19/2/2012 Report

This Sunday’s ride from Urunga was destined for Garden Mania, a café and nursery just south of Coffs Harbour, not far as the crow flies along the Pacific Highway. But cyclists are not crows, although most of the bikes are bright and shiny, and there was an hour and a half between our departure time and opening time at the café, so we added some hills and took a round about way to make sure we didn’t get there too early.

The start from Urunga BP at 7.30 had nine of us striking up the highway with minimal traffic and a cool breeze at our backs. We didn’t seem to have as many of the usual suspects – no George H. or George S., nor Allan B. or Graham or even Phil. Off on other adventures, it seems; we look forward to having them back soon. It just wasn’t the same without them, although Herb helped make up for their lack.

Not long on the highway and we switched over to the Old Pacific Highway, picking up Alan F along the way. We could have sworn there was some sort of cycling event on, as group after group of cyclists passed us going south. A few of us commented that we’d never seen so many on a Sunday morning. It was great to see so many others out enjoying the beautiful conditions.

After a little more than 20km on the Old Highway, we did a couple of kilometres on the new Highway before heading left at the petrol station at South Boambee, and then wending our way through the steep hills of Middle Boambee. At one point just about everyone was out of the saddle; luckily it wasn’t a long stretch. We arrived at our destination and sank gratefully into the deep cushions of the café chairs. There’s nothing like a bike seat to make you appreciate a little padding. The scones hot out of the oven and the smiling, friendly staff were fantastic too.

The trip out was 26km; the trip back was 22km and much faster as we went straight down the Pacific Highway. Riders Bruce, Steve, Ian and Peter cycled to their homes in Sawtell, Toormina and Boambee instead of returning to Urunga, while Alan left us at Waterfall Way. A new rider, Chris, sat behind Mike and they both helped drag Colleen along, averaging about 31km/hr. Betty and Herb brought up the rear.

There is a choice of two rides next Sunday: Either drive to Dorrigo and meet at the Top Pub at 8am, then ride to Tibbs Tree and back for coffee (50km), or meet at Urunga BP at 7.30 for a ride to Bellingen along South Arm Road, have coffee and return via North Bank Road (50km). Both are medium difficulty. The group will ride as usual on Wednesday and Friday at 7.30 from Urunga BP. Call George S. on 6568 2115 for more information.