Although we’ve ridden on Bribie Island many times, the continually changing tides and seasons make each visit a different experience.
You have to work with the tides when you ride on the beach. Today the low tide was around mid-morning. This meant we needed to leave early, on the falling tide, to make sure we didn’t have to battle an incoming tide later in the day.
With the late Autumn sun low in the sky, we headed north on a deserted beach, our tyres humming on the hard sand.
Everyone loves the beach. You can’t help but smile and relax while you enjoy the hiss of the waves, the clear horizons, and sand stretching off endlessly into the distance.
With the gentle wind at our backs, we settled into an easy rhythm and chatted as we rode. There were no complex course plans for today. We’d simply follow a straight line along the beach for 30 kilometres to the northern tip of the island, then retrace our steps.
Halfway up the island we passed the ruins of “Fort Bribie”…
During the Second World War, the army built these bunkers to guard against a sea-borne enemy attack on Brisbane via Moreton Bay.
There are decaying bunkers and gun placements on a few of the larger islands in the bay. After seventy years, they’re slowly crumbling.
The ruins reminded me of Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” about an ancient civilization that also built grand structures in the sand.
Eventually the sand always wins, and the mighty inevitably despair.
We passed the northern navigation beacon, its light shining brightly out to sea. The buildings of Caloundra, once bumps on a distant horizon slowly grew clearer and closer.
From our tranquil position on one side of the passage we looked across at a bustling seaside holiday city.
It was so close.
We parked the bikes for a few minutes and enjoyed a brief snack on the sand.
The tide had bottomed out. We decided not to wait around too long. We now had a headwind, and the waves would be slowly creeping up the beach. We didn’t want to get caught out, and started our return trip.
The same beach can appear so different depending on the tide. The receding water had left small lagoons in the sand and myriads of little shells.
The lagoons presented a challenge. We didn’t want to get too much salt-water on the bikes, but the run-off from large pools of sea water made small streams in the sand that we had to ride through.
It was inevitable that we’d get salt water on the bikes. I made a mental note to give my bike a good wash afterwards.
As the headwind picked up, we stuck in a tight single-file, drafting off Eric. He sheltered us from the oncoming breeze which made it easier for us to pedal.
Of course, if you have a huge bus there’s no need to worry about headwinds!
I think Eric, Calum and I didn’t envy them at all. We were happy to be outside exerting ourselves.
There were lots of different birds enjoying the waves.
This Oystercatcher was busily searching for lunch. I didn’t notice it at the time, but it had an identification band on its left leg.
Silver gulls hovered over our shoulders, and glided just in front of us, matching our speed.
Perhaps they thought we were strangely shaped birds gliding down the beach on wheel-shaped wings?
Back at Woorim we pointed the bikes into the softer sand to exit the beach.
Even fat bikes have difficulty riding through soft sand. I hopped off and pushed, and admired Calum’s skill at staying upright as his wheels spun.
Max elevation: 5 m
Min elevation: -10 m
Total climbing: 278 m
Total descent: -280 m
Average speed: 15.42 km/h
Total Time: 04:32:51
We rode 60 kilometres in four and a half hours including breaks.
During that time I burned about 1,600 kcal.
Since we rode on the water’s edge, there was no elevation gain, but there was also no downhill sections. We had to pedal all the way – it felt similar to riding continually up a gentle hill.
In these mild conditions, I’ll rate this ride 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. Add an extra 1.5 if you ride it in the heat of summer.
If you plan to do this ride, allow five hours, and leave about two and a half hours before the low tide.
Thanks Eric and Calum for another fun day out on the bikes!