We’ve seen some stunning sights in the Scenic Rim over the last couple of years, and wanted to bring more of our friends here. There is too much to see in one day, so we spent a whole weekend exploring this wonderful place.
We stayed on the shores of the lake at Camp Moogerah. Some of us pitched a tent, some stayed in cabins, or cars. Others just came up for the day.
On Saturday morning, we rode out of the camp, and followed the picturesque shoreline of Lake Moogerah towards Mount Greville.
Forty bikes snaked along the quiet back roads towards the dirt: Mountain Bikes, Fat Bikes and even a couple of Cyclocross Bikes.
I love these sorts of rides. Dozens of happy, friendly people, in colorful clothes, all “in the moment”, all appreciating the beauty of the landscape.
It’s like a party on wheels.
After a short time on the road we hit the dirt near Munchows Crossing.
Because of the good water supply and flat terrain, this is a popular bush camp for long-distance trekkers on the Bicentennial National Trail.
Some of us splashed through – others dodged the deep sections and tip-toed over the rocks.
We all quickly got out of the way when a huge semi-trailer thundered through.
What was he doing out here? No one knew, but a few people suggested he stop the truck for a minute and let us use him as a temporary bridge.
He smiled and just drove on.
Our “peloton” rolled along quiet tracks behind Mount Greville.
Today was perfect riding weather – clouds kept the sun from burning us, and a gentle breeze kept the temperature reasonable.
There were riders of all abilities, but everyone kept together. Rides are more fun (and easier to manage) when the group doesn’t get too spread out.
Eventually we reached Spicers Gap Road and started the long slow climb up the hill.
It was steep. Some of us walked at times. Some of us pedaled, stopped and pedaled again.
I recited a poem to myself and pedaled to the rhythm.
It’s a long way to the top – almost ten kilometres.
Warren arrived early at the top on his cyclocross bike. It was strange to see him rolling around the bush on a road bike with drop-bars.
The view at the top was special. Through the humid haze we could see across the lake toward Mount Edwards. I was drenched in sweat from the climb and enjoyed the cool breeze on my damp jersey.
(Photo: Tony Ryan)
(Photo: Jason Reed)
This goanna lazed on the nearby rocks gazing out at the view, unfazed by our presence.
After a short break at the top, we rocketed back down the hill.
It took ages to descend the ten kilometres to the bottom. A couple of people got flat tyres.
The last section of the descent was long and straight. We could let go the brakes and enjoy the final rush at speed, with a clear view of the track ahead.
We all chilled out at the bottom waiting for everyone else to arrive.
(Photo: Jason Reed)
Unfortunately, Ian had a crash.
He had been carrying a jacket wrapped around his handlebars. The jacket slipped onto his front wheel as he sped down the hill, the wheel jammed, and he was thrown over the bars at speed.
By some amazing stroke of luck he survived with a minor concussion.
Darb was by his side in an instant to see if he was ok, and our wonderful support driver, Suzanne, was able to drive him to the hospital to get checked out.
We’re glad you’re ok, Ian!
As we rode back from Spicers Gap, one thing was on everyone’s mind: lunch. We had earned it.
We plummeted down the last steep hill before Mount Alford…
… and rolled into the local pub.
(Photos: Tony Ryan)
Local brewers Mike and Wendy Webster from Scenic Rim Brewery brought some of their famous beer for us to sample.
It went very well with a steak sandwich and chips, but by the end of lunch I was starting to feel quite sluggish.
The last section of our first-day’s ride took us up one last climb along Tunstall Road. With a full belly and tired legs I found it quite challenging. Justin kindly rode with me most of the way.
(Photo: Tony Ryan)
Ahh… soaking in the lake afterwards. Perfect!
Back at camp the rain gently started to fall.
We huddled under a few shelters and relaxed.
Luckily the rain stopped, and we were able to have a BBQ dinner together.
Everyone contributed something, and there was plenty for everyone.
Here’s Darb’s video of the day.
Day 1 stats:
65 kilometres in seven and a half hours including breaks. We climbed about 1,250 metres and I burned about 3,300 kcal.
The one-hour climb up to Spicers Gap in the humidity was the major challenge of the day.
I’ll rate this one 7 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
To simplify things, on the second day we started our ride from the Mount Alford Pub.
This would save us having to climb back up Tunstall Road, and would make it easier for people to get away at the end of the day.
Today we planned to visit Carney’s Creek. A shorter loop, but with rougher terrain it would be more challenging than yesterday’s ride.
We pointed the bikes southwards and followed Ganthorpe Road towards the farming district of Coochin.
After a few minutes we left the paved road and followed “Warwick Road” – an old road reserve which headed off towards the west. A few of us imagined from its name that perhaps this old track might have once been the route to Warwick, on the other side of the Great Divide.
Becca got a flat tyre.
Darb pumped it back up again for her while we watched and offered advice.
The reserve passed through a cattle property. The owners had kindly agreed to let us pass through.
Minto Crag jutted up behind us with strange-looking rock formations.
Before us lay rolling pastures of thick grass. This was cattle country at its best.
Malcolm, one of the farmers on the property, was waiting for us on his motor bike.
I greeted him. “Gee these pastures are looking pretty good, aren’t they?”
“Yeah. They look great at the moment,” he replied proudly.
He rode off on the motor bike and asked us to follow.
What a beautiful farm.
We followed the road for a while beside some lagoons near Teviot Brook.
Leaving the paved road again, we followed Broad Gully Road up into the hills.
Eventually the road ran out, and we followed a faint track through the grass.
We had to push in places, but the higher we climbed, the more impressive the views.
“Oh wow” I gasped.
Under the brooding clouds at the end of a hidden valley we could see up towards Teviot Falls.
The last part of our climb involved a bit of “hike a bike”.
Safely up on the ridge, we took a short break before rolling down the other side towards the road.
This fun detour had cut out about ten kilometres of paved road.
As any mountain biker will tell you – any detour that replaces tarmac with dirt is a good one.
From there we followed Chalk Road past the site of “Carney’s Camp” – an old lodging house built by Patrick Carney in 1859 to profit from gold miners who passed through on their way to the goldfields at Tooloom. Nothing remains of it today except one old stump, we didn’t see.
At the end of Chalk Road, we headed up the hill, following an old road called “Hells Cutting”.
It was steep and rocky. Hard enough for bikes, I wondered what it would be like trying to get a horse and cart up here.
It was a difficult climb, especially after the previous days ride.
Ah – so THIS is why it’s called “Hell’s Cutting” 🙂
The views at the top were breath-taking.
We sat by the side of an irrigation dam and soaked up the vista.
Peaks in every direction.
Suzanne waited for us at the summit in her car, with plenty of water to top us up.
Mike, who owned the farm next door, chatted with us about local history.
We cooled off in the shade while he talked.
We had done the hard work, now it was time to enjoy the quick descent.
I sighed with relief as the breeze cooled me down.
I wondered what secrets this old hut held, in the middle of a field under the mountains, beside a fascinating old road.
We slowly made our way back to the start along the paved road.
Mount Moon rose up ahead of us.
Then Minto Crag reappeared, showing us the way home.
Our final climb was up Dwyer Ridges Road. It’s steep in parts, and hurt my tired legs, but the promise of lunch helped me to keep turning the pedals.
Although shorter, this was a tougher ride, a bit more challenging because of the previous days efforts.
We rode fifty kilometres in five hours including breaks. During that time we climbed 930 metres and I burned 2,400 kcal.
This ride rates 8 out of 10 on the tough-0-meter. Maybe deduct half a point if you have fresh legs.
I’m very fortunate to have such friends.
Thanks to everyone who turned up and made this weekend so special.
Thanks especially to my regular riding buddies with whom I organized this weekend.
Let’s do this again!