Some hills

It was a lovely few days away, for our trip to the “Leisure Coast Brompton Meander” put on by Cheeky Transport (one of Sydney’s Brompton dealers). Our invite was for cycling the coast between Kiama & Thirroul (the direction to be decided prior, to ensure a tailwind?) over two days.

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Not a demanding ride, sure to be pleasurable with an unknown number of fellow Bromptoneers, & so we headed for Shellharbour, the scheduled overnight stop. Our plan was to arrive early in the Tardis (our VW T5 Campervan), settle into a caravan/tourist park & catch a train Saturday morning to whichever start-point was decided. The Tardis would remain on-site as our base for the mid-ride evening stop & for our return on Sunday evening from the ride completion point (via train).

Southerly winds were expected & so Saturday morning saw us ride Ralph & Peregrine to Dunmore station & catch a train to Kiama. Adam & Nick from Cheeky shepherded us to the official start-point, where pleasantries were exchanged between the 10 participants (9 Brompton riders & 1 Bike Friday pilot) & pics were obtained. Here I’ve managed to snap Peter (BF), Dennis, Mrs Aussie, Nari, Nick, Patrick, Clive, Clare & Adam.

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Adam handed out maps & “emergency food packs” (thanks Jennifer) & then we were off. Having cycled parts of the Sunday portion, Adam’s course description of “cyclepaths, tracks, quiet roads & some hills” seemed innocuous. With hindsight, I now know that the “some hills” could have been expressed differently. With my heart condition (reduced capacity & limited blood oxygen supply) making me “slow up hills” & really needing Ralph’s Alfine 11-speed super-low first gear to get me there, I even succumbed to walking on a couple of the climbs out of Kiama. (Pic showing the group patiently waiting again!?)

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“Keeping the ocean on our right” we proceeded to Shellharbour for our lunch-stop. Along the way we enjoyed the cycling (mostly), views (always) & any “pic stops” (every time). The ride distance had been only half of what Sunday would bring but with those “some hills” included, it was time for Mrs Aussie & I to relax with a well-earned pizza & excellent red wine.

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A few hardy riders undertook the Saturday afternoon ride to Bass Point Reserve, along some “unsealed road” that seemed more like “under construction”? Others (such as us) were happy to relax & recover.

Sunday was to be twice the distance from Saturday but expected to be more coastal cyclepath & less of those “some hills”? There were regular stops, such as this pause for a pic where Lake Illawarra meets the sea.

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Our next stop was to be lunch at a cafe near Port Kembla but the size of the crowd pushed us to lightening our “emergency supplies” load instead, while relaxing about the Pyramids (ie WWII-era anti-tank devices?)

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Yes, we still had a lunch stop! A boutique brewery in Wollongong served some great food, such as these sandwiches.

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Resuming our ride after lunch was a bit tough but Adam arranged to steady our pace & picked up a passenger & included some off-road sections (ta Adam for the trail pic).

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We continued along seemingly endless coastal cyclepath (forgoing many very enticing coffee stops?) until reaching the Thirroul surf-club, whereupon some hit the beach while others devoured ice creams.

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Finally, the last leg awaited: a train to Sydney or, for us, a train back to Dunmore. All we had to do now was to tackle the last hill & ride down into Shellharbour Village & into our Tourist Park. Here is depicted a scene of bliss – a base camp cuppa after 76km of riding over 2 days!?

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Are there any lessons from our jaunt? Definitely!
Adam’s local knowledge of the area is immense!
Mrs Aussie on Peregrine with standard 6-speed gearing is unstoppable!
GoPro batteries need to be conserved & charged overnight!
“Dunmore (SP1)” as a station description means you must get into the last carriage!
Don’t pass up the chance to do it all again!

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2 thoughts on “Some hills

  1. Ian Martin 27/02/2014 at 22:34 Reply

    Terrific and evocative description Ian. I almost felt I was there .. and wishing I could have been.
    Ian

  2. Aussie on a Brompton 28/02/2014 at 13:32 Reply

    Thanks Ian, I really must do a “northern trip” soon.

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