Over The Bars

Neil at Helipad
Today’s ride took us through some of the most scenic country in South East Queensland. Although it was cut short by an unpleasant injury, we were able to find some enjoyable tracks that might form part of a fun social ride in the near future.

Rosewood Aratula Road
We started at Aratula on the Cunningham Highway and headed west towards the towering mountain ranges along a quiet paved road.

Farm Track
Rather than stick to the paved road, we took a detour beside a farm paddock along an old road reserve towards Warrill Creek.

Warrill Creek
I’m always surprised at how many pretty spots like this can be found just a few hundred metres from the road. On this cold winter morning we were keen to keep our feet dry as we splashed through the shallow crossing over Warrill Creek.

Farm Track

After climbing out of the creek we followed the dirt track beside more paddocks towards the mountains. Apart from curious cattle, you don’t have to worry about dodging traffic when riding on farm tracks – I enjoyed the opportunity to soak up the views.

The Great Divide

Campsite Road is spectacular. We stopped at the top of the road to enjoy the panorama.

Creek Crossing

Although it’s officially named a “Road”, Campsite Road is more of a rough horse track. We followed it over a couple of creek crossings to the camp site.

Cunningham Campsite Memorial

If it was good enough for Cunningham to camp here 1828, we decided it would also be a perfect spot for us to have a quick bite to eat.

Bovine Single Track

A trail maker pointed south across a paddock. We followed it along some bovine single tracks towards Simmonds Road. Cows make great tracks – if you’re riding across a field and are not sure where to go, follow the cattle!

BNT Gate

A friendly yellow BNT marker adorned a small gate in the fence. We passed through and followed the rough track south towards the highway.


Like many “Roads” around here, Dickfoss Rd was merely a faint track through the grass – perfect for horses and mountain bikes!

Up in the Hills

We drew quite close to the highway. We could have jumped the fence and followed the main road up the hill, but we decided instead to avoid the traffic and follow the a fencline up the hill.

Trial Meets Highway
Trail meets Highway

Eventually our trail met the highway, where we crossed and followed the track on the other side.

Banger Memorial

We stopped at the “Banger” memorial for lunch. With a picnic table and breathtaking views in every direction, you couldn’t get a more spectacular rest-stop.

Banger Memorial

We don’t know who “Banger” was, but he is obviously held in high regard by the people who return every year to remember him.

Top of the World

We stopped for one final scan of the horizon before the rough ride down the hill.

Man Down

And then it happened.

I must have been too busy enjoying the wonderful view of the mountains.

My wheel got stuck in a rut, it turned sharply, and I fell over the handlebars.

I landed on my shoulder, banged my head and broke my clavicle (collar bone).

I didn’t realize it was broken at the time, and was perfectly prepared to get back on the bike and keep riding.

Neils Misadventure
(Video: Tony Ryan)

See if you can hear what Darb thought of my suggestion to keep going πŸ™‚

Riding Buddies

We decided to cut the ride short. I couldn’t really go any further.

Becca and Russell made a sling for me, while Eric, Darb and Jason rode back to the cars.

We slowly made our way back up the hill to wait for them.

Helipad, Cunningham's Gap

Luckily there was a Helipad right across the road from where we were sitting. To make it easier for the cars to retrieve us, we waited at the Helipad. I dreamed of a rescue chopper thwacking through the air to come and get me. In reality it was Eric in his 4WD.

Before we had to abandon the ride we rode just over 21km in about 4 hours, with about 500m of climbing. If you ignore the crash, I’d probably rate this one about 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. There’s a bit of paddock bashing, and a few steep hills to walk up, but it’s reasonably easy. But, even on easy rides, things can go wrong, so it’s important to have good riding buddies.

Under the Fence

I have some wonderful riding buddies. Sometimes they just open a gate, or hold up the barbed wire for me, or help me fix the bike on the trail. Sometimes they save my bacon, and help me when I’m hurt, or prevent me from hurting myself any further.

Thanks Becca, Eric, Darb, Paul, Jason and Russel. I love riding with you guys, and hope I can rejoin you soon.

UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s full video of the ride.

Aratula 2015-08-08 from Darb Ryan on Vimeo.

Total distance: 22.13 km
Max elevation: 385 m
Min elevation: 113 m
Total climbing: 712 m
Total descent: -462 m
Average speed: 13.54 km/h
Total time: 03:50:41
More data

8 Replies to “Over The Bars”

  1. Even busted it’s a good write up!! Hope that clavicle is going well and behaving and to think of it the body & mind attached to it too!!
    Cheers Ian

  2. Get better soon Neil. I’m looking forward to making it out to a social one of these days. By the way, that Banger memorial is for a bloke who died in a motorcycle crash in 1978. He was a member of the Vagabonds Motorcycle Club, thus the VFFV (Vagabonds Forever, Forever Vagabonds) at the top.

  3. Your in good hands with that crew Neil. Good bunch.
    Hope this one doesn’t keep you off the bike as long as the last injury.

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