Inspired by the Summer Solstice in June where many northern hemisphere cyclists take the opportunity for extra long rides for the longest day, we thought we would do the same (despite being Winter and the Southern Hemisphere's shortest day of the year).
What doesn’t sound good about taking a Friday off work to simply enjoy riding your bike? No clock watching. No Zoom schedules. Just country air, new scenes, and local bakeries to look out for. So that’s what we did!
We put the call out for interested riders and in early July, on a beautiful winter’s day in Sydney, a group of 8 set off on an all day adventure - heading to Wiseman’s Ferry for 200km round trip. The only plan we had was for lunch at the Wiseman’s Ferry Inn.
A smooth ride up the highway and first stop was coffee at Hornsby. That was easy, time for coffee. Why not? We had all day and everyone was relaxed and confident.
Next stop was Wiseman’s, through Gaston Gorge. And this meant open roads, fewer cars, and no traffic lights. All the ingredients for some great riding and banter.
Across lovely rolling roads, we had it to ourselves as we pushed and kept speed up and the group tight. It was to the front of the bunch that Tristan suggested in his gentle Irish accent, “Julian, you know you don’t have to stay in the big ring”. At the next lookout, he pointed to the small ring to ensure Julian knew it was there.
“Mechanical!” We pulled over to help. Conrad was looking helplessly at his wheel, spinning it to identify the problem. “It feels like the brakes are on.” Nothing wrong with your brakes mate. Everyone back on.
We signed in at the pub under COVID-19 rules and watched the clock for the bistro to open at 11. A fine bistro meal for 8! We had another 120kms to go, so best to go and enjoy it.
We spent the next 25kms riding along the Hawkesbury River on undulating and winding road. The settings and scenes along the river are picturesque. Caravan, waterskiing, and boating communities dot the green and lush outlook along the river. “The best 25kms I have ridden in Australia” and this stretch will be the drawcard to repeat this ride.
After this, there was some hard work back to Galston as we kept the group together and ensuring everyone made it well.
After three-quarters of the ride, we finally sorted out naming conventions. We had two James’ in the group today, which meant one of them needed a nickname to stick. "James, you will now be known as Swerlo."
The return trip from Galston was slower than expected. A very slow climb up Galston Gorge with cars maneuvering around an accident, and a busy Pacific Highway slowing us on what could have been a descent back to North Sydney.
As riders slowly peeled off….we had a smaller group of 5 to enjoy a six pack that the boys had waiting for us at MC.
- 7:47 moving time 11:17 elapsed time
- 1 puncture
- 2 actual mechanical stops, 1 'my brakes are on' rest stop
- 6 burgers, 2 fish & chips.
What a way to spend a Friday! Ready for the next one.