Munda Biddi Bike Ride 2008
Early in 2008 the Group's resident Ideas Man Mick came up with a plan to ride the Munda Biddi Bike Trail from Mundaring to Collie - a distance of approximately 330km. The recommended time frame for this ride is around nine days and so Mick figured seven days would be plenty of time to do it in. He then approached the Group's resident Support Crew Co-ordinator and Planning Expert Roger, and between them planning started. This involved a couple of practice rides on sections of the Trail to ensure participants knew what they were in for. A Bugger Badge was earned by Bill on one of these rides which left no-one in any doubt about what lay ahead. Roger assembled a support crew of Group members to drive vehicles, carry food, water, tents and other essentials as well as help erect tents and cook the food along the way. A final planning meeting for all riders and support crew was held at the Clubhouse and all was in place for the ride.
And so it was that on Sunday 6th April nine riders and six support crew assembled at Sculpture Park in Mundaring for the start of what would be a week of adventure, fun, and for both groups, a stern test of their endurance, willpower and stamina. Although the weather looked threatening the rain stayed away giving the riders ideal conditions with cool temperatures and a damp but compacted track for the first day.
Day One left most of the riders wondering what the hell Mick had gotten them in to. George being the strongest rider, assumed the lead position and apart from a few missed signs and detours did an excellent job throughout the week. Gary looked the part on his wife's bike complete with pink bell. 42km later nine very tired cyclists arrived at Carinyah Campsite where the support crew had already set up camp and greeted us with icy cold beers to help rejuvenate our flagging minds and bodies.
Day Two was to be the longest of the ride with 62km covered. Roger and Lionel met the riders at several points along the way replenishing water bottles and offering words of encouragement such as 'your all ****ing mad'. I found this the toughest day due to the long distance and the still aching muscles from day one. We left Carinyah around 0800 and finally arrived in Jarrahdale at approximately 1600. Again the weather was fine and the track very hilly with a few nice long downhill sections. Ricko was forced to retire from the ride with crook knees and joined the support crew. Both George and Kevin had a few mechanical problems with their bikes which were sorted next day after a drive to a bike shop by the Support Crew. Roger had organised dormitory accommodation at the Environmental Centre which was just as well as it bucketed down with rain that night - it was to be the heaviest rain of the whole week. Dinner was next door at the Old General Store Cafe where most indulged in a monstrous 'Jarrah Burger' followed by an early night for the riders.
Day Three dawned all to quickly and after a cooked breakfast at the Cafe the riders set off under overcast skies and light misty rain which thankfully didn't last very long. Gary had traded his girls bike for Ricko's and so had another eight gears at his disposal. The first and only Bugger Badge was earned for the trip when Mick managed to hit a large Banksia nut full on which bucked him off his bike causing blood to run from his shin in to his socks. Gary V attested to the spectacular nature of the dismount and as he was wearing his club shirt it was unanimously decided that he qualified for a Bar for the Bugger Badge he already wore. Much sympathy was shown by fellow riders before they continued another tough day with some steep uphills and a lot of walking involved through the sometimes dense scrub. The highlight of the day was an extremely steep downhill covered in large granite boulders which everyone negotiated safely. 56km was covered for the day before arriving at North Spur Road where we were met by the Support Crew for transport back to our overnight campsite at Nanga. Tents had been erected, a campfire started and dinner preparation was under way when we arrived. The support crew enjoyed fellowship around the campfire in to the night whilst the cyclists retired early.
Day Four began with a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausages and baked beans cooked by the support crew. Light rain had fallen over night but again the weather was perfect for the start of the day. Riders and bikes were transported back to yesterday's finishing point where Terry joined us for the first time after arriving back from Sydney. The ride began with several long and enjoyable downhill runs, the first of which was loose gravel and riders were hanging on grimly at high speed. Most were feeling a lot more confident on their bikes by now and also gaining some pedalling fitness which made this leg all the more enjoyable. The steepest downhill of the trip was encountered and despite the warning sign at the top most attempted to ride down it. The rain had cut deep ruts in to the track making this a slippery and dangerous task. The pictures below do not do justice to how steep this hill was. This was to be the shortest day of the trip at under 40km and also one of the most enjoyable with a stop at the Dwellingup Cafe for lunch. The only downside for me was two punctures in the rear tyre caused by cracks in the tyre liners I had installed just prior to the trip. We made good time and arrived in Nanga at around 1430. I wisely removed the tyre liner from my front wheel and on inspection I found the front tube also had cuts in it.
Day Five which was supposed to be another easy day's riding at 44km became a bit of a marathon due to a detour away from a burnt out area of the Trail and turned in to a 54km day. To make matters worse the detour had quite a few long steep uphill sections and everyone was glad to cross the Logue Brook Dam wall and arrive at Lake Brockman Caravan Park. The support crew had arrived earlier only to find the park had closed down due to the Water Corporation now using the dam for drinking water. The caretakers offered to honour our booking anyway and also honoured their commitment to provide dinner and breakfast in the cafe.
Day Six saw eight riders away early after breakfast in the Cafe with Terry electing to have a rest day after a painful fall on his hip the previous day. The ride started slowly through some soft gravel sections but ended up being an exciting day with a good variety of track, a lot of it long fast down hill runs through close scrub and also some narrow single file tracks winding through the trees and bush. Another detour through a pine plantation made a nice change of scenery but also meant the ride ended up being around 50km. On arrival at our last overnight stop at the Yarri Shelter a cold beer and hot shower awaited us as usual. As the shelter only slept eight people some tents were erected on the only available flat ground - the track itself. The shower had been set up on a wooden picnic table beside the track so the guys could stand on the table and keep their feet clean. As I stood atop it buck naked enjoying the warm water a lone lady cyclist suddenly appeared and passed by headed for a quiet night in the shelter. Boy was she in for a surprise! She later claimed not to have seen me standing there and as the prospect of sleeping with eight old men in a shed would hardly have been appealing (not to mention the noise from the snorers) Bill offered to set up his tent away from the group for her to sleep in. She did join us for dinner though which I thought was quite courageous on her part.
Day Seven started with a cold, crisp, clear morning and jackets were necessary for the first hour or so. Our lady friend had left about 0700 and we took off at around 0830. Again there were some superb riding sections in very close country so that we were flying through overhanging scrub with branches hitting arms and legs and stones and sticks flying in all directions. I think the riders could smell the end and the pace was quite furious at times. We had all become much more proficient off road cyclists over the last seven days, jumping small logs and rocks and flying through water laying on the track. One last log across the track to lift bikes over, one last water replenishment with Roger and Lionel and we were on the home stretch. We arrived in Collie around 1300 to be welcomed by the Support Crew, Wives and others who had driven down from Mandurah. We had ridden over 350km for the week and although glad to see the finish line I felt a tinge of sadness that it was over - I was really starting to enjoy the challenge and thrills of the Munda Biddi. After setting up our swags on the Collie Scout Hall floor and having a long hot shower we adjourned to the Collie RSL for a BBQ dinner and entertainment from Lionel. Mick presented badges to all riders and members of the support crew and a medal to Gary V. for his outstanding job as Tail End Charlie for the whole ride, during which he repaired tyres, gathered objects (including a radio) dropped by others, urged riders on and ensured no-one was left behind.
A fantastic, challenging and rewarding week had come to an end and I am already looking forward to the opening of the next section of the Munda Biddi Trail from Collie to Nannup.
The Riders: Bill, Doug, Gary P, Gary V, George, Kevin, Mick, Ricko (2 days), Terry (3 days), Wally.
The Support Crew: Colin, Lionel, Roger, Ron, Peter, Ricko (5 Days), Ted, Terry (1 day).
Written by: Doug Burvill Photographs by: Doug Burvill