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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Mango Run

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Stowing Mango Loot

There’s a remote mango tree by Lake Samsonvale that’s laden with fruit this time of year. Any mangoes that fall to the ground are scavenged by feral animals, so we thought we’d do the environment a favour and relieve this grand old tree of some of its fruit.

We think the tree might have been planted by the Joyner family over a century ago, but trees don’t tell tales, so we’ll never know.

Mount Samson

Lake Samsonvale is named after the town of Samsonvale which disappeared under the water when the dam forming the lake was built. Samsonvale was named after Mount Samson which looms over the area. Today it was brooding moodily in the thick cloud cover which protected us from the heat of the mid-summer sun.

Fukawi GrassDarb

While most of the terrain around the lake is well-tended, some parts are covered with “fukawi” grass which takes a bit of faith to ride through – especially if you’re worried about snakes. I don’t mind snakes, and was riding last, so I didn’t need much faith: everyone else had flattened the grass for me.

Shoreline Trails

The flat freshly-mown tracks were perfect for riding on. We kept up a brisk pace as we followed the shoreline.

Stowing Mango Loot

When we finally reached the mango tree, we all stocked up on mangoes. I brought the “Chaff Bags” that were given to me by Bike Bag Dude and filled them with freshly picked fruit. I’m not sure if that’s what Kath and Kedan had in mind when they designed these bags, but they did the job perfectly.

Soaking in the LakePaul

Bubbling SelfieChatting on the Shore

StreakerRiding the Shore Line

After the mangoes we had a break by the dam. Some of us floated, splashed, streaked or relaxed. Zepinator thought he’d take his bike for a swim :)

The cool water was perfect on such a humid day.

Climbing the Fence

After the swim, we made our way back to the paved road, and slowly rode back to the cars.



Thanks to Leanne, Paul B, Paul S, Paul B, Eric, Darb and Howard for yet another fun ride – the last one for 2013.

I think we should make “The Mango Run” a regular event. What do you think?

All up, we rode about 28km in just under 3 hours including breaks. I’ll rate this one 7 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jacky Creek

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Jacky Creek Road

Many of my friends are delighted that the tracks in the northern section of D’Aguilar National Park have been opened up to Mountain Bikes. Today we planned to take a short tour along some of those tracks to let people enjoy some of the new trails that are now available.

Start of the Ride

Start of the Ride

Although I expected perhaps a dozen people I was amazed when 26 people turned up for the ride. Large group rides are always a lot of fun.

Laceys Creek Road

Laceys Creek Road

We started along Laceys Creek Road. Although it’s paved, and has a small amount of traffic, it is a pleasant ride through the rolling hills and numerous causeways.

Wirth Road

From there it was a tough half-hour climb up Wirth Road. This steep gravel road is hard work, but it’s the easiest way to get up to the ridgeline along the top of the range. The stronger riders waited at the top for the rest of us to catch up.

Tyre Tracks

The big rains of summer will soon be here, and the trails are still bone dry. The twisted tracks of mountain bike tyres left their mark in the dust, which made it easy to see where the front riders had been. This came in handy for our friend “Zepinator” who turned up late, and was able to catch up with us by following our tyre tracks, even though he hadn’t previously ridden in this part of the National Park.

May Road

Jacky Creek Road

The quick descent down Jacky Creek Road is a lot of fun. It follows a steep ridge with sharp drops on either side giving great views of the valleys to the left and right.

When a couple of dozen of us rocketed down the track, the riders at the back were engulfed in a dust cloud.

Towards the bottom this track turns through a couple of tight hair-pin bends which demanded some careful cornering.

Hills on Jacky Creek Rd

As any experienced rider knows, down-hill tracks don’t last forever. Before long we had to push tbe bikes up some very steep hills.

The trail had become narrower and much steeper. I found it hard work just pushing the bike up these hills.

But at the top we enjoyed some more descents. This time the gradients were much sharper, with less room to move. At some points all we could do was keep our weight as far back as possible, grab the brakes, and try not to fall off. There was no way you could stop the bike while skidding down those hills.

The smell of cooked brake pads permeated the air.

Byron Creek

This roller-coaster of a track spat us out into Byron Creek. Surrounded by thick undergrowth and lush rain-forest, bike after bike shot out of the bush and splashed through the creek.

After rain the water in this creek flows quickly and is quite deep. We were lucky to cross the creek after a lot of dry weather.

Byron Creek Road

Byron Creek Road

We met our first motor vehicle of the day on Byron Creek Road. I don’t know what the driver thought as he came head-on into a bunch of so many cyclists, but his face remained dead-pan.

Motor vehicles use many of the trails in this section of the national park. It’s a great spot for some 4WD adventures. If you’re riding a bike it’s important to keep an eye (and ear) out for traffic.

Taking a BreakRiding Buddies

Riding BuddiesRiding Buddies

At the top of Byron Creek Road we had another break to cool off after the climb. The day was growing hotter and more humid. Most people didn’t have any deadlines so we took it easy and made sure everyone kept together.

Mt Brisbane Horse Trail Descent

On previous rides I have ridden out of the park down Chambers Road – a steep gravel road with some dangerous blind corners. Today, Paul suggested we follow a horse trail out instead. Paul had ridden it before and guaranteed we’d enjoy it.

I don’t know how anyone on horseback would ride this track – it climbed really sharply. Thankfully we were going down, so all we had to do was hang on.

Paul was spot-on. This was an awesome descent. The only problem was my brakes were totally cooked by the time I reached the bottom. Thankfully I was on flat ground when I squeezed the rear brake lever and nothing happened.


PipGlen cuts the melon

After leaving the national park it was a quiet undulating 10km ride back to the cars. The day was hot, the riders were tired, and we were relieved to finally get back.

But Glen had a pleasant surprise for us…

Wanna bite?

Tim Loves Watermelon


Icy cold watermelon. I couldn’t have have wished for a better after-ride snack.

Glen, you’re a legend, mate. Thank you!

All up we rode 40km in four and a half hours with about 1,200m of ascent.

With the high humidity and temperatures hovering around 30C, I’ll give this one 9 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thank you, everyone, for another fun adventure!