A Mini-Adventure Interstate - Pandemic Inspired Cycle Touring - CycleBlaze

January 30, 2021 to January 31, 2021

A Mini-Adventure Interstate

Scratching the itch to cycle tour with a cross border ride to Flea Creek

The Brindabellas

About 30km west of Canberra is hilly countryside designated as national parks and reserves. Collectively known as “The Brindabellas” or “The Brindys” it’s a series of different ranges, many deep valleys, pristine rivers and dense eucalypt forests. Maximum elevation is about 1800 metres. Much of the area is conserved as The Namadgi National Park. It is also Canberra’s main water catchment so camping is limited to designated areas. The spine of the ranges is the ACT-NSW border.

The great thing for a Canberra cycle tourer is that the Brindys can be reached on a bicycle in about two hours.

Perfect Summer Weather

This summer has been a total contrast to last year. Twelve months ago Canberra was under siege by massive wildfires, dust storms, extreme heatwaves and years of drought. Our region felt and looked like Armageddon. A year later, steady rain has greened the bushland and recharged the water catchment. Summer temperatures  have been mostly benign with only a couple of heatwaves. 

COVID19 Update

It’s almost back to normal here with very few cases of community transfer within Australia. A series of strict lockdowns, masks, closed international borders and community compliance have almost totally suppressed the rates of COVID19 infection. There are still some state border restrictions but even they have now mostly opened. The one exception is Western Australia which in the process of reacting to a surprise outbreak. 

Flea Creek

Not the most appealing of names, Flea Creek Campground is about 64 kilometres from home and on the New South Wales side of The Brindys. My irrepressible friend and cycle touring mate John is planning a ride to southern NSW in a few weeks, was keen to do a reconnaissance ride across The Brindys and into NSW for a two-day, one night mini-tour. He invited me to join this short ride. After some hesitation (due to the recent very wet weather) I decided to join this short peloton of two cycle tourers. I’m glad I did. It was an excellent weekend cycle tour.

The slight complication is that heavy rain delayed our departure until noon Saturday. Nevertheless we made it to Flea Creek campground in about six hours and with plenty of daylight to spare. We returned by mid-afternoon on Sunday.  
Total 128 km.  Total climb: 2020 metres 
(Day 1: 992 metre ascent 1028 descent.   Day 2: 1028 ascent. 992 descent)

The rest of the weekend mini-tour story is covered in the following captioned photos:

There are two main routes to the Brindabella Road. Via Uriarra Road or via The Cotter Road. We exited via Urania and returned via The Cotter shown on this map.
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The loaded Thorn Sherpa
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The rain has passed. More is coming.
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Our first rest stop. This is a very popular mountain biking centre. Stromlo Park.
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Looking back toward the city centre from Stromlo Forest Park cycling centre.
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The menu theme is obvious to cyclists
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Sage advice at the Stromlo Forest cycling centre.
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We are heading toward Brindabella. It’s a location, not a town.
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The Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre. It’s a tertiary level sewerage treatment centre.
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The Murrumbidgee River is flowing well but thankfully not high enough to close the road.
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We are heading for those distant blue hills.
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Sheep with plenty of wool at a farm on the edge of Canberra
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About half of the ride was on gravel and dirt surfaces.
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The hills are getting closer and the forest is getting denser.
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Why did the beetle cross the road?
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Bill ShaneyfeltSnout beetles are so interesting!

Seems to fairly well match Botany Bay weevil photos.

https://canberra.naturemapr.org/sightings/4368363
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1 year ago
Graham SmithIt does look a bit weevily.
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1 year ago
Looking north west from the Brindabella Road
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Looking back toward central Canberra. We were there about four hours ago.
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It’s all downhill hill from here to the campsite. About 10 km along Brindabella Road and then the very steep Gentle Annie Track.
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Our destination is down there somewhere
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About 5km to go to the river. Down, down and more down.
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Red Belly Black snake swimming in Flea Creek near the campground
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Time for reflection at Flea Creek
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Flea Creek’s pristine water
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It’s remarkable how much gear can explode from two touring bikes. My Mont Moondance tent and John’s experiment with a batwing tarp and a bivvy bag.
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Flea Creek. There were no fleas.
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Flea Creek near the junction with the Goodradigbee River
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The Goodradigbee River near the junction with Flea Creek
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The Goodradigbee River
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Roadside wild flowers
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The beginning of the walk-ride home. Gentle Annie Track is not gentle. At least 20% gradients on the steeper sections. 485 metre climb in the 3.6 km from the campground to the Brindabella Road junction.
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The cloud is rolling in. More rain on the way.
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John leading the way on the 5 km walk out on Gentle Annie Track
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Exiting the hills on the descent back to Canberra
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Looking back to the Goodradigbee River. Webb Range ridge fire trail is visible to the left
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Roadside wildflower
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like it might match rosy hyacinth orchid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipodium_roseum
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1 year ago
Graham SmithThanks Bill. I’ll take your word for it. I wasn’t even sure it was an orchid.
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1 year ago
Fog rolled in about 10am Sunday morning on the return ride.
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John leading the charge along the Brindabella Road toward Piccadilly Circus.
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This valley was a bushfire devastated moonscape 18 years ago. The re-growth is flourishing this wet summer.
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A rare sight. Water cascading over the wall of Canberra’s main water supply dam. It hasn’t been full for about six years.
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Today's ride: 128 km (79 miles)
Total: 623 km (387 miles)

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Scott AndersonAmazing to see all this green down there! Looks like it could be in New Zealand.
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1 year ago
Graham SmithTo Scott AndersonHi Scott I’ve not seen the countryside this verdant for at least six years. It’s been a freak spring and summer. I’m wondering if the months of dust storms and dense smoke we had last year deposited micronutrients which have boosted plant growth.

We are now standing by for yet anotherincoming ‘rain event’ via weather warnings. There could be up 50mm dumped in an hour or two.
Our annual average recently has been about 450 mm.
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1 year ago