Mt Majura Circuit - Pandemic Inspired Cycle Touring - CycleBlaze

April 11, 2020

Mt Majura Circuit

COVID, not covert, Cycle touring 
In a recent Forum post Susan Carpenter suggested an alternative way of cycle tour journaling during the COVID19 pandemic. I thought this was a brilliant idea, so this journal is my attempt to keep a tour-type record of home-based day rides while the pandemic persists. Thanks Susan for the clever idea.

Like numerous other cycle tourers, my travel plans had to adapt rapidly as the pandemic travel quarantine restrictions have tightened. Here on CycleBlaze I have a journal, Against the Wind, paused until it’s safe and legal to again cycle interstate. 

In the meantime, I’ll try to journal a series of rides done in the spirit of cycle touring.  Each ride will:

  • be exploratory
  • capture sights and experiences which I hope are of interest to readers
  • varying routes, and not repeating any route 
  • comply with the Level 3 social distancing and travel guidelines currently in place in the Australian Capital Territory 

Of course the difference from a real tour is that each tour day will start and finish at home. It will be as Susan suggested, a ‘hub and spoke’ pattern tour. Home will be the hub, and each day ride will be a spoke.

As a cyclist, I’m fortunate to live in Canberra aka The Bush Capital, Australia’s national capital. It’s a small regional city located in the Australian Capital Territory which separate self governed jurisdiction embedded in the state of New South Wales. So it’s a bit like a Washington DC  arrangement, but on a much smaller scale. Population is about 450,000. COVID19 control measures vary slightly across jurisdictions, but the main principles are the same. Break the infection cycle by minimising people to people contact, and prevent the trafficking of the virus by minimising travel. Exercise is being encouraged, but with commonsense precautions. 

Infrastructure for all types of cycling is excellent here. Especially good is the easy access to backroads, fire trails and areas with very few people. Local bushland is accessible from our backgate, though we live only one kilometre from the CBD. It should be possible to ride many different spoke routes from the home hub.

To Mt Majura and back
So here we go, Day 1 Spoke 1. 

Canberra is at about 600 metres above sea level and is nestled in a river valley and surrounded by wooded hills. Most are managed as nature reserves. Today’s ride was by a fire trail and rough path to the top of one of those hills (Mt Majura) and then returned home via the sealed summit road and a bike way. The circuit was about 20km. I didn’t start riding until 4pm and arrived home by 6pm.  It was a very ad lib ride, as I hadn’t planned to do a circuit, or to start this journal. 

A few pics: 

The track I used (walking and riding) to each Mt Majura summit. It joins a fire trail which has a much better surface than this. The fire trail is accessible from our back gate.
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Mt Majura summit houses an Air Navigation facility. Radar and a beacon. Note the freshly fallen tree. The wind was roaring today. There’s a severe weather alert, and the wind at the summit was gusting to 80+km/hr
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A view from the summit. Car parks, but not a normal car parks. About two months Canberra was hit by a powerful hail storm. Damage to vegetation, properties and vehicles was extensive. This view is of vehicles which were so damaged by the hail they had to be written off.
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Scott AndersonWow. That’s incredible.
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5 months ago
Graham SmithThanks Scott. I know this is a fairly loose interpretation of a cycle tour and of a cycle touring journal but I will try to make it informative and interesting to readers. These are very unusual times, and the cycling provides a bit of normality. It’s also an opportunity to obtain and share a different perspective of the region where I live. It’s cycling nirvana here, especially in this autumn which is magnificent. Such a contrast to our worst ever summer.

I hope you, your family and friends have a great Easter.
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5 months ago
Looking south west over central Canberra from Mt Majura summit.
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Looking west. There’s wild autumn weather out in the mountain ranges.
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The Mt Majura trig point and my bike, a 2008 Norco hardtail MTB. Well suited to light touring on seal and gravel.
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Today's ride: 25 km (16 miles)
Total: 25 km (16 miles)

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Rachael AndersonGlad to see you are getting out and am happy to have another journal to follow!
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5 months ago
Graham SmithThanks Rachael. Yes I’m very fortunate to be able to get out on a bike, and have access to such a variety of ride routes from home. Hopefully restrictions won’t become tighter. It seems as if the control methods are starting to “flatten the curve” so I expect we’ll continue at the current quarantine levels rather than have further restrictions.

I have a lot of pre-winter work to do at home, especially gardening, wood storage, protective painting etc. As I get these jobs finished, I’ll be able to do longer rides. An aim is to be really tour fit for the Canberra to Perth ride when travel restrictions start to loosen.
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5 months ago
Susan CarpenterThanks for the nice comments. I'm looking forward to learning more about your home turf.
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5 months ago