A 7PM start from Taylor Reserve near McCallum Park on the Swan River foreshore saw a total of 16 riders assemble for the Prison Pedal. 8 each for the 200km and 100km distances. An unusual route via Matagarup Bridge and through the CBD via Hay Street for a ride by viewing of the Central Law Courts led to a Fremantle Doctor flogging all of the way to Fremantle Prison. Being too weak to hang on to the others whilst riding like a kite into an updraft, I had long before joined forces with Kym Murray. We spent the next 22km with the wind in our ears and it was with great relief that we reached Anketell Rd with a nice tailwind and little traffic. A quick visit to Casuarina Prison amongst the embers of the previous weeks fire led to a much needed coffee at Baldivis 24hr servo.
Prior to this break and onwards to Karnup Rd I was increasingly concerned at having forgotten to pack any arm warmers. The ride up Utley Rd was a teeth chattering experience caused not by the cool but rather the surface consisting of ancient asphalt with more patches than original surface. However it was here that my concerns regarding the increasing cool were quenched by a change in the wind to a warmer south easterly which persisted through the night. The head wind and gradient up the scarp climb on Kingsbury Drive proved too much for Kym and his 42 teeth ‘small’ chainring and this gave me cause for a 30 minute break at Karnet Prison Farm in the cool breeze waiting for Kym’s arrival. I was greeted by a young kangaroo at the entrance to the prison and I had plenty of time to once again reflect on the night of 15/2/14 when I collided with a small kangaroo at 60kmh down the Kingsbury scarp descent. Whilst I waited for Kym I could hear the eerie sounds of heavy machinery wafting through the wind blown eucalypts from the Myara Bauxite workings a few kms to the southwest. In due course Kym arrived and we chatted leisurely for a while before steeling ourselves for the dark windy ride to Serpentine Dam. Given the mostly downhill nature of this section, we made short work of it although the ascent out of the dam toward Jarrahdale left me with another lengthy pause in Jarrahdale whilst Kym toiled on the slopes. I sheltered behind bushes to keep out of the cool wind at 3AM in a very quiet and lonely Jarrahdale townsite. At last Kym arrived and we rode down Nettleton Rd assisted up the undulations by the SE wind to the sounds of kangaroos in the undergrowth which could be heard against the backdrop of the wind lashing the tree canopy.
Byford 24hr Servo furnished me with a much needed supersized coffee complemented by a very nice hot cheesy sausage whilst we chatted leisurely toward the oncoming dawn. Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre was approached from the opposite direction to the usual visit and here the sun put in its first appearance. Around the corner for a quick sighting of Hakea Prison, we then proceeded in the direction of our last correctional experience, in the process passing by the site of bridgeworks for the Thornlie-Cockburn Metronet rail project. On Roe Highway PSP I had a sudden adrenalin burst and chased after 3 public holiday morning roadies only suceeding in passing one before my sleep deprived body surrendered. Having lost Kym I rode on in search of Wandoo Reintegration Facility which caused my GPS a few conniptions. Looking at my watch I realised that breakfast at home would be late but at least I could avoid having to apply the sunscreen which I hadn’t packed! Having avoided the tourist obstacle course at Burswood I arrived home none the worse for wear, in all a night riding experience with quite a surreal flavour.