The warning was there: John H on a ‘normal’ bike. A short, easy ride to Freshwater Creek and an awesome cake shop was the aim – so why no recumbent bike?
Eleven members of Cycling Geelong and GTC set off from South Geelong Station down Swanston Street to the Barwon Trail and over the old Breakwater to Waurn Ponds Creek bike path. John H, from the Touring Cyclists was the leader. Surely, despite a rotting bridge and lack of maintenance to the bike path, this wasn’t enough to warrant abandoning the carbon fibre ant John usually rides. The riders were soon on the new bike path along the Geelong Ring Road/bypass which makes the ascent to Anglesea Road easy and car-free. After using the bike tunnel to cross to the eastern path the riders continued up the path. Despite the path’s newness, vegetation is encroaching onto the concrete, grass growing in cracks, and the grass on each side of the track is long and tinder dry. Once the roundabout was reached, it was clear that there has been no routine sweeping of this new piece of road. The bike lane was unridable due to stones and debris. Once on the old road, with a narrow sealed shoulder, the condition improved and the descent to Freshwater Creek was delightful and fast.
With only around twenty kilometres traveled David I. commented that he hadn’t yet done enough cycling to earn his coffee break. The cakes and biscuits looked delectable: at least one rider picked up something to take home for those poor souls who don’t know the pleasures of Sunday morning cycling. The coffee wasn’t too bad either.
John had devised a slightly longer return route, via Dickens Road, Ghazeepore Road, and Whites Road to the Surf Coast Highway. These are delightful country roads, with light traffic. With road works on the highway, a right turn into Burvilles Road was in order. At the top of a gentle rise past the Crematorium the reason for John’s upright bike became apparent. Burvilles Road is unsealed from the Crematorium to Horseshoe Bend Road. It’s only a few hundred metres, but the actual distance is at least tripled if you take into account the number and depth of the corrugations. The Bike Friday’s small wheels fitted each bump exactly. It was a juddering, teeth-rattling ride – a test for those with high-tech carbon fibre frames. Snickering was heard from a few riders on mountain bikes and hybrids.
Once back in Geelong, the riders headed their various ways, with thanks for a most interesting and varied ride. The total distance from North Geelong and return was around 50km. The new path by the Ring Road is well-constructed and will be a joy to ride if routine maintenance is carried out.
It remains an enigma. Where are the women on these medium length, easy rides? The company was great, the pace medium with frequent stops as needed, the scenery beautiful, and the refreshment stop delightful. Only one woman chose to do this ride. Where are you all?