Warrnambool – Port Fairy Rail Trail: November 5 & 6, 2018

Thanks to Barbara van der Burg for this report.

Warrnambool to Port Fairy rail Trail ride

 Six eager riders Dirk, Barbara Carla, John, Dave S, and Lynton  met at the Geelong station in time to catch the 8:32 am train to Warrnambool on a grey looking Monday morning.

We all had reserved seats and our bikes were safely handed into the guard’s van for our trip to Warrnambool. Time passed quickly and a coffee and muffin was very welcome morning tea giving us the energy for the first half of the ride to Koroit  for our late lunch.

Sky was overcast and clouds threatened rain but the ride was mostly dry.

The track was firm packed gravel but with lots of embedded small rocks making the going as bit tough for Carla’s hybrid bike.  Lunch was a welcome break as the stiff headwind made the going a bit tough even though the gradient was small. We enjoyed our lunch break at Koroit and headed off with renewed vigour with Dave promising a downhill ride into Port Fairy.

Downhill it was but the stiff headwind made it seem an uphill push.  Once we arrived in Port Fairy we all enjoyed a coffee break and the clouds cleared to show a sunny afternoon for our ride round the town visiting all the sights that our two tour guides in Carla and Lynton had in store for us.

After exploring the town we went to our accommodation to shower and change ready for dinner at the local pub.  All riders retired after 9:30pm to rest up for the ride home in the morning.

Weather forecast for Tuesday promised  some rain and a tail wind which we all eagerly hoped for to speed the ride back to Warrnambool.

Breakfast at the Hub at 7 am meant that we were on the road at 7:45 to catch the 11:43 train back to Geelong.

As promised the rain came down for the first 6 Kilometers but then eased up and stopped. Unfortunately the promised tailwind didn’t happen so we were on our own with pedal power with no assist.

We stopped at Korouit to look at the Old Station buildings. Some very friendly locals happily shared information about the area as well as acted as photographer.

When we nearly reached Warrnambool the boys spotted a very steep track and walked up to take a look at the vista – both inland and to the ocean.

We arrived back at Warrnambool Station early enough to hose down our muddy bikes before the safe trip back to Geelong.

A great two days ride by 6 keen Cycling Geelong Club members.

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Goldfields Ride – St Arnaud: 28-30 September, 2018

Thanks to Karen, joint tour leader for this report and photos.

It was an early start on Friday morning as Nick & I left home in the bus to pick up Kelly and head off to Allan’s house to commence our Annual Cycling Trip.   Arriving at Allan’s house at about 7:45am, we were greeted by Allan, Richard, Denise and Margy and loaded bikes and luggage.  By 8:30am all the attendees had arrived so the only task left was to hook the trailer to the bus and head off.  Estimated time of departure was set at 8:30, however a small glitch with the connection to the trailer and no lights set us back a little.  Again it was Allan to the rescue with a new plug and we headed off 10 minutes later which was still good timing.

It was a chilly morning with Carmel having a strong need for coffee, so coffee and toilet stop was had in Ballarat.  The coffee did help the insomniac’s Kelly and I  who had not slept well the night before and as we all know, I can quite animated and excitable after a long black.  With empty bladders and caffeine induced fervour we headed for Kara Kara Winery for some tasting and purchasing of wine.  It was proving to be a chilly morning with sunny breaks and the promise of no rain according to the Bureau of Meterology, however we did encounter some light rain on the way.  Helen, Sally, Heather and her daughter Edena met us at Kara Kara to join in on our weekend away.     It was a very informative session with the son of the winery owner giving us a great talk on the effects of no rain on effecting the growth and education on the use of Verjuice which can be used much like Vinegar or dressing.  I’m sure all of us who purchased this can’t wait to try some.

Kara Kara Winery, near St Arnaud

Our trusty bus driver then drove us onto the St Arnaud Caravan Park to unload bikes and go for our first ride.   Lunch was cancelled at Six 2 Six due to a food shortage, albeit a great lunch was then had at The Dabbling Duck.  After a stroll from the Caravan Park our bus driver renowned Vanilla Slice Connoisseur arrived to a lady bearing one from The Dabbling Duck.  As I understand this passed the Vanilla Slice taste test.

Onward and upward it was to visit The Wax Gardens, in which Margy and I couldn’t see any flowers but our very educated member Helen spotted many beautiful specimens and once again took some amazing photos.  Kelly & I led the ride around St Arnaud and we visited the “Love Cottage”,  “Steam Engine”  and “Bush Lookout”.  Kelly & I decided to cut the ride short so that we could all get ready for dinner at The Sportsman’s Club and after a lovely meal and a couple of drinks we headed back to the Caravan Park.

Leading the club on our walk back Geoff & I thought we were going the way back we came in but this was not the case, this was not the route we embarked on so there must have been too much talking.

Kelly & I don’t sleep in so we rode around the town of St Arnaud and looked at some beautiful old churches.  Lucky for us Kelly spotted bindy eyes in our tyres, which could have been disastrous.  Again it was a chilly morning, minus one was the temperature on arising but the sun was out and warmed our bones.

Photos were taken and then we headed back for the caravan park for our next ride to The Logan Pub, a tiny establishment in a very small town.

Charming, nonetheless less, there is nothing like Champagne served in a wine glass.  Adorned with a lot of paraphernalia and old style walls and furniture this little pub didn’t disappoint.  Again another great meal was had and with a small kitchen and only a few cooks the service was exemplarily. After lunch we headed off for St Arnaud for some Grand Final Day celebrations and a BBQ.

Sunday morning came with 2 well rested ride leaders ready for action, however the bus was not.  Again our support vehicle had another glitch and Kevin once again lent a hand to help.  After bidding farewell to Geoff & Stef, we left slightly later than planned nonetheless it was again an easy ride to Sally’s Paddock.   After some tasting and a light lunch, a call was placed to Allan Marshall to thank him for all of his planning of his trip, his organisation of the event made things much easier , it was also a presentation to our trusty bus driver and a card to thank him also for all of his hard work.

Finally, it was time to end our trip and travel home, after several stops we eventually arrived at Allan’s to unpack our bags and bikes and head for our respective homes.  It was agreed that this trip was a success, with great cycling, great food, company and camaraderie.   Thank you to Geoff and Steph for organising the meat for our BBQ,  to Kelly who had done all the ground work for our ride routes and all the other tasks he completed to make this trip a success,  Kevin for his assistance in loading bikes,  Nick our competent bus driver and support vehicle, Helen for her superb photos and chronicling our trip, Heather for also taking photo’s and a shout out to Edena & Denise who rode like professionals on Sunday.   Thanks to Richard also for his weak bladder, we thoroughly enjoyed all the toilet stops on the last leg of our trip.  Thank you to all who attended, you are the ones that make this Annual Trip an absolute pleasure, I think we can all agree that lots of fun, laughter and friendship was had.  P.S. Can’t wait for next year.

Karen

Cycling Geelong and especially all the participants on this year’s Goldfields Tour, especially thank our two ride leaders, Karen and Kelly, Allan who spent many hours planning the tour so that it would be faultless, and our intrepid and resourceful bus driver, Nick.

Allan already has 2019’s tour in planning.  See you there!

 

St Arnaud Tour: Day 3 – Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Redbank Winery (Sally’s Paddock) via Carapooee and Stuart Mill

Even the best-planned tours can have issues.  As the group packed up their belongings and prepared to cycle out of the St Arnaud Caravan Park for the last time, something entirely unforeseen happened.  The bus, which had behaved perfectly for the entire time, developed a jammed accelerator!  Stephanie and Geoff must have had a premonition of this.  They had chosen to travel independently on this final day.

Nick, our valiant and technically competent bus driver got to work to solve the problem, with some assistance – a small amount of which may have been helpful.

Finally, at around 9.20, the problem was resolved, and the cyclists set off for Carrapooee (a crossroads in the midst of farmland), Stuart Mill (an old mining settlement) and Sally’s Paddock winery for lunch.

Time was short, with a late start and lunch booked at the winery for noon.  All but one cycled off towards the Sunraysia Highway at Stuart Mill.  (Helen needed to pick up her car back at the caravan park.  As shorter ride, but including a 4km hill.  Fitness was an issue.  Back at the park, all was quiet, except for some dog walkers lining up at the dog wash.)

Because of the late start, some cyclists opted to continue in the bus.  Others sprinted valiantly down the highway.  Kelly had to back track to retrieve his gloves, but was soon in the lead again.

Helen was the first to arrive, only to be informed that the booking was for 1pm, not noon!  Texts to key people followed, and the riders could ride at a more leisurely pace.  After coffee, and a wine tasting for Helen, the first cyclists appeared, triumphant with their achievement – a 50km ride, including sprinting, gravel and hills!  More coffee was drunk, other drinks ordered, and Nick, Kelly, Kevin and a few others loaded up the bikes on the trailer, before a final lunch together.

Thanks Karen and Kelly for a wonderful weekend.

Thanks to Karen and Kelly, our leaders and joint organisers with Allan.

For those who’ve never been on a Goldfields tour with Allan, they are highly recommended.  Allan is already considering the best place for next year’s tour!  It will be important to get in early as the Grand Final weekend is always popular for travelers.

St Arnaud Tour – Day 2: Saturday, September 29th

Grand Final Day

Ride to Logan Pub

The ride headed out via quiet unsealed country roads to the Wimmera Highway and then on to the Logan Pub.  The return was via the Wimmera Highway.  There were several stops to re-group, and visit friendly local horses.  Part of the trail was along the Henty trail, which goes from the Murray to Portland.

Margy discovered some new wheels at the Pub.  The three motorbikes stopped just as we pulled up.  Our stereotypes were thrown away when the bikies ordered coffee!

The riders returned to the Caravan Park in time for the important TV coverage of the game.  Not all were happy with the outcome.  A barbecue helped drown a few sorrows.  No swooping maggies this year.

Thanks again to Kelly and Karen for exemplary planning and leadership, and to Stephanie and Geoff for organising food for the barbecue.

St Arnaud Tour – Day 1: 28th September

The group set off at 8.30 from Allan’s place, with Nick driving the bus.  (Thanks Nick for once again giving up Grand Final weekend to support the club.)  Heather and Edena, Helen and Sally drove independently.  Stephanie and Geoff had taken an extra day, and gone to St Arnaud on Thursday.   Allan, who, along with Kelly, had planned the trip, was unable to attend.  We kept him posted with regular Facebook updates.

Kara Kara Winery was the first stop, which a pause to hear about the Goldfields wine district, check out the wines, and make a few discreet purchases.

After a quick settle in at the St Arnaud Caravan Park, it was off to lunch.  The bakery had run out of food, but the alternative, a newly opened cafe,  The Dabbling Duck, was excellent.

Lunch at the Dabbling Duck

A 20km tour of St Arnaud, including the Wax Gardens, bush lookout, steam engine and Love Cottage (a National Trust property and the oldest miner’s hut still standing) gave the legs a stretch after the long bus ride.  Some (your author included) whinged about the loose gravel, but the bushland and lookout were worth the angst.  Early wildflowers were spotted by those ‘with eyes to see’ in the Wax Gardens.

Dinner was at the St Arnaud Sportsman’s Club.

Murray to Mountains Rail Trail

Thanks to Geoff Andrews for this report.

A few weeks ago Stephanie attended a Trefoil Guild  ( ex Girl Guides ) State Gathering in Wangaratta for a few days. She really enjoyed her time and catching up with 97 other members from all over Vic, including 8 ladies  from Geelong. It was a great opportunity for both of us to take our bikes and ride some of the Rail Trails. We stayed with our friends in Wang  for a few days and also at a local motel in Wangaratta.  The weather was perfect not hot, vivid blue sky and no wind for the 10 days away !

Amongst the many rides we did was  part of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail from Bowser  (5kms from Wangaratta ) to Everton and back 46 kms in ideal conditions.

On the trail we met only 6 cyclists, saw a tortoise, an Echidna,  and a deer running with us amongst the trees for 5 minutes. We were patient when a herd of  cattle crossed the rail trail near Tarrawingee.

The trail from Everton to Beechworth was a steady climb ( about 400 metres ) on a beautiful late spring day. All the trails are kept in perfect condition in this part of the North East. We even went back and did it again a few days later ! 15 kms up and back

The roads to Springhurst (near Chiltern ) had light farm traffic which was always considerate of cyclists and the surface so easy to ride on with no potholes or ruts anywhere. It was a pleasure to ride them and so wide compared to some of the roads in and around Geelong!

The ride on the cycle  path to Milawa from Wangaratta and back saw many other cyclists, 30 km return I think a few of them popped into Brown Bros to sample some of their magnificent reds whilst in the area. Why not !

We spent a  few days in Bright riding to Myrtleford and back about 60kms also we rode out to Harrietville via Smoko and back 35 kms.

 

Goldfields Ride 2018

Allan Marshall is once again planning a ride in the goldfields area on Grand Final weekend 2018.   This time the group will be based at St Arnaud.

Accommodation will be at the St Arnaud Caravan Park, which has powered and unpowered sites and cabins that sleep 4 people.  9cf20b_a197812454cb46d2bd2d24c16c002f35mv2

As this will be a very busy weekend, please contact Allan as soon as possible if you are planning on attending, so accommodation can be pre-booked.

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St Arnaud town view