Wollumbin BUG

I’d lost my way. On a Sunday of all days. Mondays I can understand. On Mondays, the world returns to work and a collective lull hovers across the morning. But this was a Sunday and I was out riding and I didn’t know which way to go.

We set out soon after sunrise to ride a new circuit; some roads would be familiar and some would be new. It would be our longest ride since returning home from the GreatVic. There would be hills to climb too.

Out to sea, sunlight sprayed from behind a curtain of clouds. Overhead, the grey sky hung low, pressing steamy air into a thick soup. We pedalled south, heading for the northern tip of our neighbouring state, New South Wales. Here the land turns green. The Tweed Valley, home to Wollumbin and the Tweed caldera, is rich with orange soil and bordered with hills. To ride there, we must climb.

Through the twin towns of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads we ride over the state border. Time marches forward an hour with daylight saving automatically spending my early hour. Crossing over Terranora Creek, we pedal along Dry Dock Road where lands run low and waters run high. Then, turning into Fraser Drive, we begin four kilometres of steady climbing up to Terranora Road. We head west, still climbing. This is a familiar route.

Then we take a right turn and descend into unfamiliar roads.

A steep descent on a road wrapped in trees brings shade and speed. It’s fun. As the pitch of the hill flattens, I’m looking for signs of the small community of Bilambil. I was expecting to see the community hall, the tennis courts, the store and garage at the bottom of the hill. Nothing’s there. To the left, the road heads inland. To the right is a no-through road. Ahead is a steep hill that I wasn’t expecting until after Bilambil. So I stop. I’ve lost my way.

Looking behind to where we’ve come from, I see a bicycle speeding down the hill, and another and another. As the first cyclist passes, I call out: “which way to Bilambil?” “Up the hill”, he replies with a touch of glee as he pedals to squeeze every bit of energy out of the descent. Another cyclist passes and another and I notice their bikes are different from what we usually see.

This area is a popular destination for weekend cycling but in our trips south we’ve only seen speedy road bikes racing their way around the hills. These bikes, though, were touring bikes like ours. It was like meeting your own kin.

So up the hill we rode, mingling with the tourers, yarning about bikes and travel, and finding out about this interesting group of bicycle riders. By a stroke of serendipity, we’d met the Wollumbin Bicycle User Group (BUG) on its Sunday ride from Murwillumbah.

Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) are social riding groups that meet regularly for an enjoyable ride. They might be formed around a suburb, city, workplace or university campus; and can be found in many different countries. BUGs vary in terms of how often rides take place, the distances travelled and the type of riders attracted. For example, some groups focus on road bikes, while others are formed for mountain bikes. Most of the Wollumbin BUG riders we met rode touring bikes, but I get the sense they’re a very inclusive group with a genuine interest in encouraging people to get on a bike.

After summiting the hill, we descended into Bilambil where the group stopped for a cuppa in the local park. After some enjoyable chat, Jane and I continued on to the Gold Coast, leaving with a lift in our pedals and an invitation to ride with the Wollumbin BUG sometime soon. I’m looking forward to it.

The following link takes you to a list of BUGS in Australia:



That little hill in the middle was the one I hadn’t expected.


Over the border into some beautiful areas for riding.

20 Comments on “Wollumbin BUG

    • It was a great ride Helen. Strava tells me the total elevation gain was 514 metres. The gradient ranges mostly between 5 to 10 percent on those hills. There’s an occasional steeper kick. With lots of gears to play with, the touring bikes take to hills really well.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes great views but for some strange reason I took very few photos on that ride. It was unlike me but I hadn’t planned to write a post about the ride and the sky was a bit grey so I didn’t bother. So glad that I took one shot 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Gail, Fate smiled on you and Jane on that ride which turned out much better than you expected. As for the humidity soup, my southerner family members who moved to South Port almost two years ago are currently struggling with it. It seems the humidity levels are greater than last summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes Margaret, the weather has been very steamy and now we have another few hot days forecast ahead. We haven’t had much rain so far this summer. The rain always gives some temporary relief from the sticky humid days. Needless to say, riding is a sweaty business at the moment 😀


  3. I did enjoy your trip account. its interesting to see just how different the weather is where you live. The rain is teeming down here today but that is what makes England so green

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Brenda. I’m glad you enjoyed the ride. I find the differences in weather across the globe fascinating too. Sometimes it’s such a contrast. And perceptions of what’s cold, hot or humid vary. When I think about this, I always remember walking along a street in Glastonbury one English summer and hearing two women remark on how muggy it was that particular day. It was nothing like I knew muggy to be from my sub-tropical home. And I also think about how I wear my winter kit to ride in a Scandinavian summer! 😀 I love these differences!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Gail You two are adventurous, going out in such steamy weather. Did you head straight for the water when you got back? It is so much fun meeting others who are doing the same things – thanks for the link to the BUGs. It is beautiful country around the border … but I keep thinking of those hills: up, up, up and down, down, down ….. Jen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaa 😀 … hills are plentiful over the border for sure. That’s when I’m glad to have a touring bike. Hills are where they really excel, with so many gears and a lower centre of gravity for climbing.

      We’ve been making an early start when the weather is this humid. Did we swim? Yes. After this ride, we were back in time for a refreshing swim on the high tide 🙂


    • Hi Wendy, 😄 what a beautiful hood it is. I’ve been wanting to ride around there for awhile but have been a little daunted by the hills. Since riding the GreatVic though, I’m feeling more confident with climbing so I’m ready to do some exploring 😄


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: