Bike-Ride to Australia Tuesday 24th-April-2012. In Sydney. Done the tourist thing today and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Our climb was booked for 11.35 am. And after checking in, we were put into our group. Our group consisted of two young lads from England who were out here on their gap year. A young Malaysian girl, three older Americans and Jenny and myself.
After a short talk, we had to take a breath test and sign a disclaimer. It was then off to get kitted out. First, they give you a jumpsuit to wear. They don’t want your clothes catching on anything. You then pass through a metal detector. You’re not allowed to take anything up with you, no watches, cameras or phones. You’re only allowed to take your sunglasses up, and they get attached to you by a cord. It’s a shame I couldn’t take my camera up, but I fully understand it’s all to do with safety. Anything that gets dropped from that height wouldn’t be good for whoever’s below!
Next to put on is a handkerchief attached to the arm. It saves having to wipe your nose on the jumpsuits! Then a safety harness and a radio, so Tyrone, our guide, could give us the guided talk. And finally a waterproof jacket. And after a short go on the training ladder. We were clipped onto the safety wire, and it was out onto the bridge.
Up We Go
It was all a bit narrow to start with. And there are four sets of ladders to climb before you start to walk on the arch. The arch was a little steep, to begin with, but it levels out the higher you go. Tyson took several photos of us as we climbed to the top. Then a group photo once we’d reached the top. There were brilliant views over Sydney from up there, and I would have loved to have had my camera with me. I think we should have taken more notice of what we could see!!
We’d just had the group photo taken and were crossing over the top of the bridge to start the climb down. One side is for ascending, the other for descending. We could see dark clouds gathering behind Tyrone as he took the photo but never gave it much thought. But then, suddenly, those dark clouds developed into a raging storm. And we all scrambled to put our waterproofs on, but the wind and rain made it almost impossible. We then were pelted with hailstones. And with nowhere to shelter, they hurt! And now we had thunder and lightning.
It was a little worrying with the wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. And we were probably in the worst possible place when there was lightning! I was more worried about the Americans, who were a good few years older than the rest of us. They were also at the back of the group, and I felt pretty useless, unable to help them. We were given strict instructions not to unclip from the safety wire. And to be honest, the wind felt that strong I would have probably been blown off! As soon as we were off the arch and down the ladders, the storm seemed to stop!
Once off the bridge and back at the assembly point, we were greeted by several managers. And we were all offered our money back or another climb, plus seventy dollars worth of photographs on CD, memory stick and paper. Apparently, the wind was gusting over 50 mph, and the guides said they’d never seen anything like it. Perhaps it was a bit more dangerous than I thought. But as it turned out, everybody was okay, and I never heard anybody complain. Management was very good and couldn’t apologise enough.
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