Glasshouse 2017

We’ve organized many fun rides in the Glasshouse Mountains over the last few years.  But today we let someone else do the hard organizational work, and tagged along.

About twenty-five of us turned up for the ride, organized by my friend Clare.

Most of the riders were members of Caloundra Off Road Cycling Association, with a few visitors (like me) from Bushrangers Mountain Bike Club.

We all gathered round while Clare outlined her plans for the day.


And then we were off!

A couple of dozen excited mountain bikers rolled onto the red Glasshouse clay and headed west towards Woodford.

This vast area contains many ecosystems.

As we rode under the brooding gaze of Mount Tibrogargan, we passed through a shady grove of Casuarinas…

The terrain then opened up into rolling hills of plantation forests, with long straight gravel roads dividing them.


The Glasshouse region is famous for its unending pine forests.  If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s very easy to get lost.

Natalie had problems with her gears.

Q. “How many mountain bikers does it take to fix a bike?”

A. Twenty-five.  One to do the repairs, and twenty-four to stand close by and offer advice and a running commentary.


With the repairs completed, we rode up a steep hill towards the lookout.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Legend has it that a bloke named Rick once rode up this hill without having to get off.

Rick wasn’t around today, so we all pushed instead.

It was a relief to get to the top, but that relief was temporary…

The final push to the lookout was on the paved road, and it was very steep too.

We all took a quick break at the lookout to enjoy the view, catch our breath…

… and capture a few memories.  Group rides like this are a lot of fun, and worth remembering.

Clare didn’t let us rest too long.  She moved us on again after about fifteen minutes.

Darb and I joked about how brief the rest was, but secretly we admired her organizational skills.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

While I struggled up another steep hill, the Starship Enterprise beamed some crew up from the top of Mount Coonowrin.

No one noticed.

After a couple of kilometres we left the busy gravel road to Woodford and bounced down some steep rutted trails under the power lines.

It was fun going down, but challenging to pedal up the last steep pinch climb.

Jason powered past the walkers and showed us how to work the pedals.

The powerline track spat us out at Hennessey Hill – an exciting downhill track.  We all followed the trail at our own pace.

Some rolled over the jumps, some flew.

Surprisingly, we all survived.  There were no broken bones, only a few bruises.

From the bottom of the downhill track we followed more shady trails through the pine trees.

With the perky twin peaks of Tunbubudla behind us, we struggled up another steep red clay hill.  Some walked…

…some powered up.

Most of us walked around the big red muddy puddles, but Anthony plowed through unscathed.

We repeated this process a few times.

Up the steep bits, down again, round the puddles, through the trees…

(Photo: Jason Grant)

The final hill was nasty.

Kaye and Sonja powered past me.

Anthony appeared to ride it with an effortless grace.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Ian grit his teeth and nailed the hill too.

Well done ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s always a good feeling to take on a tough hill and win.

Good on ya, Sonja ๐Ÿ™‚

As our group rode through the forest tracks, we spread out.  There was at least a kilometre between first and last rider.

To make sure no one got lost, the stronger riders waited by the intersections to direct traffic in the right direction.

From time to time, the lead riders would wait and let everyone catch up…

…then we’d start moving again.

In muddy sections you often are faced with a dilemma.

Do you tiptoe around the puddles and try to avoid the mud and water?

(This can sometimes be dangerous when you try to jump between logs or rocks)

…or do you just bravely bite the bullet like Kaye, and wade in?

I think Kaye had the right idea.  Unlike the nursery rhyme, she wasn’t made of sugar and didn’t dissolve.

Don’t forget to clean your hubs, Kaye!

Woodford grew near.  We felt hungry as we worked our way up one of the few remaining hills.

Jason pointed us in the right direction.

“Woodford’s that way, folks!”

We dodged a couple more puddles in a small grove of paper barks, and emerged magically in Woodford.

I didn’t say much, but grunted with pleasure as I inhaled a BLT.


We split up and roamed through town to different cafes, like hungry cattle in a large paddock, looking for food.

A short time later, Clare rounded up the well-fed cattle and led us back into the bush for more riding.

We rolled effortlessly along straight flat single tracks, beneath tall shady trees.

This was a gentle way to get back into the ride after a lazy lunch.

We took another quick break while everyone gingerly stepped over a barbed wire fence…

…then continued our ride towards Mount Beerwah.

For the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with a second camera dangling from my bike seat.  It faces backwards takes random photos every fifteen seconds.

Anthony asked me about it.

Ahh – so this was what you were doing after I told you, Anthony?

As we climbed “Trig Hill” I looked south along the powerline tracks we had briefly ridden earlier in the day.

The Glasshouse Mountains Region is like a huge playground for people who like to get outdoors.

You don’t realize how big it is till you get to some of the high points.

We rolled down from “Trig Hill” towards the “Secret Single Track”.

This twisty section of narrow track snakes through the forest for about five kilometres.

We all rode through, dodging ruts and branches.

It’s fun, but as we neared the five kilometre mark, most of us started to feel tired.

As we climbed out of the forest, Clare pointed us in the right direction.

We bumped down a rough gravel road as we continued towards Mount Beerwah.

The largest of the Glasshouse Mountains, she loomed over us as we neared.

Adam ran out of water.

He decided this would be a good time to test out his “Life Straw“.

He stuck it in some muddy water, sucked on the other end, and….

“Hey it works!”

The Life Straw cleaned the gunk out of the water.  Adam was able to have a clean drink.

We were all impressed.

We continued our slow slog towards our second lookout of the day.

Everyone stopped to soak up the panorama.


It was hard work to get to this spot, but once we saw the view, no one complained.

Simon pretended to lean up against Mount Coonowrin.

We were soon moving again, down a bumpy track towards the paved road.

Mount Tibrogargan hunched over in the distance.

That’s where we were going.

We rolled down Mount Beerwah Road.

It was downhill most of the way.  We enjoyed the cool breeze as we coasted towards home.

Most of us felt tired.

Our cars were parked on the other side of the mountain.  We ignored tired legs, and worked hard for the last couple of kilometres.

As we rode back through the Casuarinas we relaxed.

Mission accomplished!

The views were great, but the best part of this ride was the people we got to ride with.

This was a day long party on wheels with a wonderful bunch of riding buddies.

Even better – I was a participant rather than an organizer.

Thanks Clare – I had a great day!

Total distance: 62.01 km
Max elevation: 250 m
Min elevation: 27 m
Total climbing: 1377 m
Total descent: -1328 m
Average speed: 15.23 km/h
Total Time: 07:41:17
More data

We rode just over sixty kilometres in almost eight hours.

This was a physically challenging ride, especially considering the warmer Spring temperatures.

I’ll rate it 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks everyone for a great day!

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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