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Sydney to Broke

23rd March 2014 to 23rd March 2013

I shot across the harbour bridge. The sun was shining; I was full of excitement. My first stop was to be a bike shop in the Northern suburbs that had come on early as a supporter. Stories of Bike filmed me as I blasted along the highway - the bike was running sweet. It needed a few adjustments here and there but as far as 45 year old bikes go I was so happy to have solved my gearbox issue. Dealing with the Sydney traffic I realised I had some clutch slippage. I pulled into the bike shop and got talking with the owners. Local shops such as Scooter Central where you can still go in and talk with the owners, share their passion and get cracking advice from experts and not just an online checkout store make me so very happy.

I needed to address my clutch slippage and they very kindly offered to let me work out of the sun at the back of the shop. An hour later I was heading north on the old Pac Highway.

I grabbed a late supper from the famous pie in the sky as the sun was setting. I knew I should have found somewhere close to stay but I was that excited I just jumped back on the bike and hit it.

A short while down the road the bike spluttered, died and took my lighting with it. Thrown into the pitch black I jammed on both the brakes and was grateful for the full moon which gave me just enough light to find the side of the road. Then I quickly lost my footing and slipped over taking the bike with me.

Losing the lighting instantly when the engine had died was frightening and something that I needed to address. My concern about the lack of lighting was quickly replaced with anger at myself when I reached down and flicked on the fuel tap. To almost bin it on the first day so close to home for such a stupid mistake make me so very angry. Note to self: check fuel tap, don’t ride at night.

I rode for far too long on that first night. There is something about old empty highways on summer nights - no one around, warm air and just the wombats to watch out for. I had nowhere to be but further up the road so I just kept puttering along. When it was close to 11pm I decided it was time to try and find a place to make camp. Pulling over to the side of the road I hit a bump and knocked the front wheel out of drum brake seating and lost my front brake. The bike toppled over - my first bike drop of the trip. I took that as a bad sign and decided to try and find somewhere else to stay. In the next town of Broke just West of Cessnock I found a free public camp/rest area full of caravans. As it was close to 1am I rolled the bike in to not wake anyone up. Finding a place to throw my swag I started unloading.

I love free camp sites. You don’t have to be worried about being disturbed through the night by some grumpy farmer, some punk kids in utes or as happened before - finding out you actually camped in a live fire military training area.

Just as I pulled off my last bag and was getting ready to sleep and despite the bike being on the centre stand - it fell over. For the 3rd time that day I picked up the bike to notice that I had wreaked the clutch lever assembly. On the first day I had dived into the primary, binned it 3 times broke my clutch lever and no longer had any front brake. Despite all of that, I was on the road. The trip was happening and whatever challenges I faced would just have to be dealt with. Putting my broken clutch parts into my carry bag, I crawled into my swag, happier and more relaxed than I had been in months.