After last weeks easy “stroll” on wheels, we wanted a more challenging ride which would also allow Darb and Russel to maximize their mileage in October as part of their fundraising efforts. So we headed up into the D’Aguilar Range towards Enoggera Reservoir.
Seven of us started in Samford and rode out along some quiet roads towards Camp Mountain.
McLeans Road South is reasonably steep. As Russel and I relaxed, turning the pedals at a steady pace, a bunch of younger and fitter riders rushed past us.
“Hey – you guys must be doping. No one can ride that fast!” I joked as they overtook us.
Perhaps if I was more competitive I would have given chase, but I was happy to enjoy the day and watch the young whippets leave us in their wake.
At the top of the hill, my friend Dean joined us. He had ridden from Chapel Hill on the other side of Mount Coot-tha.
Dean once said to me that sometimes at the end of a big ride he feels disappointed that it has to come to an end. He loves to ride, and I hoped today’s effort wouldn’t disappoint him.
We followed “Link Road” south around the back of Camp Mountain. On the horizon, the spires of the TV stations poked out from the top of Mount Coot-tha. We snatched quick glimpses of the great views while rolling down the hill.
Eventually we reached the top of “Dive Bomb” – a steep track which drops down the side of the mountain under the power lines. We teetered on the edge before the descent…
…then shot down the hill…
… zipping over the dry creek bed at the bottom.
In the brief respite of some flat shady terrain by a quiet creek, I though how fortunate I was to be able to explore so many beautiful places with good friends each week.
Eventually we climbed back up the hill and joined the road out of Bellbird Grove. Here my friend Becca joined us. Now there were nine of us.
Rather than ride on the paved road we followed a hidden trail that my friend Neil “Bangers” Bang had told us about. The last track Bangers showed me ended up being unofficially dubbed “Banger’s mates track”. So we all thought it appropriate that this one should be called “Banger’s mates other track”. Thanks for the great info, Bangers – we love some of the tracks you’ve told us about.
We crossed Mount Nebo Road onto Holmans Break.
Dean muttered some words of caution.
“That’s a steep track. If you go down there you’ll have a big climb up the other side”
Left to my own devices I probably would have made the mistake of following the power-lines like Dean had warned me about. But Bangers had given us helpful instructions, so we knew to avoid the descent to our right and follow Nebo Break ahead of us.
It was steep in places – I had to get off and walk in one spot. But thankfully it was all downhill. It wouldn’t have been much fun pushing bikes up these hills.
Enoggera Dam was built in 1866 – the first major dam in the new state of Queensland, and the second major dam ever built in Australia.
The young town of Brisbane had water supply problems, and a dam on Enoggera Creek near The Gap seemed the most suitable because it was in a relatively unpopulated area, close to the city, and at a reasonably high elevation with hills on most sides. Enoggera Creek is fed by a number of smaller creeks and could provide a reliable source of water.
But Brisbane’s burgeoning population soon outgrew the capacity of the new dam, and another dam was approved – this time on Gold Creek: several kilometres to the west and higher in the D’Aguilar Range.
We stopped on the banks of Enoggera Creek for a quick break in the shade.
From here our course snaked along the shoreline to the dam wall.
Despite its proximity to the water, the fire trail undulated frequently, forcing us to pedal hard up short pinch climbs, then roll down the other side.
On the far shore I spotted a large tract of Hoop Pine (Auraucaria) forest. From the visitors centre, the “Araucaria” track passes through a small specimen of what used to be a vast forest of these magnificent conifers. Hoop pines once covered large areas of South East Queensland before early European settlers harvested most of them for their fine wood.
Our roller-coaster ride along the shoreline trail ended at the dam wall.
Time for another quick break.
In the distance, a solitary tower stood on Enoggera Hill.
The Brisbane suburb known as “The Gap” is named after a narrow pass between Enoggera Hill and Mount Coot-tha. This “gap” allows Enoggera Creek (and the Waterworks Road) to flow eastwards.
Although I’d love to ride to its summit, Enoggera Hill is on land owned by the Australian Army, so if I ventured up there on my bike I’d probably end up in big trouble : )
Enoggera Dam wall is also the starting point of South Boundary Road.
Mountain Bikers love this dirt road which allows off-road travel from The Gap to Mount Nebo and beyond. It’s like a “free-way to adventure” for anyone who loves outdoor exploration and opens up the unending forests of D’Aguilar National Park which stretch from here all the way to Somerset Dam.
It’s also mostly uphill.
If you want to enjoy riding a bike, get used to hills!
The dam slowly dropped away on our right as we rode upwards.
We all climbed at our own pace – long hills tend to stretch riding groups out.
At the top of one knoll we had a great view of Flinders Peak on the horizon to the south of Ipswich.
Rather than follow South Boundary Road all the way to Mount Nebo, we turned eastwards and started back down the hill towards Enoggera Creek.
Centre Road is like a big “V”. It descends steeply to the Creek, then climbs sharply back up the other side.
It only took us a couple of minutes to reach the causeway at the bottom…
… but it took a lot longer to ride up the other side.
After a short stint along busy Mount Nebo Road we pointed our bikes towards the summit of Camp Mountain.
No matter which way you approach Camp Mountain there’s a gruelling ascent involved.
But the views from the top are always worth it.
Today we could easily make out the odd-shaped peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains, almost 70 kilometres north of us.
After a short rest at the top, we rocketed down the “Short Side” of Camp Mountain. It’s the steepest way down, and the most fun.
Russell’s bike leapt off the water-bars as he plummeted downwards.
At the bottom of Camp Mountain we followed the rail trail back towards Samford.
Today’s ride covered almost 45 kilometres in just over five hours (including breaks). During that time we climbed just over 1,400 metres in vertical ascent, and I burned about 2,700 kcal.
I’ll rate this one 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Total climbing: 1711 m
Average temperature: 21
Total time: 05:11:17
Thanks Darb, Russel, Jason, Calum, Simon, Russell, Dean and Becca for a fun day out!