August 31, 2002 GMT
Sydney to Byron Bay

At last it was getting warmer, Sydney was bright and sunny and I had one last look at the Opera House before riding over the Harbour Bridge - just like Billy Connelly did on his trike (only I don't have a back-up crew!)

sunset nsw.jpg
Sunset NSW

Got to know the locals a bit in Pt. Macquarie and ate BBQ'd shark. V. tasty! Spent a whole day in a hammock. Had great fun in Coffs Harbour, but had a few downers too. I was working in the hostel for free board. A group of us went canoeing and held up four lanes of traffic with a canoe chain crossing the road to get to the river. Canoeing didn’t last long before we all capsized and had to swim after the beer bottles that were floating down the river. We did a few Tarzan impressions swinging from a rope swing into the river – I didn’t quite hold on long enough and nearly landed in a canoe.

Coffs is also home of the Big Banana and the Wallabies (Australian Rugby Union team) I had my photo taken with the rugby World Cup – hopefully that’s not the closest England are going to get to it! I also came across a way of drinking a tequila slammer I hadn’t seen before. Instead of lick sip suck, this guy snorted the salt, gulped his drink and squirted the lemon in his eye...

exellant shit.jpg
Coffs Harbour

The most tragic part of my trip so far happened in Coffs – my bike was stolen – I was not happy, but on the way to the police station (on foot and sulking big time) I saw my bike ride past me up the high street. It wasn’t hard to spot as I had sprayed it pink and painted butterflies and dolphins on it. At 5:30 that evening I had a phone call saying my bike had been run over by a ute. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage to the bike (and unfortunately no damage to the rider) However the pink panther was gone forever – the little **** had painted it black.

bike coffs after re-spray.jpg
"The black panther" just dosn't sound the same.

Next stop Byron bay, where anyone who saw me would have been convinced I’d never seen a motorcycle before, let alone ridden one! After the incident in Coffs I had become meticulous with locking the bike up. I just kept forgetting to take the disk lock off. In two days I dropped it twice. I have given up re-placing my brake and clutch levers and they re-main knobbless.

Posted by Nicky Austin at August 31, 2002 01:37 AM GMT
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