Days 48 - 49: August 27 - 28 - Brisbane at last!

Days 48 to 49  August 27 - 28
Toowoomba to Brisbane 142km

Highway 54 from Toowoomba to Brisbane looks a bit like Death Alley when you inspect it from Google Street View and consider the volume of traffic it must carry. The alternative route is southwards, involves lots of climbing, and is quite a bit longer than 123km of the highway. It comes in to Brisbane from Ipswich, which is its own adventure. Some very kind people from the Brisbane Cyclist website helped map this route out for me.

I compromised. After talking with various service station owners and with drivers, I left before six, on the theory that I could get to Helidon before the traffic built up; it was a Saturday morning, after all. I was correct about this; the traffic at Helidon was a fraction of the traffic for the day before coming in from Dalby.

But by the time I reached the Marburg exit, the traffic was very heavy, and the verge often primitive (to say the least) and I was glad to get off.

Still plenty of room for a bike

There is a spectacular drop out of Toowoomba. You have to climb to get to it though, and I began to thank Google for its strange routing though early morning Toowoomba which took me over some hilly parts of town; I'd hate to have ridden up Highway 54 with cold legs! I made good time, in excess of 20 kilometres per hour, out to Marburg. That dropped way back through Marburg, Rosewood, Walloon, and into Ipswich.

From Toowoomba

From Toowoomba

Google twice tried to send me down no-through-roads on this section!

The climbs begin

In near Marburg

Marburg area

Tallegalla Cemetry

Looking South from just outside Rosewood

I have a feeling I may be seeing these close up in a day or two!

Google then redeemed itself by sening me on an incredible mix of bike path, backstreets, and creeks, into the Brisbane botanical gardens. I couldn't retrace that route to save my life. There were multiple crossings over and under the train, and freeways. Their routing algorithm is awesome.
I went on voice only, as I have nowhere safe to display the phone screen, and it's a pretty unsafe distraction in itself. So we did come unstuck, once, when it began to send me in circles. That was the time of the minor earth tremor you may have noticed on August 27th-- when I said more than a few words that are not normally uttered by clergy!
Going off the highway cost me an extra 20 kilometres from Marburg, but was well worth it for the views, and the safety. And for the quiet; highways are incredibly noisy, and it's rapidly tiring.

60%

What happens when Google and Andrew get confused!

Googling into Brisbane with roadside bike-lane, train line complete with coal train, and freeway just to the right. Somewhere north of Ipswich.

Brisbane River

Inner Brisbane Bikeway

On the bike, you miss all this!

At the botanical gardens I asked someone to take my photo, repacked the phone, and found the bike un-rideable. The chain tensioning spring in the rear derailleur had failed just as I rode up. The chain was just about dragging on the ground and, of course, without any tension, skipping over the cogs.

The ever reliable Gavin Nugent talked me through getting this mess into a rideable configuration, over the phone. I have two gears which are way too high for anything steep, and too low for a flat road. But it meant I could ride slowly to my motel, rather than walk. Blessedly, an Avanti shop answered the phone just after hours, and I am booked in for a replacement- all going well- first thing in the morning on Monday. And I'm now  extra glad I made up a day by not stopping at Miles!

I had tea and a great yarn with cousin Philip Blesing and his wife Susan, and this morning went to Toowong Uniting Church. It has multiple South Australian folk, and I also met Andrew Dutney's dad!

And typically, for this part of the world, they do not seem to have any unsalted peanuts in Brisbane. But I am fed, I'll have a sleep this afternoon, and then I will pack for the morning. I think, probably, if things go well at the bike shop I'll try and make it out to Warwick tomorrow.

Note the sartorial elegance!

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