Pedal Queensland

Currumbin Beachfront

Like many things, bicycle riding events have needed to change in response to the current pandemic. Events for bicycle riders have been postponed, cancelled or in the case of Pedal Queensland, introduced with a fresh shape to suit this new landscape.

Through cycling events, large numbers of bicycle riders can gather to share their enjoyment of group riding – be it competition or camaraderie, or both. And it’s not just the speedy cyclists that can get involved. Mostly, these bicycle events are inclusive, offering different distances and routes to suit a broad mix of abilities, ages and bicycle experience.

In recent years, I’ve participated in a few cycling events. I’ve enjoyed exploring Brisbane in The Great Brisbane Bike Ride and touring from Stanthorpe to Currumbin over four days in Cycle Queensland. Supported rides are a good way to increase your bicycle riding confidence and skills. The support of rest stops, closed streets, managed intersection crossings, first aid responders, campsites; and well-deserved snacks and meals, all add to a good day of riding. But not in 2020, unfortunately.

This year brings a different form of group riding. I’m participating in Pedal Queensland – a real-time ride with a virtual community. While participants are not gathering as a group, we’re riding as a virtual community for the enjoyment of riding and the challenge of how many kilometres we clock up. Ride on your own or with friends and family. Record your rides and upload your distance into the Pedal Queensland website. Plus there are rewards from riding like discounts on bicycle services, nutrition bars, gels, etc.

Bicycle riders in Queensland can join this virtual group ride at any time during the month of August. I formed a small team of family and friends who are riding as abike4allseasons. We’re enjoying watching the kilometres add up and surprised at how quickly they do. Although we can’t all ride together (because we live in different parts of Queensland), we’re having a lot of fun sharing this virtual ride and encouraging each other along the way. We even made it onto a couple of leadership boards 🙂

But more importantly, Pedal Queensland has encouraged some to shake off the short winter days and get back on their bike again. There’s something about having a shared focus that helps.

If you’re living in Queensland and you want to join in, follow the link for Pedal Queensland.

Stories untold

Contemplating stories untold

It’s been ages. 
Since my pen
touched these pages.

I’ve been pedalling though. 
Bendigo, Bundaberg, Byron Bay.
Bargara, Mon Repos,
Brisbane for a stay.

Southport, Surfers and Burleigh,
here on the coast. 
Oslo in Norway,
where the winter chill hurt most.

Hire bike, folding bike,
e-bike, mountain bike.
Old favourite touring bike.

Kingscliff and Fingal for a writer’s retreat. 
The Brisbane Valley for a Rail Trail repeat. 
Noosa to Caloundra in unseasonal rain. 
Pottsville, Bruns with my brothers again.

Hire bike, folding bike,
e-bike, mountain bike. 
Old favourite touring bike.

Steamy summer Sundays
Icy trails with studded tyres
Beach rides with autumn tailwinds
Springtime with new beginnings…

Too many stories left untold
I’m picking up my pen, again
Let’s see what unfolds.

South Burnett Rail Trail

The jacaranda trees were in full flower, colouring the landscape with splashes of lilac and matching the radiance of a blue sky made clear from recent rains. Grevilleas stood thick with burnt orange blooms. Rows of crops flourished green in the rich red volcanic soil. Springtime on the South Burnett Rail Trail was picture perfect.

Situated in Queensland’s southeast, the South Burnett Rail Trail (SBRT) stretches for 44 kilometres between the small rural towns of Kingaroy and Murgon. The entire trail is asphalt and makes for easy riding. Because the SBRT is built on the path of a former railway line, the gradient is gentle and there are small settlements dotted along the trail every six or seven kilometres. This means you can make the trail your own. You can design a ride that’s 6, 12, 30 kilometres or, if you want a longer distance, you can do a return ride of the full trail and clock up 88 kilometres.

I rode the SBRT with my two cycling brothers and we chose a one-way ride of the entire 44 kilometres. We rode at a leisurely pace – stopping to take photos, read the information signs at each former railway station, and to enjoy a coffee and cake at the Wooroolin café. Our riding time was just under three hours and our stops added another 40 minutes.

The three of us rode mountain bikes but the smooth asphalt and gentle climbs of the SBRT would suit most bike types – road, hybrid, electric, mountain, touring and folding. And with the opportunity to ride shorter distances, even little wheels pedaled by little legs could enjoy the SBRT with their parents or grandparents.

The SBRT is well-signed with information for interest, direction and safety. Every kilometre there is a location marker giving distances and GPS coordinates. At every road crossing (these are side roads, not major roads), there are chicanes to warn and slow cyclists when approaching the intersection.

The South Burnett Rail Trail traces a past rich with stories. A hotel once owned by a former circus magician. Art Deco architecture and grand hotels that signal the prosperity surrounding these small railway stations in the early 1900s. And the long-time past of the First Australians who knew this country intimately.

Even though the SBRT has gentle gradients, the land’s elevation is worth considering when planning your trip. With Kingaroy sitting at 442 metres above sea level and Murgon at 316 metres above sea level, we started our ride in Kingaroy and enjoyed a largely downhill run. Along the way we met thirteen bridge crossings, five majestic brumbies, four swooping magpies, two grazing cows and one goanna who scurried up the nearest gum tree.

Ours was a good day of riding, chatting, sharing stories new and old, and making plans to visit again.

20181020 trail start in Kingaroy IMG_0383

Start of SBRT at Kingaroy at O’Neill Square

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Information shelters at former railway stations

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Art deco architecture, Kingaroy

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The Cecil Hotel, Wondai

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Historic hotel in Wooroolin

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Bridge crossing

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Chicane as we approach road crossing

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Safety Markers* with GPS coordinates

* The safety markers are labelled KKRT because they mark the distances for the Kilkivan to Kingaroy Rail Trail of which the South Burnett Rail is part of.

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Former bridge pylon on the way to Murgon

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A good day riding.

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