Monday, 28 May 2012

BREAKFAST AT WELLO POINT

Imagine, you've just awoken from a beautiful peaceful sleep, the Autumn sun is casting it's rays through your bedroom window and you roll over and say to your partner, "How about we ride over to Wello Point and have breakfast." From the other side of the bed all you receive is a lot of groans but you're not having any of this, you have made up your mind and thats that!
Having had a hot shower, the mood has changed dramatically and the idea is embraced enthusiastically.

Cleveland Harbour



Harbourside, Cleveland.

The bikes are stoked and you're on your way, riding alongside the harbour taking in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee from the many outlets in this vicinity. You're tempted to stop but you know after a brisk ride the coffee, breakfast and second cup of coffee are going to taste a lot better. The tempo quickens and before you know it you're riding through Dundas Street Bushland Reserve and beside Hilliard's creek, keeping a wary eye out for the local wildlife. In no time at all you have passed under Sturgeon Street, across Hilliard's Creek  and through Fellmonger Park onto Starkey Street. There is a little on- road riding to be done here.


Pathway along Hilliard's Creek



Ducks on Hilliard's Creek

Once you have reached The Wellington Point Wetland, and before you get to Frederick Street, there is an entrance via Ethel Street to another tract of bushland with both sealed and unsealed shared track which will take you through to Station Street. Cross the railway bridge on the right and head North along Fernbourne Road. It's here that it becomes a little tricky. By taking it easy along this road you will find a short track on your left which will take you onto a boardwalk running beside Jacob Street. When reaching Duke Street. continue on through O'Connell Parade until you reach Main Road.




Having reached this point, a momentous decision has to be made depending on how hungry you are or whether you wish to burn a few more carbs. before having breakfast. If the latter decision is made and you will be proud of yourself if you make this decision, turn right on Main Road and head for the Point. What a beautiful sight, water on three sides with a park in the centre. Take a few minutes to soak in the view before climbing back up the hill that you descended shortly before to burn off those extra carbs, before settling in at reFuelled situated at 1/354 Main Road, Wellington Point,  a kickback, casual little cafe with pavement seating under a beautiful Poinciana tree. This is  a favourite spot for many cyclists at weekends. A unique feature of this cafe is it's connection to a French themed Patisserie, BITTeRSWeeT, a few doors up. They are more than happy for you to purchase one of their delights and bring it back to consume at your table. If it is just after pay day you may wish to indulge yourself by purchasing a couple extra to consume at your leisure.





If unfamiliar with the area, a map showing  bike paths can be obtained from Redlands on Moreton Bay Visitor Centre


Cheers,

Jimmy Bee


 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

CYCLING ON SHARED PATHS





Blind corner

If you are riding under the premise that riding on shared paths and footpaths is safer than on road, in traffic or in a dedicated, on road cycle lane, than it may well be a false premise.

There is a very in depth study into factors associated with Bicycle Crashes and Injury Severity carried out in the ACT (Australia) for the Cycling Resource Centre, which I believe is in the best interests of all cyclists to read. (This report can be viewed or downloaded at www.cyclingresourcecentre.org.au/post/the pedal study factors associated... or simply google, Cycling Resource Centre Australia.)

Just to give an example or two, you may be surprised to learn:

"Those riding on shared paths had a higher proportion of falls (56.2%) most of which were due to running out of control (58.2%) without the involvement of either other road users or objects. However, 16.4% of crashes on shared paths involved pedestrians and almost a quarter involved other cyclists (23.3%)"

"A higher proportion of older cyclists compared to young cyclists crashed on shared bicycle paths (36.5% versus 10.1%)"

"Cyclists who crashed on shared paths sustained higher average injury severity scores than those injured in any other road environment."


Dedicated on road cycle lane

Extremely dangerous

The post situated in the centre of a shared path is extremely dangerous when riding in a group for the reason that the post is obscured from view from the cyclist following the leader. The leader can manouvre quickly past the post but unfortunately there is little time for the next rider to take evasive action. The onus is on the leader to alert the following riders of the imminent danger. I have personally witnessed 2 serious accidents occurring in this situation.




Caution required, low visibility--Why has rider stopped prior to blind corner?
"Only a small proportion of the transport-related crashes occurred in dedicated bicycle lanes (less than 1 in 12) with the majority occurring in-traffic and on shared paths."

"Out of 122 single vehicle crashes involving cyclists,
55 occurred on a shared path and 29 occurred on a footpath as opposed to 32 occurring in traffic and 6 in a cycle lane."

This is but a small sample of what you can read in the report.

In another article, it was interesting to note that Spain which has the least number of cyclists had a greater number of fatalities than did Denmark which has the greatest number of cyclists but the least number of fatalities, (105 v 12).

I'm not highlighting this information for the purpose of frightening or stopping you from cycling, on the contrary, my whole goal is to get more bums on bicycle saddles and have you enjoying the benefits of cycling, but with safety. I have witnessed on too many occasions, cyclists on shared paths who appear to be completely unaware of other users, particularly when riding in groups.



Cycling is one of the most pleasant, beneficial past-times and if done safely, should add years of healthy living to your lifespan.

On a lighter note:

What is the hardest part of learning to ride a bike?

Answer: The pavement.

Please take the time to read the Bicycle Crashes and injury severity report as it may assist you to avoid some painful downtime.

Jimmy Bee

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

EAST GIPPSLAND RAIL TRAIL AND BEYOND



Day 6 Swan Reach to Bairnsdale




Bright and early the next morning we were back on the trail for our final ride to Bairnsdale.As we were riding towards Nicholson the lakes could be seen in the background.
Nicholson is located on the Princess Highway on the banks of the picturesque Nicholson River. A great place to take photographs is from the historic railway bridge as it spans the river. It is probably not a good idea to engage one of the local inhabitants on the history of the bridge as there is sure to be a number of theories as to how an attempt was made to blow the bridge up in 1958. To this day, no one has been prosecuted with the dastardly deed.













The last 9 km is on a sealed surface through open farmland and ended at Howitt park.

Isn't it amazing how good coffee shops and bakeries attract cyclists and it appears to be the same all over the world.




The end of yet another great ride is nigh as we make preparations to hand over our bikes to Liz and purchase our train tickets to Melbourne's Southern Cross Railway Station.

It's the personalities that make or breakf a good cycling trip and our group made this trip all the more memorable.

Our sincere thanks go to Ken (U3A Peddling For Pleasure) and Liz, www.snowyrivercycling.com.au for organising a memorable 6 days in East Gippsland, Victoria.


Keep those bikes rolling........Jimmy Bee 


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

EAST GIPPSLAND RAIL TRAIL AND BEYOND


Day 5. Lakes Entrance to Swan Reach
Prior to breakfast, I sat and watched the native birds feed and chorus in the new day. I always come away fom watching birds feeding, playing, flying and listening to the sounds they make feeling serene.
The first leg of our journey took us to Bruthen and we had a tail wind which helped speed things along.
We retraced our journey back to the rail trail, where the country started to open up into small farms. I noticed a number of what appeared to be hop kilns to the left as we approached Bruthen unfortunately they were too distant to photograph successfully..




As we left the Colquhoun State Forest, the trail crossed the Bruthen-Nowa Nowa Road twice before crossing the beautiful Tambo River and entering Bruthen which is a great place to stop and refuel. There's a number of shops catering for the inner needs of hungry cyclists as well as looking for that unusual gift for the one left at home. The park in the centre of town has good facilities where you can just sit and relax and watch the world go by, or view the ejector seat and read about the RAAF Avon jet fighter that crashed on the outskirts of town on 27th November 1958.
There was good evidence of just how much the touring cyclists assist the economy of the tiny towns dotted along the trail. There were fourteen of us and probably another ten or so Medico Mamils (middle aged men in lycra) doing a charity ride from Melbourne to Canberra all stopping and spending the odd dollar or two.
For those with a thirst only quenched by the taste of "ale" there is also the boutique Bullant Brewery overkooking the adjacent farmland. Unfortunately for us and the brewery, it was closed on the Monday we were there.





About 12 km west of Bruthen, the trail went through two old rail tunnels and then meandered through bush and farmland until we turned left into Swan Reach-Bruthen Road. A little further on and we were at Tambo Park Cottages




Once again our accommodation was spot on. Everything we needed was catered for.





After a quick ride around the district we returned to the cottages, showered and had a leisurely glass or two of wine before being picked up by our organiser, Liz from Snowy River Cycling and ferried to an hotel at Nicholson for dinner. Normally, the hotel's dining area is closed on a Monday night, however, Liz persuaded management to open and as it turned out there were other patrons looking for a meal as well.

After a pleasant evening, a quick call was made and Liz returned and conveyed us back to our accommodation at Swan Reach.

This story is being told over 6 separate posts  with the next post....  Swan Reach to Bairnsdale.


Tour was organised by Snowy River Cycling   www.snowyrivercycling.com.au

Cheers


Jimmy Bee





Monday, 14 May 2012

EAST GIPPSLAND RAIL TRAIL AND BEYOND



Day 4. Tostaree to Lakes Entrance via Nowa Nowa




What a relaxing stay. breakfast consumed, we were on the road again bound for Lakes Entrance.
There are a number of small hills between Tostaree and Nowa Nowa which have long gradients but on the good side, once you have reached the top you then have the pleasure of gliding down the other side. These steep ascents and decents are usually associated with beautiful old wooden trestle bridges, a great subject for the photographers and historians among the group.
We broke our ride for a quick coffee and snack at Nowa Nowa.




Nowa Nowa is an aboriginal word translating to "Mingling Waters" and is a very small village with a population of around 200. There is an hotel (serving counter meals 7 days), general store, cafes, camping and picnic facilities with toilets. Fishing, canoeing and kayaking are all catered for in this adventurous little town.
Photographing natural patterns is a passion of mine and just outside of Nowa Nowa we came across Boggy creek which had some very engaging patterns formed on the surface of the water. As you can see below these patterns make an interesting photograph.





We ventured off the rail trail at Seaton track, just south of Colquhoun and settled in for a ride through Colquhoun State Forrest, on The Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail.




Along the trail we passed two ladies with a huge sense of adventure, trail blazing with their horses and buggies and I gather from talking to them that they were blazing a trail for a future tourism venture. Imagine riding as a tourist in one of these contraptions from Bairnsdale to Orbost, camping rough in the bush, waking to the laugh of kookaburras, the raucus calls of cockatoos, dew on the tent flaps and eating damper and drinking billy tea at the crack of dawn and that's not taking in sighting an errant wombat crossing the trail or the odd snake or goanna........what a brilliant idea and I wish them the very best of luck with their venture.




A worthwhile diversion was the Quarry at the bottom of Quarry Road where granite blocks were carved out of the rock face and transported by rail to form the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes. The track down to the bottom of the quarry is more suited to experienced riders and preferbly on mountain bikes. However, our group of peddling for pleasure cyclists, were up to the feat and made the descent and subsequent ascent without casuality.
As can be seen in the bottom left image, a more modern application of the granite was found.




The last part of our ride through the forrest was on a well maintained fire trail and we made good time to Lakes Cottages, some 2 km further on from where the Discovery Trail finished (the intersection of Scriveners Road and Lakes Colquhoun Road.



We found the Lakes Cottages to be modern, clean and well appointed, set in beautiful gardens with an abundance of colourful native birds.




The day wasn't over yet, our organiser Liz had booked a cruise on the lakes with wine tasting followed by dinner at the Wyanga Park Winery and Restaurant.

Having been picked up at 4.30 pm by mini bus, we had an hour to take a look at Lakes Entrance and then we boarded our boat for a cruise on the lakes to Wyanga Park Winery.

The pavlova in the image below was the largest single serve pavlova I'd ever seen and the consensus of those who ate it was that it was delicious.




This story is being told over 6 separate posts. The next post will be Lakes Entrance to Swan Reach.


Tour was organised by Snowy River Cycling  www.snowyrivercycling.com.au

Cheers
Jimmy Bee

Thursday, 10 May 2012

EAST GIPPSLAND RAIL TRAIL AND BEYOND


Day 3. Orbost to Tostaree

This morning we departed for Tostaree but before we hit the rail trail, we decided to complete our ride around the Orbost District and purchase lunch to have on the track as there were no facilities for buying provisions between Orbost and Tostaree.


For a clearer map of the rail trail contact East Gippsland Rail Trail

On the western outskirts to Orbost the terrain is very flat and is susceptable to major flooding from the Snowy River and the train used to pass over the flats on what was called the Orbost viaduct.


Locating the rail trail was not difficult and we settled in for a very pleasant ride through the forests to Tostaree Cottages some 34 kilometres west of Orbost. The trail is a compacted, well maintained dirt track and although there were no hills or mountains of any consequences to deal with, there were a number of long, gentle gradients. The scenery was mainly rural, undulating country scenes and tall fire blackened timber forests. Although it had only been a short time since a major bushfire had raged through the area, the trees had already started sprouting new green growth.



Having consumed lunch on the trail, it was no time at all until we arrived at Tostaree Cottages and were greeted by our hosts Greg and Vicki Geddes and their two playful dogs.
The cottages were set in a beautiful location surrounded by views of undulating hills, stocked with sheep guarded by llamas and cattle peacefully grazing on an abundance of emerald green grass.
There is something serene and relaxing staying on a farm where life is quiet, calm and unhurried, not like the city with it's bustling noise and nervous energy. No doubt the mood was helped by sipping chilled Chardonay whilst esconsed on the deck with friends. √Ź can almost hear you asking "Where did they get the Chardonay?" well - this farm has it's own Tavern, operated by Greg. I have stayed at a number of farmstays around the world, none of which sported their own tavern. I think most cyclists would agree that it should be compulsory.


The farm is well set up to cater for small groups of cyclists, the cottages themselves being open planned with a couple of lofts to cater for extra bodies. Married couples within the group are also catered for having the privacy of their own cottage. Individual cottages are self contained with an open fireplace, kitchen, bathroom, separate toilet and deck attached.


A real surprise was a huge barn like structure which served as both dining and recreation hall with the tavern at one end. Leisure activities such as darts, table tennis and pool table are provided along with a small stage and karaoke equipment. There is also a huge stone fireplace, which Greg lit later into the night when temperatures dropped. The fire being a nice warm, ambient touch which added to the mood and character of the night.
We were treated to a real feast that night when Vicki served us with roast lamb, the lamb having been raised on the farm and in a word--delicious!
After dinner Ken our leader and the girls treated us to a dash of karaoke. I don't know what they added to the red wine, but.....................I don't think the pop world is quite ready for them yet.



This story is being told in 6 separate posts with the next part being from Tostaree to Lakes Entrance.


Tour was organised by Snowy River Cycling  www.snowyrivercycling.com.au

Cheers,

Jimmy Bee

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

EAST GIPPSLAND RAIL TRAIL AND BEYOND



Day 2 The backroads of Orbost

This was to be the start of our ride but before we headed off, we had to take on fuel and we could find no better place than a little cafe called Chooky's Roost, in the main street of Orbost to satisfy our needs.

Chooky's Roost

On arrival back at the Motel we were met by Liz our organiser, the proprietor of Snowy River Cycling. As this was a self guided tour, we had a discussion with Liz as to how we were going to tackle the trail and also received our  maps and relevant information. Liz had recommended that we spend the first day touring the back roads and tracks around Orbost and along the Snowy River.

Orbost

Orbost is a pretty, clean and robust small town with a population of nearly 2,500. It is situated 375 kilometres east of Melbourne on the Princess Highway where it crosses the Snowy River.

Apart from tourism which is playing an increasing role due to it's close proximity to Marlo (16k) on the coast of Bass Straight. It is also the service centre for the rural industries of beef, dairy and timber for the region.



The township is close to several national parks including the Snowy River, Alpine and Cape Conrad National Parks, making it a great base camp for bush walking and cycling, both recreational and mountain biking.

The surrounding district of Orbost.

Right from the start there was a feeling of relaxation and excitement, almost electrifying. Everyone was enjoying themselves immensely. Having come from Queensland, the first thing which was noticeable was the soft quality of the light and the crispness in the air. It was perfect from both a cyclist and a photographer's point of view.


Snowy River


Even though rain was threatening, it came as a surprise when the heavens opened and everyone was drenched. It was a wise move to return to Orbost, have lunch and wait until the rain lifted. It wasn't to be, instead it became heavier and the afternoon's ride was called off. Thanks to the generosity of our hosts we were given the opportunity of using their dryer. It was a wonderful gesture as otherwise we would have had to travel the next day with wet clothing in our packs.

This story is being told over 6 separate posts. The next post will be Day 3 Orbost to Tostaree.


Tour was organised by Snowy River Cycling  www.snowyrivercycling.com.au



Cheers

Jimmy Bee



Tuesday, 8 May 2012

EAST GIPPSLAND RAIL TRAIL AND BEYOND



Day 1. Melbourne to Orbost

Over the next few days come with me as I take you on a cycle tour with U3A Peddling For Pleasure of the East Gippsland Rail Trail and beyond.



There was a  buzz of excitement when fourteen members of the U3A (University of the Third Age-Redlands, Qld) Peddling For Pleasure group arrived at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, having just arrived from Brisbane and eager to start a 5 day adventure riding the East Gippsland Rail Trail and the Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail.



Our reason for choosing this particular rail trail was solely due to an interesting article in the Aug/Sept 2011 issue of the Ride On cycling magazine's 'East Gippsland Escapade' written by  Karen Graham. She made the trip sound so interesting that when I proposed the trip to a meeting of our group it was overwhelmingly accepted. The rail line from Bairnsdale to Orbost was built in 1916 and ceased in 1987 and stretched for 94km. The purpose of the line was primarily to transport supplies to the rural areas and return, with rural and forrestry products, to Melbourne via Bairnsdale. To make our trip worthwhile, the Gippsland Lakes Discovery trail was added.




We boarded a charter bus and set off for our first destination, Orbost, in Eastern Victoria. On arrival at the Country Roads Motel, we quickly sorted ourselves out, received our bikes (Trek Mountain Bikes and Giant Hybrids, supplied by Snowy River Cycling) and headed to the bottom pub. We were welcomed with cold beer, refreshing wine and an excellent Chinese meal which was so enjoyable as to entice us back the following night.



This story is being told over 6 separate posts.

The next post will describe Day 2 .....Orbost and the surrounding district.

 Tour was organised by Snowy River Cycling  www.snowyrivercycling.com.au


Cheers

Jimmy Bee