A bike ride event recently popped up on Facebook that looked like fun…the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail – 50 kilometres – 2 bakeries! Pretty sure I had the bakeries covered, but would my legs be up for this BVRT challenge? Only one way to find out!
Just so you know, I’m not bike fit (the last time I cycled the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail I was on an ebike). But I really enjoy off-road riding and figured this half day ride was a nice chance to get back on my bike. So I packed Geisha (all the essentials; comfy bed, kettle and tea), threw my trusty stead in the back (my mountain bike) and took off after work last Friday night – destination Benarkin, 2.5 hours from the Gold Coast.
Benarkin is a tiny town in Queensland’s South Burnett region. They don’t have much, but they do have an excellent free camp site, with a nice new toilet block and hot showers. The temperature was a chilly 2 degrees over night, but I was cosy in Geisha with my doona, sleeping bag and beanie.
It was so cold the next morning however, that my clicker to open Geisha’s doors wouldn’t work (flat battery in the cold) and I accidentally woke the whole camp site with the car alarm going off. Woops!
After my morning cuppa to thaw out, it was time to get ready for the ride – hydro pack so I can sip precious H20 while riding, full length skins to keep my legs warm, and most importantly padded bike pants and a gel seat cover to help my bum cope with the 50km ride (seriously though, that $5 gel seat cover from Kmart literally saved my butt).
More than fifty people gathered for the ride, mostly guys, but a few gals too. Our first aider was Sherree Bale, winner of the women’s category in the first BVRT 100 km race – a nurse and a top mountain biker, we were in good hands.
We rode out at 8am with the winter sun slowly thawing us out (I had 3 layers on for the first half of the ride). Feeling ever so jolly like a character from an Enid Blyton book, I pedalled along looking forward to my cake and lashings of ginger beer.
The cloudless Queensland sky stretched out in blue as we pedalled through the golden countryside. Riding at my own pace I followed where trains once rumbled. Horses, cows and a musical whipbird for company.
Lucky for me the ride was mostly leg friendly, not too steep and only a few little gullies to negotiate. After 25kms we arrived in Yarraman where seats and tables were waiting for us at the bakery. A coffee and a delicious Ned Kelly pie topped up the fuel tank as I wondered how many kilometres I needed to pedal to burn off the calories…
The Ned Kelly pie was awesome… a layer of mince, a whole egg cracked on top, cheese sauce and bacon on top of that, the ultimate breakfast pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Back on the bike, more pedalling, then hello Blackbutt bakery. This award-winning bakery has one of the best sweets cabinets I’ve ever seen… the salted caramel brownies were calling my name, but the apple cheesecake called even louder (tastes so much better when you’ve earned it!).
Each stop was a chance to chat to other riders, like South African brothers Etienne and Marius, who told me they’ve bravely signed up for the 100km Brissie to the Bay bike ride in a few weeks (good luck with that guys!). On the home stretch I hugged a riders slipsteam awhile as my legs slowed pace, it wasn’t steep but the trail felt endless. Then, all of a sudden we were back! I was done! 50 kms nailed! Thank you legs!
After a restorative hot shower I rolled my picnic rug out on the grass and lay in the sun to rest, tired but happy. Such a wonderful morning riding through the countryside… and now I know what my legs can do I hope to be back riding the rail trail again soon.
Are you interested in a ride along the BVRT? Ride organiser Paul Heymans has an all girls ride in the pipeline (follow Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association on Facebook for BVRT news and events). Paul is also running another 3 day fully supported ride from 21-23 July (I did it last year and highly recommend).
OK let’s ride!