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2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018 - Your Short Tours
 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 1/27/2013
at 6:50:03 AM
viewed 3694 times
Short tours are great for those of us who can only spare a few days from our busy schedules to spend on a cycling tour ... or for those of us who want to do a quick exploration of the area where we live, or an area we want to learn more about ... and for those who want to test equipment, bicycle setup, etc.

When you go on a short hub-and-spoke tour, weekend tour, long weekend tour, maybe even a week-long tour, or something similar, tell us about it here.

Where did you go? What did you see along the way? Would you recommend the area? What sort of accommodation did you use? What kind of bicycle did you ride? Did you learn anything new?


What short tours do you have planned for 2018?
thread edited on 3/18/2018 at 8:28:59 AM

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/16/2016
at 12:05:03 AM
post #21 viewed 622 times
There are two times available to go across to Maria Island on the ferry, 9 am (and I knew we weren't going to make that) and 3:30 pm (so I booked that one ... 2 adults, 2 bicycles). Passengers are, of course, walk-on only because there are no motor vehicles allowed. However, we are allowed to bring bicycles or rent bicycles. They have a fleet of black step-through bicycles available for rent ($25/day), but we opted to bring our Bike Fridays complete with new knobby tires which Rowan installed last week.
Bike Maria | Maria Island Ferry

We loaded up and made the crossing with about 15 other people on a bright, sunny and warm day. The crossing is about 30 minutes ... a little wavy (ginger is a good thing), but also scenic, as there is a good view of the island on the way over. When we arrived, we reattached our panniers etc., while some of the hikers made use of large wagons lined up at the dock to transport their things approx. half a km to the penitentiary or campground. Visitors to the island need to be reasonably fit since they do not have access to motor vehicles.

After checking in at the Visitor's Information centre located in one of the few remaining historic buildings on the island, we cycled to the campground and set up. Then we cycled up and over the hill to the Painted Cliffs. They are beautiful! As I mentioned before, Google Maria Island Painted Cliffs and you'll see. Next time we go, I would like to explore them more.

The Painted Cliffs aren't very far but the ride took us a lot longer than we thought, so we began reconsidering the idea of cycling to the far south of the island. However, the knobby tires Rowan installed onto our Bike Fridays were quite appropriate for the conditions. I just need to become a bit more confident with mountain biking skills.

When we got back, as mentioned above, our tent was surrounded by wildlife! Yes, of course I took photos!!

That night we went to sleep to the roar and crash of the waves at the nearby beach. Besides the sounds of the ocean and rustles of the wild life, it was very quiet. No traffic noise. No hum of appliances. It was also very dark in the campground because the camp kitchen and amenities block do not have lights, nor are there lights throughout the campground ... no electricity. Without the usual light pollution, the stars looked bright and huge.

We had a lazy morning, and then decided to do a hiking/cycling loop around the north end of the island instead of the southern trek. I am glad we made that decision ... I loved it up there. Mountain views, huge waves, and a certain remoteness and barrenness, I felt very comfortable and at home with.

We had a bit of time to spare before the return ferry, and the weather had set in (windy chilly drizzle), so we had lunch and then explored some of the other buildings ... the museum, and a few of the others.

And then we were homeward-bound on the ferry again.


We'd like to go back and spend longer there. I went over wondering what on earth people would do over there with more than one day, and came back realising that the number of hikes and rides a person could do might take a week. Plus it was nice to get away ... no phone, no computer, no traffic, very few people ... just nature.


Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-bb/albums/72157660554742114/page4
(Starting with photos titled 27Feb16 ... starting with a photo of a Cape Barren Goose!)
post edited on 3/16/2016 at 12:14:06 AM

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/18/2018
at 8:29:56 AM
post #22 viewed 431 times
Victorian Adventure I
Our Victorian Adventure started with a 200 km randonnee (Audax Event) on Sunday 18 February.

BNB 200K - Hot Hot Hot

We decided to do our first 200 kilometre Audax cycling event, since the one we did in Canada in June 2017, on mainland Australia in Victoria. As some of you know, our cycling club is Audax Australia, and Audax cycling or Randonneuring is timed ultradistance cycling. Some of our events are a bit shorter 50 km or 100 km ... those are often warm-up events early in the season, or winter events later in the season. But then the bigger events start with the 200 km distance, and go up from there.



This particular event is called a 200K but that's a minimum designation. They can be a bit longer than that, and this one was 215 kilometres. But whatever the distance, it still has to be completed in 13 hours and 30 minutes.

We've cycled some of the roads included on this event before, so we had some idea what to expect, but we've done it under cooler conditions. This ended up being a very hot ride!! Our on-bike thermometers were recording over 40C out there on the road in the sun and the recorded high (always recorded in the shade) was 33C. Fortunately, the clouds did gather toward the end of the day, and the last 50 kilometres were somewhat cooler ... with a threatening storm and a decent tailwind!

Splice (pineapple, lime and vanilla ice cream) and mango ice cream bars really hit the spot, as did lots of cold coke.

There were so many birds ... living in Tasmania, I miss the melodic magpies of the mainland. And there was one large kangaroo who hopped out into the middle of the road, looked at us, and then hopped back into the bush.

One little event stands out … one of those, "you just have to laugh" moments … 1.5 km from the end of the ride, we were stopped by a flag man for road construction. We could almost see the finish! We wanted to finish!! But there we had to wait until it was our turn to go. The flag man was nice about it, and let us go a bit earlier than the cars who were also waiting to give us a head start.

Distance: 215.47 km

Elevation: 1,484 m

Moving Time: 10:55:56

Elapsed Time: 12:34:18

Speed: Avg: 19.7 km/h | Max: 49.7 km/h



A word about equipment ...

We were on our Touring Bicycles rather than our usual distance bicycles because we were planning a little tour in the coming week. Our Touring Bicycles tend to be slightly slower because of their geometry and weight so I am pleased we made it with nearly an hour to spare.

Because we were planning to do both a randonnee and a tour on a gravel rail trail, we brought two sets of tyres … 700x28 slicks and 700x32 tyres with tread. Rowan spent a lot of time changing tyres in just a few days!!

I need new shoes!! My feet are killing me. I got this pair of cycling shoes before my arthritis got as bad as it is, and as a result of the arthritis, my feet are wider. But the shoes are very narrow. In addition, my feet swell when riding long distances and in the heat. I did loosen the worst shoe off part way through the ride, but the damage had been done by then.

BTW - in case you wondered - I put a lot of weight on my feet when I ride.





Monday 19 February was a recovery day. We did do a little bit of walking around Bendigo and Melbourne, but generally took it easy. Except for a flurry of activity about 4 pm. In a matter of minutes, we had to pull up in front of our hotel, off-load everything, check in, haul it all up to our room, and then hop back into the car, get it filled up, and return it. Whew! And then we could relax.



See Victorian Adventure II for more!!

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/18/2018
at 8:30:49 AM
post #23 viewed 430 times
Victorian Adventure II
Great Victorian Rail Trail Tour – Tuesday 20 Feb to Saturday 24 Feb

https://www.greatvictorianrailtrail.com.au/

On Tuesday morning, we rolled our bicycles out of the hotel and into the Southern Cross Railway station. There we caught the train to Tallarook, the start of the Great Victorian Rail Trail. For the next 5 days we would not have a car and would depend upon our bicycles to get around.

This tour was a little bit unusual. Usually, I plan the start location of tours and then we go where the wind blows us. I don’t book ahead or plan much more than a day or two in advance. However on this tour, I had everything planned and booked because we not only wanted to tour, we wanted to accomplish something.

A number of years ago, we lived in the area of the Great Victorian Rail Trail and it was finished shortly before we left. We did have the opportunity to cycle portions of it, but had never cycled the whole thing. On this occasion, we wanted to cycle the whole of the Great Victorian Rail Trail to see what it was like and to be able to say we had done it. Therefore I divided the route into 5 days, and booked accommodations accordingly.

Because we had just done a long ride on the weekend, I planned that our first couple days would be a little lighter … shorter rides. Then the next couple days would be a bit longer, and finally the last day would be a shorter one again.

I took the distances from the map below … but discovered as we went along, that they aren’t exact. In fact, not only are the distances on the map a little bit off, there were kilometre markers all along the way, and they weren’t always right either. More on that later!



Day 1: Tallarook to Yea (40 km)

Day 2: Yea to Alexandra (38 km)

Day 3: Alexandra to Mansfield (75 km)

Day 4: Mansfield to Yea (80 km)

Day 5: Yea to Tallarook (40 km)



When we left Tallarook, we didn’t start at the official beginning. But we did find our way onto the trail a few metres from the start. This started an ongoing theme of the ride … the lack of signage. From the train station, there is a sign pointing to "Rail Trail" but it wasn’t clear whether we were to turn left at the first road (which we did) and join the trail there, or get onto the main road and join the trail there.

The trail between Tallarook and Yea was in decent condition, but did require that we pay attention because there were a number of soft spots and tree debris. We noticed that maintenance crews were out, so it was good to see that the trail was still being looked after. The surface is a light, somewhat sandy gravel – light in texture, but also in colour. Because the sun was shining brilliantly, I had to switch to my sunglasses before too long. The somewhat sandy texture also meant that I had to keep my distance from Rowan and I was glad of the mudguards. From time to time, his bicycle would kick up little clouds of dust.

The route wasn’t overly difficult or long, but I think because we were still recovering from Sunday’s ride and because we were still getting used to the heat, by the time we got closer to Yea, I was beginning to wonder whose bright idea this had been … and was beginning to question the wisdom of a tour of this nature right on the heels of a long event.

Just before we arrived in Yea, we decided to stop at the ice cream shop we used to frequent when we lived in the area. Unfortunately, when we got into town, we discovered it was gone. And although there are a collection of bakeries and take-aways, what we wanted was ice cream. We ended up at the IGA, consuming more Splice and mango ice cream bars!

And then we checked into a lovely cabin in the Yea Riverside Caravan Park. This park looks better than it used to and the cabin we were in, as well as a few others near it, appeared to be brand new. Plus it had air conditioning!!

So while I did enjoy the fact that it was another gorgeously hot summer day -- up to 37C on the trail, but a bit lower than that in the shade – it was also lovely to relax in the air conditioning and watch the winter Olympics.

A little later we walked into town to have dinner, then did something we had not done in the time we lived in this area … we visited the Yea Wetlands! It was lovely in there with lots of birds and one brown snake. Poisonous, of course.

Distance: 40.26 km

Elevation: 333 m

Moving Time: 2:50:11

Elapsed Time: 3:57:48

Speed: Avg: 14.2 km/h | Max: 26.6 km/h

Plus, a 3.6 km walk.

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/18/2018
at 8:31:25 AM
post #24 viewed 429 times
Day 2 of the tour ended up being three rides for a total of 63.4 km. First, we set off for Alexandra, approximately 38 km away on a cooler morning.

The route took us gradually uphill to the Cheviot Tunnel, a long abandoned train tunnel. It is quite an interesting feature on the route, and because it is a long tunnel, you’re in complete darkness soon after cycling in. So lights are recommended! Poor Rowan’s light wasn’t working quite right so he did most of it in the dark. I also found that, even with the light showing me what was in front of me, I needed to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel in order to continue to ride in a straight line. A person could use that as a metaphor for struggles in life!

The next route highlight was the Eglinton Cutting near Alexandra with a view out to Cathedral Mountain and Torbreck. It was so nice to see that view again!

Then we descended into Alexandra. Good ol’ Alexandra. We’ve missed that town! We spent a bit of time cycling around and walking up and down the main street checking out what was the same and what has changed. After lunch, we went to see some friends … so good to see everyone again!!

From there we dropped our stuff off at our cabin, and then went for our second ride of the day out our familiar "usual route". Couldn’t go back into the area again and not visit one of our favourite cycling routes!!

Later, we went for our third ride to visit our friends, Simone and Ross, and check out their ‘boat house’. Last time we had been in the area, it was partially built. It’s pretty much finished now, and is beautiful! Ross built the house using traditional techniques, including mortise and tenon joins in all the timberwork and including dowels to keep it all together. And the walls are mud brick. It’s very impressive. It was also very nice to sit on their deck, overlooked by kangaroos and overlooking their view on a warm summer evening and catch up.



Day 3 looked a bit threatening when we set off in the morning, as though it might rain. Instead, it was just very overcast, very muggy, and very warm.

Back up and over Eglinton Cutting with a brief stop for another look at the view, and onward to Yarck. There we stopped at another friend, Sandy’s, place for a lovely visit. One highlight while there was that I tried my hand at spinning wool … with a spinning wheel! It’s a bit like patting one’s head while rubbing one’s tummy. It would take a bit of practice to get on to it.

From there the trail climbed steadily for approximately 20 km to Merton … and it was definitely time for ice cream when we got to Merton! We're using our touring bicycles with a bit of a load on these days so uphills are slow going. After Merton the vegetation changed from all eucalypts to some pine trees lining the paths and dropping orange needles everywhere. Last time we cycled there, we saw some impressively large red mushrooms and I watched for them, but didn’t see any. Must be the wrong season.

Next, we came to Lake Eildon. We had been told it was down to about 60% and it looked it. We whisked through Bonnie Doon, hardly noticing it. This was another place that could have done with more signage from that side. Nevertheless, a highlight of this portion of the trail is the long cycling bridge across a section of Lake Eildon.

I mentioned earlier that there were kilometre markers all along the way, and they weren’t always right. This was one of the spots where we noticed quite a difference … it was as though Mansfield was slowly moving away from us!

However, eventually we did get into Mansfield and were soon cooling off on the deck of our cabin, drinking coffee, listening to the magpies sing as they walk around and the Olympics on TV in the cabin. Later that evening we walked into town and while looking for something to eat, came across a pub having a Mexican week. What luck! My favourite food!!

And then we took the opportunity to do laundry.

Since the trail at this end is a darker gravel/chert, and since it was still fairly warm and humid, what you can't see in the photo below is that my legs are covered in a dark dust/dirt which puffs up when we cycle through it, and sticks to my sweaty legs.

Distance: 80.74 km

Elevation: 566 m

Moving Time: 5:22:20

Elapsed Time: 7:44:58

Speed: Avg: 15.0 km/h | Max: 27.7 km/h

Plus, a 1.6 km walk.

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/18/2018
at 8:33:12 AM
post #25 viewed 428 times
Day 4
Rowan had been carrying cereal till now, but it was all gone, so we decided to go out for breakfast for our last couple days on the trail and that was a good way to start our longest day on the trail. And it was another hot, muggy, overcast day. But we are enjoying summer!! We don't get much of a summer back in Tasmania.

Since we had made it to the end of the rail trail yesterday, we were now heading back, the first trail highlight was, of course, the bridge over Lake Eildon! This time, when we cycled through Bonnie Doon, we did notice some signage pointing to the business area. So it is there, but we do think it could be more obvious throughout the trail.

The next highlight was the descent to Yarck. That was nice!!

Then the climb up to the Cheviot Tunnel again. This climb seemed long, but it’s possible I was a little tired from all the cycling lately. It was good when we got to the top, and it was cool and dark inside the tunnel. And the descent down into Yea was great! Partway down we met another couple who were climbing up. They were already a bit tired, but I guess they had something of a headwind and they were also carrying quite a bit more than we were.

We were into Yea in no time, and of course stopped for ice cream. Yep, fuelled by ice cream on this trip!

Back into the same lovely cabin again … that’s one thing about doing these out-and-backs, you get to know the people running the caravan parks a little bit. And this evening we walked to one of the restaurants I had wanted to visit when we lived in this area. I don’t know why we never went there before, but this seemed like a good opportunity and the food was good.

Distance: 87.66 km
Elevation: 461 m
Moving Time: 5:25:02
Elapsed Time: 7:35:10
Speed: Avg: 16.2 km/h | Max: 32.4 km/h
Plus, a 1.4 km walk.


On the last day we went out to breakfast to another place I’d heard about when we lived here, but had never been to. This was a trip of doing things we had meant to do but never had the opportunity to do before. While there, a number of cyclists came and went. Because it was a Saturday, it appeared we would have more company on the trail.

Day 5 was a short day again, and our last day on the trail. The trail at this end doesn't have as nice a surface as the rest. It's more gravelly and soft so it made for a bit more work. Also, although it looked like it was going to rain at any moment, it was hot and humid.

Because we were hot and thought a cold drink would be nice, we decided to stop at a hotel we used to see when we drove into Melbourne. A few years ago, it was a beautiful, historical, busy place that served lunches and teas and all sorts. But now, it looks half abandoned, and they certainly weren't serving lunches. We went in any way to get something to drink and were sold two cans of coke for ... wait for it ... $12!! I check Trip Advisor, and it looks like the place started to go downhill about 2 years ago. That's sad.

But much of the trail follows the Goulburn River so it's scenic. And before long, we were back in Tallarook where we started.

We were there well in time to catch the early train back into Melbourne when an announcement came that it was cancelled. Oh dear. When they cancel trains, they replace them with coaches but coaches don't take bicycles. Our only choice was to wait for the next train and hope it would turn up.

Meanwhile a couple came to the station house, after a bit, we started chatting with them. Apparently, they rent the place as a "holiday home" because they like trains and like getting out into the country. And the town likes to have them there because they come out every couple weeks keep the place up so it looks nice. He told us all sorts of things about the history of the station ... very interesting.

Our train did come and we were on our way to Melbourne. That evening, we went for a walk to look for a place to eat and found a lovely little "alleyway" lined with restaurants and chose a great Italian place. Lots of atmosphere ... people watching, music, and all.

It felt a little odd to be finished. We were just getting into the swing of things and wish we could keep going for another week. It was a much-needed break. Both of us have been so busy ... it was nice to just have one thing to do each day: cycle. Also, it is so good to get off the island every so often.

Distance: 40.40 km
Elevation: 329m
Moving Time: 2:45:03
Elapsed Time: 4:45:32
Speed: Avg: 14.7 km/h | Max: 25.6 km/h
Plus, a 2.4 km walk.

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/18/2018
at 8:33:47 AM
post #26 viewed 427 times
In Summary
Rowan and I had a good week of cycling!! Plus, we actually had some summer!!

On the Sunday we cycled a 200 km randonnee (215.5 km!!) ... a timed long distance event.

Then between Tuesday and Saturday we cycled the Great Vic torian Rail Trail as a cycling tour: https://www.greatvictorianrailtrail.com.au/

We did a bit extra on the Wednesday so all up, we cycled 312.4 on that cycling tour.

In total: 527.9 km in a week!!


Lots of photos starting with the ones on 20Feb17:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-bb/albums/72157691209134945/page1
post edited on 3/18/2018 at 8:34:36 AM

 ptsbike member offline
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927 9,000 mi
Lifetime: 91,355 mi
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Home: Jonesborough, TN 
Orbea Orca Gain
Road bike
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Tri-Cities Road Club
posted 3/18/2018
at 6:59:32 PM
post #27 viewed 421 times
In total: 527.9 km in a week!!


Lots of photos starting with the ones on 20Feb17:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-bb/albums/72157691209134945/page1
-- posted by Machka

That looks like a very interesting ride. Mostly gravel?

 Machka member offline
Lifetime: 56,991 mi
Member No. 1789
Member since: Mar 2004
Home: State: Tasmania, Australia 
Thorn Club Tour
Touring Road bike
Audax Australia - Victoria
posted 3/19/2018
at 4:26:45 AM
post #28 viewed 416 times
In total: 527.9 km in a week!!


Lots of photos starting with the ones on 20Feb17:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-bb/albums/72157691209134945/page1
-- posted by Machka


That looks like a very interesting ride. Mostly gravel?
-- posted by ptsbike

The 200K we did on the Sunday was on the road, but the rest of the week was on a rail trail. The rail trail was light gravel or chert. The light gravel had its challenges, but the chert was a bit better.

We brought road tires for the 200K, then left them in a small bag at the hotel where we started and finished and changed to wider tires with more tread for the rail trail.
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