Cycling Tour of the Victorian Winter - Day 2, Colac to Skipton

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Cycling Tour of the Victorian Winter - Day 2, Colac to Skipton


The simple joys of riding quaint single lane country roads are what a cyclist lives for—encrusted with lichen that is free to grow due to the lack of traffic.

Many of the roads surrounding the ‘lakes and crater’ district are precisely like this as they hug the slight depressions where the water lies and squeeze their way through farmland properties.  

Norm and I enjoyed this riding style until the 45km mark, where we decided to stop and have lunch on the edge of a farm, using the fat fence post as a benchtop.  

We had been tacking across the countryside in a northwesterly direction, watching the fog lift revealing blue sky and sunshine albeit, in the depths of winter, the solar energy left us smiling as we rode to lunch. 

Norm and I were excited today, unexpectedly we had no services to do any resupplies along the way, but it was the forced self-reliance that we had wanted whilst planning this trip. Little did we know how this would translate.

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The day started in the cold darkness before the sun was even hinting of rising, the mist enveloped the lake, and everything was damp.

Our first night, robbed of sleep as the kind of neighbours who planted their laughing party close to us had succumbed to sleep somewhere between three and four o’clock this morning. 

I got up out of my tent to see if I could seek revenge somehow and, at the very least, did not keep my voice down as we ate breakfast and prepared our bikes for day two on the road.

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Watching the landscape unfold with morning light was stunning, though there was not much to see as the fog didn’t lift. 

So we took our time, tired from the crappy sleep and unmotivated to get going in these conditions, we finally departed the camp at 10 am.

Before we got away, though, the most beautiful act of karma occurred, and I didn’t have to do a thing to get revenge on my sleepless night.

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Around 8:30 am, a council garbage collector entered the park to empty the bins, Sunday morning and all. 

He got the job done promptly with no regard for sleeping campers, and as he got closer to our end, he stopped in front of a campsite that was very, very close to our party goers to say hello to someone he knew. 

He did not turn the engine off; instead, he kept it idling, loud and grumbly for a good twenty minutes or more. 
It was gold—silent fist pump.

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As it turned out, our day was full of funny moments. 

It was a good reminder that when you ride your bike in a way where you are open to your environment, almost in search of opportunity instead of being closed off to the destination or time constraints, stuff happens. 

It’s like you are no longer the audience, but the cast acting out the play with lots of ad-lib moments.

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Quiet gravel laneways with cattle running alongside to see what we are up to or in the hope of some feed.  

As we rode past, the noisy cries of lambs scampering back to mum.

Being rounded up by two Collies, then having a long chat with the property owner about life on the farm out on Lake Cundare, surrounded by gun-wielding ice addicts and the like.

Not moments later, to witness four galloping coated up horses run freely for fun, watched by their share tenant, the alpaca. 
It put a smile on our faces.

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Lunch on the large fence post acted as a benchtop, surrounded by young green crops and a large family of kangaroos intercepting the serenity as though trained to do so for a scene in a movie - massive smiles.

The simple act of eating a lunch made up of all that we had, savouring each mouthful and trying not to rush it.

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After lunch, the halfway point brought many northerly directions and unexpected headwinds, windfarms, running out of food, running out of water, but knowing this was the kind of adventure we signed up to do.

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We got to Skipton, bought up all the food at the local IGA and then found a $7.99 bottle of McGuigans Merlot, transferring leftovers to a small OJ container because I did not want the weight penalty for a few days nor waste my bargain find.

Then finding our camp spot had flat ground, power, a toilet and hot running water, legal and free. BOOM. 

We made sure we left no trace.

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All those highlights were often lowlights, but it was early days, and we were hopeful of self-discovery and enlightenment through perseverance and sufferance.  

Dinner was bowl noodles with tofu, tinned peas with an entree of salt and vinegar kettle chips accompanied by my $7.99 merlot, and Norm had his OJ.  Luxury.

The next day brought more sunshine and wind, and our energy supply was on a fast burn, playing catch up. 

Thankfully we had lots of deep-fried potato access and a motel room to look forward to tonight.

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  • Lake Colac to Skipton: 92km 
  • Moving time: 5:12
  • Elevation: 366mt
  • Ave speed: 17.5kmph
  • Temperature: 6 degrees
  • Wind: NE
  • Sleep: 5/10
  • Food: 6.5/10
  • Song on repeat in my head (From singing it to my grandson all the time): Dingle Dangle scarecrow.



  • $70 supermarket shopping



  • Quiet country roads
  • Lambs
  • Cows
  • Kangaroos
  • Windfarms
  • Sunshine
  • Cheap merlot
  • The lunch spot


Things we would change:

  • Not run out of food and water
  • Leave camp earlier to give more time for the conditions.

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My Strava link to the ride:


Norm’s YouTube video of the day:


Jess’s YouTube video diary of the trip: