Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lake Eppalock Fall

I have been unwell the last couple of weeks and have avoided the bike to speed my recovery. But today I got out again. I made north-east out of Melbourne, but changed my mind and turned west on pleasant apple-orchard roads between St Andrews and Whittlesea, aiming for Wandong. Somehow I ended up in Kilmore instead. North of there I played on the Pyalong-Broadford Road.

With lunch at Heathecote, I aimed to circle Lake Eppalock.  This is interesting country: winding, but dry, sandy and scrubby. The day was warm and blue, with hints of a thunderstorm growing.

Below, a river. Traditional Australian literature often associates emotions with water - emotional scenes take place around water-places: the ocean, lakes, swimming holes at rivers. It is said that our traditional literature is typically dry in emotional content.

I arrived at Knowsley and made my way down the western side of the lake - or rather reservoir.

Further along, in a deserted place, I came to the shore of the depleted lake. There was a 4x4 track along its edge which I followed. I stopped my bike for a photo at this spot, which I later photographed while waiting for fate's decision.

Having initially stopped and turned my back, I heard a noise through my ear plugs and spun around to find the bike on its side in the mud. Furthermore, it was angled in a mildly upside-down position because of the angle of the lake bed. I grabbed the bike but couldn't lift it. I threw my gear off, grabbed the bike again, but still could not: it was simply too heavy, too awkward, and it rolled in the dirt rather than rising. I was alone. The longer the bike lay, the harder it would be to get it started and to get myself out of this place without drama. I feared I had snapped one of the levers, which would also strand me, but they were buried in the mud and I couldn't see the damage. My hands were stung and bled because the bike was lying on these

Eventually, my limbs jelly from the weakness of having been ill, I slowly lifted the bike: as when a person gets their shoulder under a heavy object, I maneuvered my body under it, inch by inch, then the act of standing brought the bike up.

It wouldn't start. I waited and tried again, with each attempt depleting the battery, which could easily flatten and further strand me.

Still it would not start. Thunder rumbled, like anxiety in the pit of one's stomach, and the day closed and darkened. Letting the bike sit, I took photos while I waited, to capture the feeling of isolation.

After a forcing myself to wait some time I tried again - nothing. I experimented with wide open throttling: nothing.  Then suddenly the bike burst into a cry of high revs.

Things were a little twisted but nothing was damaged. Everything having come to nothing, I made for home as lightning flashed in the dark.


  1. That was a great read!

    Hmmm..... so this is the dirt riding you're trying to entice me into?

  2. Jeez Matt, there's not going to be much hornet left in a years time at this rate! How'd the bike fare?

  3. Reading your adventure has made me want to hop on my Shadow and take off the the day! Thanks for the motivation. By the way somewhere on the net I found a site 'How to lift your bike'. It works a treat no fuss. I dropped mine some weeks back and I had it up no worries and I am a little old lady almost!