I have sat on this long enough and have decided to write about this particular ride as I feel it is one I would like to do again but with a different finish point. I started this ride on the 24th of September. I packed the Giant Iguana touring bike with panniers of clothing and some other gear and headed off. I followed my usual route to Goulburn. I followed the Federal Highway to Collector and had lunch at the Daily Pie. I then rode into Breadalbane and from there rode to the Hume Highway and on to the South Goulburn Caravan Park where I had booked a cabin for the night.
When I got to the caravan park I got talking to some of the various “Grey Nomads”, that dropped into the van park in their mobile homes. I was quite happy to have a cabin, it was looking like rain and I was able to unpack the bike and ride into the town and get some supplies before heading back to the cabin. Goulburn is a town where I have cycled to before – like my home town Lithgow it is the last stop on a City Rail train line. I settled in to the cabin for the night and got myself ready for the Goulburn Cycle Grand Prix the next morning.
During the night it rained quite heavily. When the morning came around I got myself ready for the Cycle Grand Prix. I had signed up the night before and was ready for the ride. I made sure that I was prepared for the wet weather and the cold. I had my arm and leg warmers and had mudguards fitted on the bike. I filled up the water bottles and rolled out to the park at Eastgrove where the ride was due to begin. On the way there was a brief shower. I had a feeling that it was not going to be an easy ride. I got to the park and collected my start number. There was a charity called Abbeyfield that was selling bricks to a home for the disabled for $50. I bought a brick and got talking to some riders from the ACT who came up especially for the event. One couple had driven the route and found that there was a section of gravel/dirt. They thought that my bike was well prepared for this with mudguards and wide tyres.
When the ride got underway we were hit with a head wind. The conditions of the ride were that the 25 km point had to be reached by a certain time after which the riders were to be directed onto the 50 kilometer course. The head wind made riding difficult. Combined with the cold and the rain it made going tough. As a result I fell further behind the ride leaders. I reached the 25 km point at Windallama and was turned around for the 50 km ride. The ride back to Goulburn was easy but there were crashes caused by cross winds and terrible road conditions. I got back to the caravan park worse for wear. I got myself settled down watching a doco on ABC 1 on Pink Floyd and did a bit of reading about the next part of the ride. The rain became heavy and I wound up settling in the cabin and abandoning a plan to go out and have a meal in town.
The next day I packed the bike and checked out. The noise from the highway was noticeable and I put it down to the fact that this day was a monday and trucks were moving goods to shops in time for today. I rode along the Hume Highway shoulder and was allowed into the barricaded area on the shoulder at a point where there were some road works. There was a point where I had to dismount and walk the bike over a bridge which had no shoulder. I eventually rode to Carrick Road which I turned down to avoid some road works near Marulan which had closed the shoulder.
As I went along Carrick road the noise from the highway fell away. The road was mostly good until I got to a point where the road became dirt. At this point the going got slow and I road with increased caution. I was overtaken by a couple of vehicles but had no trouble from the drivers. I eventually got to Brayton Road where the road became sealed again. I was able to ride on to Marulan having bypassed the road works. I had a brief look around the township before heading off onto the Hume Highway shoulder.
I took the Hume Highway shoulder onto the Highlands Way. I crossed the Hume Highway and rode the Highlands way through the villages of Tallong, Penrose and Wingello onto Bundanoon. At one stage I was attacked by a magpie but made it through the ride without incident. When I got to Bundanoon, I dropped into the Olde Bicycle Shoppe cafe and had lunch. I got talking to some of the staff about places to stay and decided on the YHA. I got a map of the area and headed off to the YHA. Bundanoon is the first town in Australia which banned the sale of bottled water. If you need water you can get it from some of the bubblers in the main street. It is a beautiful town and has a lot of heritage. The Southern Highlands remind me a lot about the Blue Mountains and Bundanoon is no exception.
I got to the YHA and checked in. I initially thought I would have the room to myself but it turned out I wound up sharing it with an old man from South Australia who was on his way to Sydney. I went into town and got myself some food for that nights dinner and breakfast the following day. I wound up talking to some of the other guests including a mother and son from Victoria who were on their way to Sydney. I got myself to bed and set my alarm for an early get away.
When I woke up the following morning I got the bike ready and had breakfast. I read over the book of cycling tours by Neil Irvine and prepared myself for a ride through the Southern Highlands. I went back to the Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe and got some photos of the mural. I then headed back on to the Highlands way and went through the township of Exeter and on to Sutton Forest, where I took the Illawarra Highway on to Moss Vale. I followed the Illawarra Highway to Burradoo and into Mittagong. The road became busy with school holiday traffic and I found myself riding through some busy areas.
I got to Bowral and consulted the book for the ride route. I wound up bypassing the highway with some back streets. I was tempted to go to the Bradman Museum but the traffic put me off. I eventually found my way to Mittagong and onto the old Hume Highway. After some mucking around I eventually found myself on the Freeway where I turned off and went into the township of Hilltop. I enjoyed the rollicking descent through the Glenelg National Park The road was calm and there wasn’t much in the way of traffic. I had lunch in Colo Vale and was asked by one of the shop assistants in the bakery if I was going to do the Razor Back Range. I had limited time to do the ride and told them I would pass on that. I eventually got back onto the road and found myself riding through bush and small villages. The thing that stuck in my mind was how Sydney was sprawling out even in these areas.
As I approached Piction I found myself climbing a steep climb, I had a minor problem with a gear change and had issues climbing. I eventually had a rollicking ride into Picton. I had some trouble finding the railway station. I found it only after asking a guy who was delivering papers. I crossed a pick a plank bridge and found the railway station. I bought a ticket for Springwood and took the train to Liverpool, where I took the Liverpool to Parramatta railtrail to avoid the peak hour charge for bikes. I got to Parramatta and took the mountains train to Springwood where I rode to Ruth’s Place.