CANBERRA  – What a Capital Trip!

On a pleasant March Saturday morning, Richard K, David T, Sarah G, Kerry T and Andrew E met at an Air B&B house in Downer –  so retro you would think you walked onto the set of Annabel Crabbe’s ‘Back in Time for Dinner’ (50s / 60s)– eager for several days of riding around Canberra.

The first ride was a full circuit (clockwise) of Lake Burley Griffin (LBG), including its peninsulas, which was just on 50 km ( ). There were the ‘usual’ cycling dramas along the way. For example when David’s back tube spontaneously combusted while the group was eating lunch on the Kingston Foreshore.  Luckily there was a bike shop a few hundred metres away and we discovered the tube was compromised and was replaced.

The circumnavigation of LBG is made all the more enjoyable by being completely on shared paths providing safe and enjoyable cycling.

That evening the group checked out the Enlighten festival held on the waterfront; enjoyable, but not a patch on Vivid. Due to Canberra Day on Monday, Canberrans were out in force, enjoying various entertainments both that evening and over the weekend. Sunday morning saw most of the riders rising at sparrow’s fart to hop down to the lakeside to see about 30 hot air balloon ascend!  It was an amazing sight.

Sunday’s ride was an endurance feat, being held on the hotest day at a distance of 85 km from Yarralumla in a Southwest direction ( . Three riders (two on e-bikes) braved the ride, which included a number of descents, especially a long curvy descent to the Murrumbidgee River, and naturally the allied ascents. Under a fairly hot sun of 26 degrees the trio stopped at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve for drinks and morning tea and bidon refill at the ‘only water stop in Tidbinbilla’.

The ride continued through countryside with views left and right, and another welcome stop at Tharwa, a hangout for the local bikies! Cool beverages consumed, the ride continued towards the city with the final 25km stretch being along the maze of shared user paths and cycleways that abound in Canberra.

Monday saw a regroup and start at Bruce with the intention of covering the north and east of Canberra ( ), starting with a gentle 20 km ride on shared paths through Belconnen and Giralang ( northern suburban districts of Canberra), including tracing the edges of scenic Lake Ginninderra.  Known as the lakes district, further lakes were passed before a stretch of country riding saw the group arrive at Sutton, relieved to find the Sutton Bakehouse open, public holiday notwithstanding. More pies and pastries consumed!

The map indicated a gruelling hill was to come after Sutton and riders gritted their teeth waiting for the dreaded 45 km mark, only to find the uphill was so gradual it was not recognised as a hill until the group looked over it to the downhill!  The remaining 30 km included nearly 10km of coasting downhill and again back onto the network of bike paths. A tour of the Australian National University and its beautiful grounds drew out the Bike North ice-cream fairy, who shared a round of cool gelatos and ice creams for the remaining riders.

The intended Southern Highlands ride on Tuesday, breaking up the drive home to Sydney, was cancelled due to rain however two clever riders had remained in Canberra to re-ride the LBG circuit anti-clockwise, in perfect weather.

And so ended another successful Bike North weekend tour.  Thanks to Richard for making it happen!.

Kerry Tipton