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Racing, riding and adventure by bike

Woy Woy to Kiama

What is a really terrible idea the day for a fit fat middle aged man with a dodgy back to do before a multi day fatbike ride? Yes, you guessed it – spend the day chasing B-rad and Cjell around the lumpy central coast trails on my fatbike. Never the less, I was excited to have a few days off, we were both planning on being in 2 Woy at the same time – so it made sense in my mind cogs.

We had an awesome day out on the bike. We rode some old favourite trails, had some lunch time beers – then rode more old favourite trails along with some newly added stuff that really blew my hair back! Unfortunately for me, the wind resistance caused by my hair blowing around resulted in a full leg melt down and i ground to a halt which called an end to the days pedalling. Thankfully – B-rad and Cjell were also pretty hosed and were good sports about heading back to the car sooner than was originally expected.

With nothing else to do that evening but wait for Timmy to turn up so we could start our latest fatpacking ride, i was left with little other option than to drink beer in the park and read a book in the afternoon sunshine – oh what a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

Of course, beers in the park soon turned into beers at the pub when Timmy arrived, so we spent a couple of hours hydrating with ‘sports drink’ before setting out in search of a stealth bivvy near the Wagstaffe Ferry.  Not being a central coast local and after sufficient sports drink to interfere with my internal Tom Tom, the best route option i could come up with involved a god awful push up the same damn hill that had hurt me earlier in the day. Needless to say there was a blinding flash, a small mushroom cloud and full body revolt which ensured that we didn’t make it to our initial campsite option at Tallows beach. However the trail gods delivered a timely piece of flat, grassy ground only minutes before my toys were scheduled to be thrown from the pram.

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The next morning saw the ever ‘pleasant’ application of day 2 knicks before a quick roll down the hill brought us up at the ferry with enough time for breakfast at the corner store. We took the Palm Beach ferry across to Sydney’s northern beaches and proceeded to become very sad for the next 2 hours as we were dealt a series of quick sand beaches and brutal climbs that left us drowning in our own funk and severely disenfranchised with any beach north of Narrabeen. Oompa loompa, spray tan orange, sand of sadness.

Waiting for the ferry

Waiting for the ferry

 

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So Soft, so orange

 

Attempting to pinch flat

Attempting to pinch flat

 

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4 Pines: Bikes and beers

 

Ferry ride

Ferry ride

 

Things improved from there though and we picked up some fattie friendly beaches before a quick swim at Freshwater, which saw us still manage to make Manly by middayish. Of course, it’s the home of the 4 pines brewery – so we thought it best to have some lunch and some more sports drink before hopping the Manly ferry. We then changed ferry’s and doubled back to Rose Bay before riding to Bondi. We didn’t really expect to be able to ride along Bondi beach incident free, between the logjam of humanity that normally resides there and the 20 million lifeguards trying to keep them from drowning each other, we were expecting some kind of issue. Surprisingly however, we just did our quick lap along the beach and kept riding south incident free.

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Bondi

Next we rode Tamarama which was utterly pointless (given it is about 40m wide) but seemed like an idea at the time, before Bronte and then stopping off at the Coogee Pavillion for some more hydration. Shortly thereafter we had the expected encounter with the red and yellow fun police (read lifeguards) on Coogee beach who felt we probably shouldn’t be there. Fair enough, our tyres had touched sand so i’m happy to say we rode it and we performed the walk of shame off the beach before yet more road riding to stop in at Maroubra.

Then it was the dreaded roadie grind around Botany bay which involved us playing in traffic in the tunnel under the airport, which apparently some roadies do for fun each weekend but i will be refusing to partake in again. From there it was a mix of cycleways etc before hitting Brighton Le-sands and some more time on the beach. By now a howling tail wind had kicked up, so we were jamming along and were in Cronulla in no-time.

We were about 20 minutes too late for make the last Ferry across to Bundeena, so we attempted to find a watering hole befitting of our combined aroma however there is a distinct lack of low end pubs in that part of the world and had to make do with the Hogs Breath Cafe where we continued hydrating and our ongoing consumption of atherosclerosis inducing food-stuffs. We called it an early night, grabbed a takeaway beer from the bottle shop and rustled up an undisclosed stealthy bivvy spot and settled in for the night after roughly 100k’s for the day.

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The next morning saw a quick stop at a cafe to continue our ongoing barrage of questions from middle aged men about our bikes, where we are going, what pressures we were running, what we were using them for etc etc etc…..

We made the first Bundeena ferry and then set off through Royal National Park, in glorious sunshine, on a Sunday morning….. meaning it was PACKED. Again, from what i can see, it seems that roadies ride here for fun purely based on the dozens of riders I witnessed. It is undoubtably a gorgeous route through some stunning scenery, the only problem being the hundreds of cars and motorbikes on a narrow winding rode with zero shoulder. Particularly with a loaded, auto-steering fatty that is constantly trying to throw you into oncoming traffic. If i was to recommend when to ride in here – pick another time other than Sunday morning.  It was a tough ride through there on a heavy bike, but i was relieved to make it through in one piece (unlike the poor roadie i saw in the recovery position after over cooking a corner into a rock wall) and I finally get to ride the sea cliff bridge which i have been wanting to do for a while.

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Bundeena Ferry

Bundeena Ferry

 

Chasing roadies

Chasing roadies

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Seacliffe bridge

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Random single track shortcut

 

 

A bit more roadie work saw us stumble upon Scarborough hotel, where we stopped briefly before finally touching sand for the day somewhere near Coledale? I don’t know, it all looks the same really, but the tide was low, the tail wind had kicked in and we were smashing along. We grabbed a sandwich for lunch and i foolishly picked the smoked salmon. It was amazing – best thing i’ve eaten in a long time. The only problem being the resultant “smoked salmon go slow” that ensued. I first encountered this problem with Chad on the Gibber trail years earlier and it re-emerged to remind me that salmon is not a race food.

 

Scarborough

Scarborough

Random radness

Random radness

So i grovelled my way through it as Timmy smashed away off the front and before we knew it, were were in Woolongong and it was only just after 2pm. So we kept jamming along cycleways following the Google Maps and overruling it’s ridiculous suggestions frequently <insert sarcasm: Sure, lets just ride through the middle of a steel mill>. In no time flat we had made it around Port Kembla and were again enjoying the tail wind along sand.

Port Kembla/Mordor

Port Kembla/Mordor

By 4:30 we were in Shellharbour and the Ocean Beach Hotel was calling our name. So we settled in for the night, drank beer, ate food and watched as the light slowly faded and swapped stories and generally did things that drunk people do at pubs. We called it a night just after 9pm and moved to another undisclosed stealth bivvy location in close proximity, where I spent a restless night watching the stars and enjoying the radness of our bivvy spot.

Stealth

Stealth

The wind swung overnight into a savage headwind (as was forecast) so we were thankful we didn’t have far to go, and my day legs were no-where to be seen. Uphill into a headwind was the order of the day and we crawled along roads and cycleways with one token beach section (which was so soft it brought a tear to my eye) before getting within sight of Kiama after a long climb, only to discover the cycleway was closed and we had to double back and re-climb hills i was in no shape to be climbing.

You shall not pass

You shall not pass

Anyway, eventually we made it to Kiama. We ate food, it was good. We drank coffee, it was good. We hopped the train back to 2 Woy and the journey was complete. It was rad. Despite being some of the worst sections of coast line for fat biking, it was still a rad trip and my tally of coastline ridden continues to grow. Thus far – it stands at everything from Kiama to Coffs Harbour.

Thanks Timmy for jagging some time off work to go for a ride. Thanks B-rad and Cjell for dragging my sorry arse around some rad trails. Thanks Surly for making one rad bike and thanks Huey for the tail winds.  Oh, and Timmy scored 2x KOM’s on a 27kg fat bike for anyone that really cares 😉

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