Bicycle Network: Ride On magazine
Four days of fun
Every year teachers Andy McNeilly, 43, and Jeff Wilson, 53, set off on an adventure somewhere around Victoria. Andy kept a diary of their 2010 tour.
In the October holidays, Jeff and I rode from Barwon Heads to Hurstbridge, a big loop around Melbourne. It was our seventh Victory Tour.
Day One: Saturday
We set off from Barwon Heads mid-morning and followed the route that I ride with the local cycling crew.
|Jeff on the way up to Boar Gully campsite.|
It didn’t take long before we reached the outskirts of Geelong and turned towards the Barwon River. We followed the cycle path that hugged the river and bypassed the shops, houses and traffic. It was a wonderful start to our adventure as we meandered towards Queens Park (which was where I found myself two weeks later watching the UCI World Championships). The river took us to Fyansford where we climbed upwards to cross the new ring-road and turn towards Anakie.
This was a flat run until we started climbing again into the Brisbane Ranges National Park. After becoming lost (which is becoming tradition) we finally found our campsite at Boar Gully, following about 15 kms on dirt roads. I organised the tent and campfire while chef Jeff started preparing dinner. A huge carb load of risoni pasta with a chilli / tomato sauce washed down with a 2008 A.K.A. McLaren Vale shiraz. After a chat around the campfire, it was off to bed for an early night.
Day Two: Sunday
Jeff and I awoke to a wet morning. The tent was soaked, as was everything that was left out in the elements. Luckily we remained dry through the night. A massive bowl of muesli was followed by our pack-up and exit, leaving the campsite before our neighbours had surfaced. We left the National Park and took some quiet roads to Ballan where we fueled up with coffee and a donut. The sun finally started to shine, although short lived, as we pedaled through the rolling hills towards Greendale; and the area certainly was green after all the spring rain. From here we started to climb towards Blackwood. There was a lot of up and not so much down, but the challenge and the thought of a coffee kept us going. We welcomed the break in Blackwood. Coffee washed down with dark chocolate. Leaving Blackwood saw us reach speeds of about 70km/h down a massive hill before we had to climb back out of the valley. Our next destination was Read Beards Bakery in Trentham. More coffee. More pastries. We also had a look at the huge wood fired oven in which they cook all their bread. The oven was over 100 years old.
|Andy at Redbeards Bakery, Trentham.|
Woodend was planned to be our last stop for the day. On arrival, we headed straight for the visitors information centre only to discover that the town had no camping facilities. The helpful woman there directed us over a “small hill” towards Macedon, which didn’t turn out to be so small. We took on supplies and then pedaled to our campground where we arrived sometime later. Once again, I set up the sleeping arrangements while Jeff organised dinner. A spicy rice dish with sautéed chicken breasts and chorizo served in a tomato sauce and a bottle of 2008 Whitebox Heathcote shiraz. Jeff, again, commented that as he had cooked so much, we could eat any left-overs for breakfast. Of course, there was nothing left over. And once again, an early night to bed, exhausted.
Day Three: Monday
We set off early, as we knew we had a big day ahead of us. Following a small dirt road alongside the railway, took us out of town and towards our first stop at the general store in Monegeetta, where Jeff experienced a neenish tart for the first time in his life. We pedaled on through some windy and hilly dirt roads before reaching Kilmore in time for lunch. We still had a lot more ground to cover so we set off through more winding hills to Whittlesea where we did our shopping for the evening. Jeff took care of the food and I purchased another bottle of red. As we started to climb out of Whittlesea, the weather turned; drizzle and low clouds so it was on with the gortex riding gear. By the time we reached Kinglake, we still had not decided on a place to pitch our tent, so we rode on. At Pheasant Creek we took a right turn and headed into the National Park. The trees and surrounding bush were beginning to get that lovely greenness back, but it was still obvious that the area had been devastated by recent bushfires. We reached the park entrance; the gate was locked. Fortunately, there was a sign permitting walkers and cyclists into the National Park. We rode to the summit of Mount Sugarloaf and the drizzle cleared and when it became dark, we had a wonderful view across the city of Melbourne through the burnt out canopy on top of the mountain. We pitched our tent in the empty carpark and had another massive pasta carb load of chicken korma with rice, this time complimented by a 2008 Rufus Stone Heathcote shiraz.
Day Four: Tuesday
Waking early, we noticed the fly on the tent was soaked and visibility was down to less than 50 metres. We were in the clouds eating our muesli and packing up our campsite. It was a cold ride down the mountain as we gained speed without pedaling. Back in Pheasant Creek, we called into my cousin Sue’s place for a hot cup of coffee. Standing by her pot-bellied stove, we warmed ourselves and dried out a little. After an hour in civilisation, it was onto our bikes for our final ascent from Kinglake towards home. As we raced down the mountain, we left behind the mist and low visibility - the sun appeared intermittently as we rode through St. Andrews. We were both feeling tired from carrying all our gear through many steep hills but as Hurstbridge approached, our pedals seemed to move with more ease. We cruised through the town and made our way to the train station where we sat eating a meat pie, both feeling very happy with ourselves. Another wonderful Victory Tour completed, covering over 330 kms.