As soon as I stepped outside, I knew it was going to be a scorcher and that the return ride was about 72 km. Although our group of seven were all seasoned recreational riders who wouldn't normally be daunted by riding this distance, when faced with a really hot day you don't really know how each rider will fare. We were all aware it was of the utmost importance to keep hydrated but there was also an age factor in the equation and the two elements mixed together can sometimes bring on unwanteed circumstances. It was also the last day of a long weekend and we were riding in one of the most desirable pleasure spots in Queensland...the Sunshine Coast and you can understand why when you see some of my photographs in the next two posts. There was one more factor to add in and that was the weather forecast suggested a light to moderate north easterly breeze, changing south easterly and intensifying in the afternoon, meaning we would be heading into a headwind on the return run.
We had booked a couple of cabins at the Big 4 Maroochy Palms Holiday Village directly opposite the Maroochy River which turned out to be an ideal location. Most importantly, it was close to a hotel just in case we needed to sate our thirst on return. If you were thinking of taking a break in the near future as a family or a group of cyclists, I would certainly recommend this location-http://www.maroochypalms.com.au/.
We started off following the shared paths along the river until we came to the bridge and then it was a matter of keeping to the bicycle lanes, shared paths and trails that were clearly marked on the Queensland Government Travelsmart maps we were carrying. The ride through to Coolum was pleasant enough although not spectacular and the last section riding into Coolum on a marked cycle lane was a little hairy due to us missing the entrance to the off road trail and the heavier than normal holiday traffic. It's one thing to mix it with normal road traffic but when the roads are full of holiday makers I tend to get nervous. I think everybody was pleased when we found a cafe that wasn't crowded and I really enjoyed my first iced coffee of the trip.
The rest of the ride to Sunshine Beach was very good and because a lot of it was on paths and boardwalks through coastel scrub and forest it was much, much cooler. On the downside, views like in the above photograph were few.
|The Three Stooges or Three Ancient Warriors?|
Sunshine Beach is a small beachside town just south of Noosa Heads and was the ideal spot to have some lunch before retracing our steps back to Maroochydore.
The ride back, surprisingly, was remarkedly easy, the temperature had dropped a couple of points and the wind direction hadn't changed and so we had a nice breeze to our back which made it even more pleasant. We seemed to glide along the off road paths, crossing boardwalks and passing a series of fresh water ponds.
It appeared as though I was getting more opportunities to photograph some good beach scenes, which I didn't have before. We did do a lot more off road trails and paths on the return journey and I put this down to why I failed to capture these opportunities on the way up.
I managed to consume a lot of liquid and replace lost electrolytes during the ride and I can say that I had a bit more gas left in the tank at the end of the ride. However, this didn't prevent me from consuming a couple of beers when we arrived back. I know, taking alcohol is not the best way to hydrate, but what the heck, it sure tasted good.
|University of the Third Age - Peddling for Pleasure.|
That night , we walked the 100 metres or so to the local tavern where the menu was good, the taste right and the price reasonable.
|SUNSHINE COAST - Maroochydore to Sunshine Beach|
It is not difficult to navigate this ride but I would suggest obtaining a good map first from travelsmart (link) www.travelsmartsunshinecoast.com.au/
Total distance : 72 km.
Surface: Bitumen road, cement paths and boardwalk
This is a fun recreational ride. Relax and enjoy your surroundings.