DUBBUG Ride Report
16 September 2012
There are two DUBBUG rides to report on: one group took advantage of the warming weather and based themselves at the Hat Head Caravan Park for four days (Thursday to Sunday) for day cycles around the Macleay Valley; the other group stuck to the usual Sunday ride, but headed south so they could meet up with a couple of the returning Hat Headers.
The Hat Headers: Allan B. and wife Bev, Don and wife Margaret and sister-in-law Ann, Liz and Robert, Mike and Colleen, Herb, Phil and Ron, in a range of accommodation from caravans to van to tents.
Phil took the prize for longest cycle – he racked up a 200km round trip from outside Urunga to Hat Head carrying all he needed for the four days in his 22kg panniers. Mike was the second longest cycle tourist – he headed out from Scotts Head on the Thursday to meet up with Phil for the cycle down, travelling considerably lighter than Phil as Colleen followed in the car with all their camping gear.
Thursday evening the sky clouded over, the thunder and lightning rolled in and the wind whipped the tents into a frenzy just before everyone went to the bowling club for dinner. A light rain greeted us afterwards, but we made it back to camp before the heavy rain and wind set in. The next morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but the wind was chilly and it stayed with us all day.
The group ride on Friday took us to Gladstone via the Kincella Creek loop, a total of 50km (approx) round trip. With 11 of us, all at different speeds and on different bikes from road bikes to hybrids, we ended up strung out along the Hat Head road. For Margaret, it was the longest cycle she’d ever done, so congratulations! It was also a bit of a milestone for Ron, who in his 80s was the oldest cyclist on the trip. Not sure how he’d pull up after such a long cycle, he was really pleased that all went well and he did the roundtrip to Gladstone in good time. The chilly wind made it was a hard slog back to Hat Head.
Saturday saw our numbers slightly drop as Margaret and Ann decided to walk along the beautiful Hat Head coast instead of cycle, and Ron took a break from the saddle as well. This day’s ride was slightly longer – again through Gladstone and then up 15km along the Belmore River and back down the other side – a total of about 60km. This road had one or two cars in the time we were on it, and we even passed a motorized vehicle (a very slow tractor!) Another stupendous morning tea at the Gladstone Old Lodge Café and Gallery, with Lumberjack Cake the hands down favorite and then we headed back to Hat Head for lunch, with only one puncture on the way – the only one for the entire weekend.
Sunday was our return day. Those riders who had vehicles accompanied Phil and Mike out to the South West Rocks Road and then returned to camp to pack up and head home the easy way.
The Sunday Riders (George S., Deb, Betty Anne, Tim and Steve) left Nambucca Visitor Information Centre and headed south to meet up with Phil and Mike, finding them just three kilometres north of the petrol station at Clybucca. The Sunday Riders talked the two Hat Headers into turning around and joining them for morning tea at the roadhouse and then the whole group cycled north to Macksville for another round of refreshments, with Mike peeling off at Scotts Head road to return home.
The trip to this point had been uneventful, but Tim managed to provide a bit of drama with first a puncture and then the total failure of his electronic gear system as he cycled between Macksville and Nambucca. Luckily George had hopped into his car and was following behind to make sure all was well, being the great ride leader he is. Bike problems are annoying for most of us, but for Tim, whose bike is his only mode of transport, it’s more than an annoyance and we wish him well in getting his bike fixed so he is mobile once more.
There is a choice of two rides next weekend – the Nana Glen tour, a “hard” ride from Urunga along the Pacific Highway to Coffs and out the other side to climb the hill to Bruxner Park, then on to Nana Glen where we stop for coffee and then return along Eastbank Road to Coffs and then Urunga. Deb is leading an alternate, less difficult/long ride out to Bellingen along South Arm and back along North Bank. Both rides start at 8am at the BP Urunga. Call George Smith on 6568 2115 for more information. The usual Wednesday and Friday rides will start from the BP at 8am.