Today’s adventure traced out a loop from Pine Mountain to Walloon following rail trails and railway lines for most of the way.
Becca is about two-thirds of the way through her pregnancy, so we decided to play it safe and ride reasonably close to civilization. I was driving Darb’s car, so it would be easy to help if anything went wrong.
I caught up with them again just before the entry to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) on Pine Mountain Road.
I realized this was going to be a “cat and mouse” kind of day as I rushed off in the car to the next meeting point while the riders happily rolled through quiet farmland…
We’ve ridden other parts of the BVRT many times, but this section has been a bit of a mystery to us. It links Ipswich to Wanora – just south of Fernvale. I love adding new trails to my mental map – it opens up many possibilities for exciting new rides.
Trains used to follow this course, so the trail is quite flat. Gates were the only major “obstacles”. It’s the perfect place for an easy non-demanding sort of ride.
This was a strange game. I stood by the side of the railway line like a passenger on the platform, waiting in hope for a long-gone train.
Instead of trains, happy mountain bikers rolled by.
Other unusual “passengers” waited by the side of the track too.
We left the rail trail at Wanora. This involved jumping a gate.
Becca’s bike was so light that it almost floated out of Simon’s hands as he passed it over the gate.
I decided not to risk injuring my shoulder any further and rolled under the fence rather than trying to climb the gate.
Office Lane is a rough road reserve that runs west from the rail trail. The thick undergrowth was a stark contrast from the wide flat trails we had left behind.
I reassured my friends as they headed off into the scrub: “It will be fine. I’ve done it before. It’s a bit rough, but it gets better.”
It was easy for me to offer reassurance – I was driving a car on smooth roads 🙂
The undergrowth did thin out, but the track was quite steep in places.
Eventually Office Lane morphed into a respectable dirt road, with some good views of Flinders Peak to the south.
It was the perfect spot for a short break.
After a short roll on along the paved road we bumped down Coach Lane. This rough track has several deep ruts running through it, which makes finding a good line challenging. Everyone got through ok.
We’ve ridden this road many times, and at this point we would normally follow the gravel roads to Walloon, but today I thought we should make a slight detour…
Noble “Road” is another delightful misnomer. Although it’s called a road, it’s really just a cattle track through the scrub.
We ended up out the back of a farm. I jogged along behind the riders while they slowly rode to let me keep up with them.
Once I returned to the car, I drove off to the Haigslea cemetery, to wait for my friends and continue our cat-and-mouse game.
They were never too far behind me.
Walloon was now quite close. We had planned to go around it, keeping to dirt tracks, but the thought of some coffee and cake was too tempting. It didn’t take much effort to convince everyone to take a short rest break in town.
The trail followed the railway line east, back towards Ipswich, through some pleasant bushland.
It got a bit steep out the back of Karrabin.
Meanwhile, back in the car, I got a bit lost. I’m not familiar with Ipswich and ended up a long way from my riding buddies. I phoned Darb and organized a new meeting point.
The riders eventually re-joined the BVRT at its starting point near Wulkuraka. It hasn’t really been officially opened, so it’s a little bit rough in places.
The remnants of the old railway line snaked northwards between the suburban backyards of Brassal.
Meanwhile I waited for my friends in the shade of the highway overpass, near Blacksoil. I’ve driven over this bridge many times, and shot a quick glance down the railway line as it blurred past. Now I was actually standing on it.
Once again my friends slowed down so we could amble along together at the same speed and talk.
We agreed this was a great piece of track, and would come in handy on future rides.
The final leg of our journey took us back up to Pine Mountain.
This was a much more direct route for the riders. I ended up getting lost again while driving the car, and got back after the bikes.
My friends reckon this ride should rate 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. It’s mostly flat, with one or two steep little pinches.
Strategically it’s very useful because for several reasons:
1. It offers an off-road way to get from Walloon to Ipswich,
2. It provides an alternative ending point for our Epic rides over the D’Aguilar Range to Fernvale. We could follow the BVRT south to Ipswich rather than ending at Walloon,
3. It provides easy access from Ipswich to the BVRT.
I’m excited about this, because it’s quite easy to ride a bike from Brisbane to Ipswich via bike paths. (If you’re feeling lazy, you could even catch a train). Once on the BVRT it’s possible to ride north to Yarraman, and then join the Bicentennial National Trail which covers the entire continent – north to south. The possibilities are limitless.
Thanks Darb, Becca and Simon for a fun day out.
Here’s the route the riders took:
Max elevation: 107 m
Min elevation: 29 m
Total climbing: 824 m
Total descent: -810 m
Average speed: 17.02 km/h
Total time: 04:49:52
Here’s the route I took in the car:
Max elevation: 131 m
Min elevation: -142 m
Total climbing: 3622 m
Total descent: -3770 m
Average speed: 45.26 km/h
Total time: 04:48:16