On Sunday, a quick check of the weather radar indicated no rain so apparently a perfect day to venture towards Thora as a practise lead up to the Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge in August. However, the Bellinger Valley was shrouded in something not quite a mist and not quite a drizzle – Mark coined it a “mizzle”. Those at Urunga changed the cycling plans as it was apparent the day could unfold with wet roads and wet jerseys. Instead it was decided to travel North Bank Road to Bellingen – a route that took us past numerous dairys and made sure to leave a dark brown streak running up the back of our clean jackets.
Phil, our “not” official ride leader, rang ahead to change our coffee booking at No. 5 Church St to an earlier time. We stripped off our slighty stained jackets (and ED his blue, bike matching, leggings) and were joined by Al & Bev with towels in tow. Fortunately they weren’t needed and whilst there was a brief change in the conditions towards rain, none of us really noticed. Penny & Rick indulged in an “all day breakfast”, and ED gave Bello Don a hard time for choosing to run a health & wellbeing seminar next door instead of joining the ride. Pete, a ring-in from a southern state who chose to wear disco arm warmers, indulged in the Bello atmosphere & Mark complained about how he may have overdone it with the house cleaning whilst Vicki is away. By the time we departed the sun had peaked out, making for ideal conditions to climb out past the hospital along South Arm Road.
South Arm Road is a perfect bicycle challenge and the road is in relatively good nick, compared to North Bank Road. Freshly washed, it unfortunately made for treacherous conditions under the new highway bridge going over the Kalang River, where it had turned into mud, fouling up the brakes on those unlucky enough to be on road bikes (all except Pete).
We had discussions on the Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge, the opening of the Urunga bypass on 2 August, and the condition of the roads in the Bellingen area, from a safety perspective. We felt that it would be better to have the small section of South Arm Road, under the new Kalang river bridge, quickly sealed and usable for the challenge rather than going out and back along Waterfall Way to Thora. We noted that North Bank was quite broken up, especially at the bottom of just about every hill, but was still a great cycling option. Perhaps the best idea, after the imminent opening of the bypass, is to have the 100km Coffs Challenge continue on the Old Pacific Highway to Valla & return.
Next week’s Dorrigo Urunga Bellingen Bicycle Users Group (DUBBUG) ride is an easy cycle to visit another iconic Coffs Harbour attraction, the Butterfly House. You can be sure, with ED being the designated ride leader, it will have a fun twist. Details and starting time is on the website at www.dubbug.org.au We invite you to bring a friend and come along – a splendid way to keep yourself feeling good, have a laugh and join in great company.