I was stunned when 32 people turned up for our group Mountain Biking ride from Beerburrum, through the forests of the Glasshouse Mountains, to Woodford and back. This is the largest social ride that I’ve been a part of, and I was amazed how smoothly it went, despite several crashes and a few equipment failures.
This ride was a combined effort between the online Mountain Biking community at MTBDirt.com and the Bushrangers Mountain Biking Club from the Sunshine Coast. Because there were so many people on the ride, I took a lot of photos, and have included a lot of thumbnails in this post to make it easier for anyone who was on the ride to take copies of any photos they want.
We started from Matthew Flinders Rest Area at Beerburrum. This is the site where, in 1799, the English explorer Matthew Flinders camped for the night before climbing Mount Beerburrum. He had originally planned to climb the taller (and steeper) Mount Tibrogargan, but found the sheer cliffs on the eastern face too intimidating, so opted for the easier scramble up Mount Beerburrum instead. Every year in July the local school celebrates the event with a commemorative climb up the hill to re-enact Flinders’ efforts.
But we engaged in a dfifferent sort of “Mountain Climbing” on our ride. The track behind the Glasshouse Mountains lookout is particularly steep. Everyone attempted to ride up it, but everyone (except one) couldn’t quite make it over one nasty little hump. Matthew Flinders would have been proud
One of the best things about going UP a hill is the being able to go DOWN it afterwards. We had a ball riding the Hennessey Hill downhill track. It’s a purpose-built track for riding downhill really quickly. There are enough jumps, banked corners and rock gardens to keep even the gnarliest downhiller happy. More importantly, each challenging section has a “B-Line” to allow less skilled riders to go around the features that they don’t want to ride.
There’s a maze-like network of tracks in this part of the forest. We decided to try out some single-tracks instead of following the dirt roads. This meant everyone had to ride single-file, which caused a bit of a traffic-jam whenever we encountered obstacle like fallen trees.
After the fun of Hennessey Hill, we thought we’d do it all over again with another hill… A little bit of hard work to get to the top, then another exhillarating flight down a steep and bumpy track while trying to avoid the deep ruts.
When given a choice between dirt roads and single-tracks, most mountain bikers will chose single-tracks. The quiet trails make it easier to enjoy the surroundings without having to worry about Four-Wheel-Drives and motor bikes whizzing past. So where possible, our route kept to the quieter tracks through the forest.
We were all glad to arrive at Woodford for a rest and a bite to eat. Because there were so many of us, we split up and ate at different cafes to keep the queues short. Eric gave us a demonstration of hard-core relaxation
The north-east track out of Woodford took us through some beautiful secluded woodland. Unfortunately, parts of the track were quite muddy, and we had to tip-toe around the edges to avoid getting wet.
At one point, we had to cart the bikes over a huge fallen log followed by a barbed wire fence. I’m really grafetul to Eric who helped keep people moving in the right direction. One of the things I love about mountain biking in a group is how everyone works together and helps each other out.
As I wached Neil (“Bangers”) ride down it, I was reminded of Banjo Patterson’s description of another rider on another hill in “The Man From Snowy River”:
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.
I’m definitely going back to Trig Hill and “The Giant Drop” again
One or two people had a crash. I tried my first aid skills on Terry. Unfortunately I couldn’t unroll the “Micropore” tape so resorted to taping him up with duct tape. Ah the myriad uses of duct tape – one of the reasons I always carry a roll in my pack.
Geoff broke the hanger on his bike. That’s the thing that connects the gear-changing mechanism to the frame of the bike. When it breaks, the chain can no longer go round, and you can’t change gears. Normally the solution is to break the chain, shorten it, remove the hanger, and complete the ride with no gears (not much fun). David showed us an ingenious bit of kit he brings on his rides – a temporary hanger you can screw into the skewer on your back wheel. The end result is gears that still work, and an enjoyable ride home.
Thanks to everyone who came on the ride today. I loved being able to share this adventure with so many great people.
63km, 3,500kcal, 1,200m of ascent, six and a half hours of riding including breaks. 32 people started this ride, 32 people finished. If you’re looking for a fun adventure, grab a few friends and give this one a try!