“Brisbane Chicks Who Ride Bikes” is an online community of over 1,400 women cyclists in the Brisbane area. A few months ago I was honored to be one of few men invited to join their community. Today I tagged along on one of their mountain bike rides in Samford State Forest (colloquially known as “Ironbark” in the MTB community).
We started from the Ironbark Car Park and followed a couple of trails adjacent to Samford Road before heading up the hill into the forest. Ironbark is on the slopes of the Samford Range – so once you leave the main road, you have to ride uphill.
These chicks are strong riders. I was grateful that they waited for me to catch up at the top of most of the hills.
At the top of “Threeways” we had some fun on a large mound of dirt in the middle of the intersection. Veronica even went back a second time when I was too slow to pull the camera out 🙂
My friend and riding buddy Becca was riding with us today. She’s nine-months pregnant, and is still a strong hill climber. We all think that in a couple of days it’s possible that her baby will arrive into the world already pedalling.
My worries about delivering babies on the trail were allayed when I found out that one of the other riders, Claire, was a nurse.
After some of the crashes I’ve had (and seen) on recent rides, I think you can never have too many health professionals with you on a ride 🙂
We followed the twisty “Pipeline” single track along the contour on the side of the range. In some places the terrain drops off steeply, and it’s fun to look down and see riders coming down the second half of the track below in the opposite direction.
Under the power lines, “Pipeline” track did a U-Turn and we returned along the lower section of the track.
While we had a short break, Veronica showed me how to ride along the top of a log.
We then followed more single tracks back towards the western end of forest.
“Humpty” is a strange name for a single track until you ride it. With a few sharp bumps and a tricky rock garden it made me grateful I was not made of egg-shells.
Susie made it look easy.
We crossed busy Samford Road, then followed the power lines down towards the western end of the rail trail.
This track drops steeply into a couple of creek beds, then rises sharply out the other side. If you keep your speed up it’s possible to roll in and out of the creek crossings without having to do much work on the way up. The views to the west were impressive, too.
A lot of changes are happening to the rail trail. Rather than follow it back to the start we decided to ride the road for a while and pop into Samford for some coffee.
For some of its length, Camp Mountain Road follows the path of the old railway line, so the slopes are quite gentle.
But Mountain Bikers prefer dirt over tar, so we took a slight detour down Coonan Road, following some pony trails into town.
Since it was a public holiday most shops were closed. Thankfully we found the only open cafe in town, and enjoyed some morning tea.
After a leisurely break we jumped back on the bikes for the final leg of our ride.
Strava tells me I set a new personal record for this section – which is probably due to the new smooth surface.
The Rail Trail is now paved. Some riders may like this, but many mountain bikers prefer the old dirt track.
Leaving the rail trail we rolled under the main road back to the cars.
Thank you to Jenny, Karen, Paula, Susie, Veronica, Phil, Claire and Becca for letting me join in the fun.
All up we rode just under 30km in about 4 hours, including breaks.
This was an enjoyable, easy ride – perfect for the steamy lazy after-Christmas weather.
I’ll rate it 6 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Max elevation: 215 m
Min elevation: 61 m
Total climbing: 815 m
Total descent: -816 m
Average speed: 17.40 km/h
Total time: 03:50:16