For many years there has been an informal tradition of doing a longer tour of two or three weeks over the period after Christmas and spanning the new year. The timing is convenient for many people, as it is covered by school holidays and many other people have time off work, so most people are able to go on a longer tour. The only drawback is the hot weather in much of Victoria at that time of year (and interstate tours to New South Wales or South Australia will not evade the summer heat either).
In August 2015 Peter Damm, Suzanne Mintel, Jenni and Stan Pearce and Sandie Downs rode their august steeds 1,125 km, along the dirt roads traversing either side of the Darling River on a self-supported bicycle tour. New members, Sean Kelly and Denis Weisz, joined us for the first three days to get a taste of outback bicycle touring. Denis drove a support vehicle for these three days. The vastness of the New South Wales outback sets this area of Australia apart from other corners of the world with great tracts of red sandy earth merging with endless blue skies. The diversity of features is significant, whether fossicking for opals near Lightning Ridge, boiling the billy around a campfire or just bending the elbow in a country pub, the outback has experiences in abundance. Bicycle touring one of Australia’s longest rivers is about the journey and the adventure, experiencing its remoteness and the people who live along its banks, smelling the wildflowers and hearing the different sounds of birds and animals that abound along the meandering roads and waterways. Due to this year’s winter rains outback NSW was green with herbaceous plants and wildflowers for as far as we could see – beautiful country for the duration of our three week ride.
The coronavirus lockdown means that I have more time to look through photos from past rides. This particular ride was done in April 2015, in the week after Easter (and I believe there wasn’t any other club Easter trip that year).
According to Edmund, we didn’t start on Good Friday because my Dad was expressing some interest in coming along, but he wasn’t able to start on Good Friday (I think he had to mark assignments). As it happened, he didn’t end up coming at all. Unfortunately, the result was that only 3 of us were able to go (Edmund, John Harland, and myself); for us, unlike many other club members, we didn’t have any inconvenient commitments like work over the week after Easter (it was a University holiday, lucky me).
The plan that I’d come up with was to start at Euroa, spend the first night at Ruffy, then go to Yea, Molesworth, and Alexandra. After that, the planned route became a tad more adventurous, going via a dot on the map called Rubicon, and across the mountain range via forest roads to get to Warburton. From there it would be an easy run into Lilydale. All up I planned that it would take 5 days.
In many ways, this ride did not go according to plan, although we did at least manage to complete the whole distance, and didn’t run out of time. Edmund has since remarked how sometimes cycle tours can feel like living in a badly written comedy. This was such a tour, and I hope readers appreciate the comedy. Continue reading Post-Easter 2015 – Railway Ballast Tour→