Sydney

Technical problems with the plane made our arrival to Sydney several hours late. Lucy's brother and sister with husband had had a long wait for us to show up. They had brought two vehicles so the luggage went into one vehicle and we boarded the other and off we went to Minto, in the southern suburbs. 

We arrived at Lucy's brother Boon's place where his wife Fiti was already busy making food for us. Before long we sat together all of us around the table eating and chatting. Nina had fun the rest of the afternoon playing with Brian and Maraea, Boon&Fiti's children. They went on really well together and Nina enjoyed playing with them every day there.

 

When the sun came down we realised that July is wintertime in Australia, it was quite cold at night. Following day we went to Nora&Lango's place (Lucy's sister with husband), some 5 km away at Ingleburn, for sunday lunch. There were plenty of food and plenty of children at all ages. We ate and talked about samoan life in Australia. Fiti prepared breakfast for us every morning we stayed at their place and also helped us with the laundry. She is pregnant with a third child and spend her days at home now to take care of the kids. Monday morning Boon&Fiti took us to Minto mall for some shopping and to a clinic to give Pim a third shot of vaccination. It all went fine without any hassle.

 

Then I assembled my bike and found out how to get it into town to a bicycle repair shop I had an appointment with tuesday morning. I took the commuting train there and left the bike with them to change the rear chain ring cassette. They gave me a good advice on where to go and find a suitable bike for Lucy. Wednesday morning we took the train and bus to Bondi to have a look at a Gazelle Fuente Pure. The bike was exactly what we were looking for. It had all the specifications Lucy wanted such as big wheels, small step-through frame, 24 gears, adjustable handlebar for upright riding position, comfy seat, chain cover, mudguards, rack, long kick-stand, lock and lights. Perfect!

Next day we went to collect the pre-ordered bicycle trailer in town. It is a Burley d'lite with stroller kit and a baby snuggler seat for Pim. It weighs 13 kg only and is rain proof. Nina and Pim can fit really fine together in there. They both enjoyed sitting in the trailer while we made some shopping in the neighbourhood.

 

One day we went with Fiti to Campbelltown mall. The ladies went shopping while I took Nina and Jasmine with me to the nearby playground. It was a nice day for it. Another day we went over to Nora's for barbeque. Yam!

 

I had read in an advertisement in the newspaper that there was going to be a bicycle promotion day for children in a nearby park on sunday morning. I took Nina with me in the trailer and went there. There was a jumping castle, free hotdogs, and facepainting. Nina had a butterfly painted to her face.

         

They had set up a quiz around a loop so we went and looked for the answers posted at various places. The questions were mainly about traffic safety issues. With all answers filled in, I handed over the note on behalf of Nina. While we sat eating a hotdog they started to announce the winners. Second prize to ..... miss Larsson! We hurried over with food still in the mouth. She won a new bicycle, exactly the right size and including a high quality helmet! It has 16" wheels, supporting wheels, handbreak, footbreak, and a bell. Perfect for her! We went around the loop once more, this time on one bike each. Then I put her bike on the back of mine and we went to Nora's for Sunday lunch again.

 

Another day we went to see the Sydney opera house. Not to be missed while in Sydney. It was a nice day and it was good to have the trailer with both kids inside. We also bought a bicycle helmet for Pim and some other bicycle equipment. The pre-ordered Vaude panniers have arrived by mail so now we have almost all we need. 

 

One evening Nora came over with the kids to Boon&Fiti's place. Nina and Pim had fun playing with all of them. Next day we went to collect Lucy's bike with the front rack fitted and brought it home. Lucy tried riding with Nina in her seat. It did not feel good for Lucy unfortunately. After a couple of tries we decided to put Nina on my bike instead and for Lucy to have panniers in the back. 

 

Lucy's younger brother Iuma and his wife came down from Brisbane over the weekend to meet us. Nora took a day off from work and we all went to 'Blue mountains' outside Sydney for picnic. It was a hot and sunny day. I spent most my time in the shadow. Nora and the kids went for a walk down to the river. Iuma and wife was happy to meet and play with Nina and Pim. 

         

 

At one spot there were plenty of big parrots, but we did not see any kangaroos. When leaving we had to ford a small river to get up on the highway again. We went back to Minto and arrived after dark. Lucy prepared herself for the next day.

 

We had all been invited to a birthday party of a 70 year old relative of Lucy. I remained back home to make final adjustments to the bicycles, with good help from Boon and using some of his tools. Then I started packing everything into boxes while Lucy, Nina and Pim went to the birthday party with the others. Next day was our last and it was also reflected by the very nice food they had prepared for sunday lunch. Iuma said a grace over the food, as samoans always do, and then we enjoyed eating a couple of hours. 

 

Taro, seafood, fish, jams, mussels, oysters, chicken, etc, etc. It was all yammy! after food it was impossible to talk to anyone. All of them were completely focused on the rugby finals shown on TV. Samoans are generally really in to rugby.  

 

The younger kids were playing on mattresses in the back, enjoying the afternoon plenty. In the end it was time to say goodbye  to everyone for this time. Tomorrow morning we will leave Australia and Iuma with wife will return to Brisbane again. We gathered for a family photo out front. 

 

Early on the morning we put all our luggage into the vehicles and were taken to the airport by Boon, Nora, and Iuma. We checked in all our big luggage and then it was time for final goodbye's. We went to the gate and had a look at the jumbojet that will take us to Bangkok, Thailand. All epuipment is prepared, bikes are ready and we are looking forward to new adventures in southeast Asia.

 

 

Bicycle equipment for our southeast Asia adventure

Lucy's bike is a Gazelle Fuente Pure, made in the Netherlands. Aluminum step-through frame of the smallest size. It has Shimano Acera/Alivio 24 gears with 42-32-22 teeth in front and 11-30 teeth cassette in back. The handle bar is of multigrip butterfly type and easily adjustable to upright sitting position. The wheels are 28" (700c) with 16x2 spoke pattern. It has a comfortable Selle Royal Nuvola RVL seat for women, plastic mudguards, proper chain cover, and a good lock attached. There is a strong rack in the back and we have fitted a tubus panniers rack in the front. There are battery lights in front and back. Lucy really enjoys riding it! Panniers are Vaude Discover Pro front + back and Vaude Discover box for the handlebar. She also carry a small backpack on top in the back. The bike is fitted with an extra long and strong kick-stand and I have fitted a bottleholder with some hose clips, adjusted for a 1,5 liter bottle. She is carrying some 22-25 kg of luggage depending on current supplies of baby food and nappies. 

 

 

 

Magnus bike is a Surly LHT (Long Haul Trucker) touring bike with steel frame. It has 27 gears with 44-32-24 teeth in front (changed from original 26 to 24) and a 36-12 cassette in the back (changed from 32-11). The gear setup gives possibilities to very low gear when pulling a heavy load uphill. There is a straight, extra wide, handle bar with horns and wide rest area for the hands. The stem is adjusted high up for a more upright riding position. Wireless cycle computer Sigma 1690 with light inside like a mobile phone. Surly front rack, long front mudguard, and heavy duty V-brakes in front. In the back there is a Hamax Siesta child seat that can be tilted 20 degrees backwards for sleeping position. The brakes has been changed for slightly more narrow model to fit between the seat. Long mudguard in back with extra flap to protect the trailer from dirt and water. The seat is an Italian silicone model with hole in the middle. There are double bottle cages adjusted for two 1,5 liter bottles. There are Reelights in front and back, powered by frictionless induction. An Abus u-lock and a long wire complete the list of equipment. Panniers are Vaude heavy-duty roll-down model meant for the back rack, but mounted in front instead. On the handlebar there is a Vaude box with pocket for map. Lugagge is 17 kg, childseat 4 kg, trailer 14 kg, Nina 19 kg, and Pim 9 kg. Altogether some 63 kg to pull, plus water. 

 

   

 

 

The bicycle trailer is a Burley d'lite 2012 model that can be used for two children but is mainly used only for Pim. The back can be folded down for a sleeping position. There is a special baby snuggler seat added for extra support. Side windows are UV-protected and front and back windows can be folded away to get wind circulation coming through. The trailer is equipped with a stroller wheel in front and suspension to the wheel axles. Wheels are 20" and there is a handbrake in the back for secure parking. We have three red lights for the back and one white light for the front to be used if we need to ride or walk after dark. The Burley flag comes up a meter or so and we have added a swedish flag and a samoan flag to the pole.

                 

 

We have rear mirrors attached to the sunglasses for extra security. They are Take-a-look model and working really well. Traffic behind is clearly visible in the mirrors and there are no vibrations to them. All in all, our setup looks like on the picture below.