Best laid plans … Alas this ride ended up being far shorter than anticipated. Combination of wrong gear and an old health nemesis made me turn back. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.
I did enjoy riding some excellent roads for a couple of days. Riding south via My Lindsey I want to tell you most of the road over the range is now excellent surface. The lower section was mostly good already and the section north of the border gate had been resealed in recent years and now they have hot mixed many of the other corners north of the border as well. South of the border has long been some of the best road available to riders from Brisbane so now its becoming one superb ride. One of my firm favourites.
Whilst talking of this area I can’t help but again be amazed at how many people ride the rather poorly surveyed and bumpy Lions Road and miss nearby what is one of the best rides around. I wonder what is is about the Lions Road that has made it so famous? I met a guy at Ebor from Melbourne and asked him where he was riding to. He replied to the Gold Coast, so I said I know the roads there very well what route was he taking. He said he wanted to ride the Lions Road and then via Canungra to Nerang and was coming back via the Pacific H-way. I tried to mention he will be missing all the fantastic roads in that area to ride and rattled off a few good ones and alternate routes north and south but nope – he was adamant the Lions Road was the one he came to ride. Sigh well like I said somewhere before – some people you just can’t help.
After Mt Lindsey and a nice run down the Summerland way to Casino I had to tackle the mindless ride from there to Grafton on the 2nd part of the Summerland way. This is a seriously boring road but you have to mind your speed as the local unmarked patrols realise people get the urge to pass the distance quicker.
Into Grafton and because the weather was so perfect I decided to ride to Armidale via Ebor and enjoy the superb roads often referred to as Nymboida (a small town in route) but which is properly call the Armidale Road. Once unsealed and one lane – now the ascent southbound is a wonderful piece of road. Then a little bit of narrow stuff then into Ebor.
I tried for a coffee at the Fussipots cafe as recommended to me but they close Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Worked out ok as I chatted to the owner of the Ebor petrol station about his amazing collection of memorabilia (take a look next time – it’s a seriously valuable collection) and then detoured to see the Ebor falls in full flow – also worth a visit.
Next I got to ride the Thunderbolts way – twice, as I turned back from Gloucester… Anyway the thunderbolts is a terrific ride, sure the section south of Walcha is a bit straight forward for awhile but this section has great high country pastures to look at and can be covered rather quickly – if you wanted to… Then you have the roller coaster road full of mostly well surveyed curves with just a few left over from the old road that are all very clearly signposted. Its a long road but it goes by so easy.
Superb cafe operating in Walcha called Graze on the road that goes to Uralla – excellent food and coffee.
On my way back I visited Gurya then cut over to Ebor (that road was nothing special) and went down the Waterfall Way to Dorrigo. Reason was despite needing to get home the weather was beautiful and I dearly wanted to ride this road which is for me close to perfect. The scenery is inspiring, the road well surfaced and each corner is a masterpiece in surveying having just the right radius for near anyone on any style of bike to enjoy. Seriously if you have not ridden this area (its an easy overnighter from Brisbane) then you really should consider it. Just be sure to take warm gear with you any time of the year – it was very hot in Brisbane that day and warm in Grafton yet very cool up in the highlands – felt like a winter morning here in Brisbane.
Just another note on that – I have found the main problem riding in the cold is stopping the wind. Now I have a couple of shirts/jerseys that are designed to be a windbreaker but neither have the windbreaker material on the back thus the cold air can sneak up under your jacket and chill you to the bone if riding all day in cold air like exists south. My Cortech jacket is extra long at the back but still seems to allow air in at the rear sometimes. So my advice is if going south to the mid north coast highlands in anything except summer with our typical Brisbane winter riding gear then stop in at a outdoors shop and get a wind stopper jersey to wear under your jacket from an outdoors type shop. While there get a Buff or a regular scarf if you have not already got one to stop the wind flowing down from neck area. And if you have only light weight leather gloves then consider your options there. I have a light weight waterproof wind breaker gloves which double up if it rains (as I hate riding in bare hands or soggy gloves) and there are cheap decent items available – don’t only look in bike shops.
Well I didn’t really take many more photos as I came back via Lawrence and up the boring Pacific Highway which while brain numbing is the quickest.
Looking ahead now to when I can complete this ride I am thinking it will need to be after winter so perhaps towards the end of the year. Perhaps I shall revisit the beautiful Waterfall Way in the mean time for a weekender.