Latest News from our local Bike Group: DUBBUG (Dorrigo Urunga Bellingen Bicycle Users Group).
February this year evidenced an awesome cycle tour to Sri Lanka, organised with our cousins, Bike Leichardt, from Sydney. This tour was weeks in the planning and partners were invited who didn’t cycle, as the cyclists would be supported by a 30 seater bus with a truck carrying our luggage and cycles.
February 3rd began with the arrival in Negombo to meet our fellow travel companions. We met our Guide: Ranjith – a Sri Lankan born Australian Cyclist from Sydney along with his team, convening with an informative gathering regarding our itinerary.
The following day we visited the local fish markets where we learnt about the drying of fish and visited the iconic St Mary’s Church with a tour of Negombo. We sorted our cycles in Colombo and met the greatest young mechanic who would escort us on our journey.
Day 2 we head out from Negombo riding to the Golden Temple of Dambulla staying in the Sundaras Resort and Spa. Braving the traffic on the first day was nerve wracking and coming to more country roads was a welcoming relief. By this stage we were getting to know how the drivers of Sri Lanka work! A relaxing swim in the pool attached to the Resort enabled us to draw our breath and sag thankfully into bed.
Day 3 We head out at 6am on the bikes. Climbing some 1,200 steps to the top of Sigiriya Rock, along with 1,200 other adventurers, was pretty special and a good warm up for lunch. At our lunch stop, bullock rides followed with a lake boat ride to a traditional Sri Lankan preparation and cooking session. We were definitely hooked on how good the local food is. After a tuk tuk ride out of this village, we just had enough time to participate in jeeps on an elephant safari to top off a great day.
Day 4 we are based at Polonnaruwa. We travel to the second most ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka, cycling around the site in awe of this World Heritage area. Rain ensued which was very refreshing, culminating in a huge smorgasboard of traditional Sri Lankan main courses and desserts and very full tummies 😊 . Along the way we picked up a new hairy recruit….or was it a hitchhiker?
On Day 5 we leave Polonnaruwa on the bikes and travel towards Triconmalee along dirt roads with plenty of opportunity for photos for our enthusiastic crew! We had become clever little spotters of wildlife now and had bonded with our companions with plenty of laughter and stories to be shared over a bumpy bus ride.
Day 6 our stay at Trinconmalee was varied and relaxing. We took a boat ride out to Pidgeon Island where we had a lovely time snorkelling except for some very uncomfortable jelly fish stings. On returning to shore we chill’d on the beach, caught a few waves and had some amazing local Buffalo Curd and Honey. (Needless to say some of us are sourcing the buffalo milk once we were back home). We journeyed to the Dutch Fort and strode around another amazing Hindu Temple witnessing a religious ceremony in progress.
Day 7 we head to Ella. As the locals call it-Beautiful Ella. It was ED’s (Dave’s) birthday but the group declined to let him slacken up from the cardio! ….lots of walking to the Nine Arches bridge, little Adam’s Peak and an awesome yoga session to stretch those aching muscles! (Yes we can all work on increasing our flexibility especially of our hamstrings!). Dinner was so much fun – great food, great prices & most importantly, great company. As a very special treat, there was a lovely bunch of coconuts for dessert.
Day 8 was a big bus day! We travel from Ella to Mirissa on the south coast. We broke our journey with a rainforest walk at Sinharaja Forest Reserve where we were advised to acquire some very flattering Leech Socks which I’m sure we can use again- if not for Christmas Stockings!
At Mirissa we “endured” some R & R to recover from the bus rides, eating, shopping and some much needed beach time. This was to be the final night that the whole group would be together and thus we finished the night with a fabulous farewell seafood dinner on the beach.
Day 10 we head from Mirissa to Colombo. We bargained with the Weligama stilt fisherman for photos (and even posed with them – much to their dismay), visited Galle and continued up to Colombo. By this time 4 of our group had left us, realisation setting in that our holiday would soon be over.
Day 11 was a shopping day for those who wished in Colombo. Tuk Tuk rides are always adrenaline-charged in Sri Lanka and numbers of our group visited the impressive Red Mosque. The Old Dutch Market was checked out and a refreshing faluda enjoyed (a strawberry milkshake that was cheaper than a coffee).
Our stay in Sri Lanka kept us on our toes, was certainly varied, interesting and informative and planned to absorb as much of the Sri Lankan culture as possible. Friendships were made that will last a lifetime.
If you would like to stay connected or join us on our rides please visit us: www.dubbug.org.au and/or
Editorial by Monica, pictures from ED.