphill stretch. But we pressed on, Tricia and I went back a bit to get some distance to build momentum to climb the uphill section of the bridge. We also had a front wind making the climb slightly harder. We cycled through an industrial complex around Tarren Point before finding a cycleway on the mangroves parallel to Northumberland Drive.
By the time we got off Captain Cook Drive, we were feeling hungry. We are not familiar of the area except for Ivor who vaguely remember a cafe somewhere. At the foot of Bate Bay Road, however, Tricia and I were already demanding from Ivor to assure us that there is going to be a great lunch soon. We were staring at a steep hill at foot of Bate Bay Road. Checking the GPS there seem to be a winding cycle path around it but we are not sure. Tricia asked me if I had lollies, all I had were some snack bars. She took and ate it while we’re psyching ourselves for the climb. Then we went for it. Luckily for me I was able to switch to my granny gear just as I lost momentum and crawled the rest of the climb but still on the saddle. A heckler at the top of the hill shouted – ‘do it again!’.
Ivor was right, at the top of the hill is a cafe. We contemplated if we should cycle on and find a better place but we were too hungry. We’d eat anything this cafe will serve. Have we continued, not far was a festival at Dunningham Park with possibly more interesting food. Oh well, that’s not going to be our story. We lingered at the festival for a few minutes before deciding to head back, at least the chocolates at Adora is something to look forward to.
I rode 86 km this day, including the commute to Rooty Hill and the additional Strathfield to Earlwood return section. This is the longest ride I have done since I got back cycling again. Have I bothered to check the map instead of relying on routes I knew – I would have discovered a more direct route to Strathfield cutting a few kilometers each way. Celine called me as I was to board the train heading home, asking if I’m ok and if I wanted dinner. She called me again sometime later to asked if I wanted to be picked up at the train station – without hesitation I said yes. I have a road bike saddle in my bike – not the most comfortable seat. After 6 hours on it, my bum is so sore I was dreading the last 4 km I’m yet to cycle to get home. Celine saved me from this agony.