Gold fields 2019 Travel & Ride Report
From Allan Marshall – Tour leader, chief planner and guide extraordinaire!
Three cars set off from Allan’s place at 8 45 am, driven by George Belcher, Kevin Clingan, and with Nick driving Allan’s car and towing the newly renovated bike trailer.
We only made one stop at Woodend then travelled through the lovely granite rocky hills past Lancefield. We arrived at the Heathcote Bakery at about 11.35am for lunch before checking in at Heathcote Queen Meadow Caravan Park to get ready to ride.
Day 1 ride – Heathcote Environs
Led by Kelly, this ride went first to the Pink Cliffs Geological Reserve, then along High St to Argyle, where the ride turned and onto Forest Drive to the Powder Magazine building then onto North Costerfield Rd, in the McIver Ranges. It was here that Kelly decided to cut the ride short so there was time to enjoy wine & beer tastings back in town. The ride took the road along the creek reserve and back to High Street (Northern Highway) at Heathcote Winery. They didn’t answer my phone call early in the week so were understaffed for the 22 riders plus Nick and Heather. Wine was sampled, and some bought. Next it was beer tasting or coffee at Palling’s Brewery. Finally, those who had stood the distance went for more wine tasting at Heathcote Wine Hub which received thumbs up for both tastings and tapas. Allan drove Richard up Viewing Rock that overlooks the town and offered to take others wanting to go but no takers. Dinner this night was at The Commercial Hotel, at 6pm.
Day 2 Ride – Merindoc Wineries and Tooborac Hotel
The ride to Merindoc Wineries led by Allan. Starting at 9am we arrived at 10 30am. It was a slow ride with a South Eastly head wind. We rode single file on the shoulder of the Northern Highway to Tooborac, to the Merindoc Vineyard just around the corner on the Lancefield Rd. They gave a nice talk on their wines and the reason for the soil and what they do to the vines. I learnt a lot. It was a good speech over tastings & finger foods.
Then we were back on the bikes to the Boutique Brewery & pie bakery at the Tooborac Hotel for lunch with a 12-2 booking. They catered for all types of meals. Nick took the car and trailer to cart the grog and as sag wagon for a couple of tired cyclists. The return was via the same route for most riders. Six hardy riders attempted the more difficult (hilly and gravel) ride route along to Old Dairy Flat Rd to Heathcote 6 riders took up the challenge. Allan lead the rest back on the Northern at speeds of up to 40k at times total distance 36 km. I am proud of Denise who rode well and was always up on the wheel of the leaders. Well done, after 2 years ago! Keep it up Denise. Then on Saturday afternoon, we watched the Grand Final at various places. (Editor’s note – Knapps Cottage, where Helen and Stella were staying, was declared a ‘footy free’ zone with tea and birdsong on the veranda for Tina, Heather, Edena, Sally, Helen and Stella.)
BBQ tea was at the Caravan Park Camp Kitchen. Everyone had a good time. Dirk lit the fire, which was most welcome, especially when the chill came down after sunset. The barbecues were a male-only zone, supervised most ably by George and Richard (who kept the vegan hotplate pristine – even supplying gluten-free fried onions as needed). Thanks to Heather and Edena for making sure all goodies were prepared, and to Allan with his foresight in pre-ordering the excellent meat. Finally, the whole camp was led in a sing-along by Richard and Tina on ukuleles.
Day 3 Ride – Bendigo on O’Keefe Rail Trail
The plan was to pack up and leave Caravan Park by 9am to commence ride on The O’Keefe Rail trail of 49 kilometres. We got away a bit late “But all was ok in the end”. Allan organised a car shuffle, with cars taken to Axedale, then Nick bringing the drivers back to Heathcote to ride. Karen and Kelly each led for half each.
We parted with Helen and Stella at Knowsley then we somehow parted with Tina to drive her car to Bendigo. We are booked in for lunch at The Tavern in Axedale, in the room that can cater for 25 people.
The ride finishes at The Lake Weeroona. Nick again took the drivers to Axedale to pick up their cars, while the rest of us loaded the bikes on the trailer. Then we all headed for home. Some went for coffee at the coffee man (pity they forgot to ask Allan, who was loading the bikes, if he’d like one!).
Total riding distance day 3 – 54 km. Everyone made it, with only one puncture (Dirk’s – about 5km from the Lake).
We headed for home via the Calder Highway Gisborne & Bacchus Marsh arrived at Allan’s just before 6 30 pm and unloaded some bikes, then wheeled the loaded trailer into Allan’s garage for rest of the owners to pick up their bikes the next day.
I believe everyone had a good time so we will ride again somewhere in the Golden triangle next year. We all would like to say a big thankyou to Nick for his support on these rides I believe Nick is spending time with the boys next year only Thanks mate.
The Terrific Treadly Trailer
I defy anyone to say the trailer didn’t do an excellent job. This is the best fit out we have ever had. Even the ladies in the group were helping with the loading and I heard Tina say she could use it for some away Moonlight rides. Please use it. It’s there for all the members to use as long as the towing car has full comprehensive Insurance and the driver has a full licence and towing experience. (Editor’s note: Kevin, who was driving behind the trailer, commented that the bikes did not move at all.)
Many Thanks for your Company Allan Marshall
Thanks to Allan Marshall, our Goldfields Tour leader for this most comprehensive report. Thanks to Allan and other tour participants for photos.