A sandy ride on a short day

On the eve of the winter solstice, the sky cleared to a brilliant azure and stayed that way. All day for the shortest day, the sun shone without a blink. The wind rushed in from the south-west, cooling the air and relaxing the ocean into small waves, clean and clear. It was a beautiful day to be outside, in the sunlight, by the beach and riding my bike.

Well actually, ON the beach ON my bike. It was the perfect day for a bit of beach riding.

Riding a bicycle on the beach always feels like a treat. The conditions have to be just right. The tide has to be low and the sand must be firm enough to avoid being bogged. Plus, you have to be prepared to risk the rust that might happen if you don’t wash your bicycle well enough afterwards.

I hadn’t ridden my Vivente tourer on the beach before; it was too new. Until now. Over three years old and sporting some surface rust just from living by the beach, it was time to break out for a long overdue beach ride. I was interested to see how it went. The tide would be dropping over the afternoon so we rode south via the street and cycle ways to Kirra Point. By the time we’d reach there, the tide would be low enough and we could enjoy a tailwind on our return trip north along the beach.

Arriving at Kirra Point and walking our bikes through the soft sand track towards the water’s edge, we see boats and trucks and a gaggle of people humming around. It’s the time of the year when the mullet men take to the beach. By that I don’t mean a bunch of guys wearing strange haircuts! No, it’s the men who fish, commercial fishermen, who catch schools of Sea Mullet (Mugil cephalic). Annually, the sea mullet emerge from the estuaries and head to the open sea to spawn. When they do, the fishermen who wait patiently day after day, hope to be in the right place at the right time to net them. This day they were. We watched for awhile, took some photos and then started our ride north along the sand.

When I owned a mountain bike, I used to ride often on the beach. Their tyres, wide with raised knobs, are designed to grip in rough or loose terrain and make beach riding quite easy. Even though the Vivente’s tyres are not as wide and bear a less vigorous tread, they still rode well. The main difference is the bike’s weight which being steel, weighs 17kg, heavier than many. Plus I had a pannier filled with a spare jacket, a beach towel and wet swimmers (yes, it was a great day for a swim too!)

So riding the Vivente on the beach was a little different from what I was used to, but it was very enjoyable.

From Kirra Point, we rode past Bilinga, Tugun and finished beside Elephant Rock at Currumbin. There was a shallow creek crossing through brackish water near North Kirra. It was shallow and rideable. At Tugun, the rocky outcrop known as Flat Rock meant we had to carry our bikes over some rocks to finish our ride at Currumbin. Along the way there were people sunning on the sand, others walking on the beach, young boys playing beach cricket, and as we rode past a small family sitting together in a cosy huddle on a patchwork of towels, a little boy’s voice emerged: “we should bring our bikes to the beach”.

To which I thought with a smile, yes you should!

With smooth sand, a tailwind and a spectacular view of the Coral Sea, it’s a beautiful way to enjoy the beach.

Oh and we also had a healthy dose of sunshine on the eve of the shortest day of the year.

Looking north from Kirra Point with our beach ride about to begin. In the distance, you can see the skyline of Surfers Paradise.

Looking north from Kirra Point with our beach ride about to begin. In the distance, you can see the skyline of Surfers Paradise.

Kirra Point with fishing boat waiting for the next netting run.

Kirra Point with fishing boat waiting for the next netting run.

Fishing boat for netting Sea Mullet.

Fishing boat for netting Sea Mullet.

Nets in fishing boat used to catch Sea Mullet.

Nets in fishing boat used to catch Sea Mullet.

Beach scene with trucks and people and plastic crates for carting fish.

Beach scene with trucks and people and plastic crates for carting fish.

Scene of the catch.

Scene of the catch.

Truckloads of fish-filled crates

Truckloads of fish-filled crates.

Plenty of firm sand to ride on.

Plenty of firm sand to ride on.

Brackish water from creek near North Kirra.

Brackish water from creek near North Kirra.

Creek crossing no worries.

Creek crossing no worries.

A sandy ride on a short day.

Plenty of sunshine.

A sandy ride on a short day.

A sandy ride on a short day.

21 Comments on “A sandy ride on a short day

  1. Oh I miss my Kirra winter days and watching the fishermen. One day their landrover got bogged as the tide came in and they were trying to manage a bountiful catch – what to do save the car or pull in the catch?? I ran down to the water’s edge where a number of others had gathered and helped them pull in the catch while they saved the car 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your stories about Kirra. We have been holidaying at Kirra every Christmas for 11 years and seeing these photos is fabulous! How wonderful to be living and biking in such a beautiful area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Roz! I imagine there are some familiar scenes in there for you. It’s a beautiful stretch of beach, so long, clean and with a beautiful foreshore of dune grasses, banksias and casuarinas. Thanks for writing 🙂

      Like

  3. Sounds great! I can imagine you had a wonderful day. I think we were on Bruny Island that day… didn’t take the bikes, but did get two (brief) beach walks. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a glorious day for a beach ride. I’ve never ridden on the beach before. You’ve encouraged me to hire a suitable bike and give it a go! Great pics, Gail. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gail

    Looks like it was a great ride. And you’ve finished a story for me – a work colleague was telling me about what they had seen on the beach a week or two ago – the mullet fishermen – but there were no catches that day. I’ll forward this to her, so she can see the photos! 🙂

    Jen

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    • That’s great to know Jen. The anticipation around the mullet fisherman as they wait and wait and the bustling when they race out to net the fish and then bring the catch into the beach is quite something. 🙂

      Like

  6. Cycling always gives a sense of freedom, but cycling on the beach is even more liberating. You brought back fond memories of my last beach ride – dodging seals that were loafing along on a beach on the Otago Peninsula, NZ. Thanks Gail.

    Liked by 1 person

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