Goldfields Tour 2019 – update and venue change

27-30 September 2019 (Grand Final Weekend)

After much research, the venue for this year’s Cycling Geelong Goldfields Tour will be Heathcote.*  Accommodation will be at Heathcote Queen Meadow Caravan Park.  Allan has already booked the available cabins.

The O’Keefe Trail will be on the itinerary, and a winery visit or two.  Allan, Karen and Kelly have already visited, ridden some of the area, and checked out wineries and eating out venues.

Please contact Allan (03 5275 2612 MB 0418992672) if you’d like to be part of this tour.

*The main reason for the change is the lack of accommodation in Rushworth, and the unlikelihood of getting sufficient numbers for the original holiday park.

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Goldfields Tour 2019 – News flash

Our avid tour leader, Allan, along with hench-cyclists Karen and Kelly have been busy since new year researching the Goldfields Tour – 2019.  Once again the tour is on Grandfinal Weekend – September 27-29th.

This year’s base will be near Rushworth – at a holiday camp on the shores of Lake Waranga.  https://www.lakewaranga.com/?page_id=23

A minimum number of 30 is required to secure this accommodation, which contains shared rooms with single beds and bunks, large, well appointed bathrooms, huge kitchen and communal areas and easy access to the lake and local attractions.

The group will travel via Heathcote, and, naturally, the area abounds with wineries!

The rides will be on quiet roads, with some gravel sections, and the Murchison-Rushworth Rail Trail.  Therefore Allan recommends that participants bring bikes with wider tyres – at least 35mm.

Murchison-Rushworth Rail Trail

Please let Allan (0418 992 672) know as soon as possible whether you are interested in attending this year’s Goldfields Tour.  This will allow Allan to decide whether it is plausible to book the holiday camp.

Because a firm booking must be made, and a minimum number of 30 is required to secure the holiday camp, there will be a non-refundable deposit required, payable around Easter.

It is expected that, as on previous tours, a bus and bike transport will be provided.

Goldfields Tour 2018

Map of the area of the 2019 Goldfields Tour

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.