It's a war of attrition - A treadling Hyohakusha - CycleBlaze

May 30, 2017

It's a war of attrition

Lowood to Toogoolawah to Crow's Nest

From Lowood to Toogoolawah to Crow's Nest

To Toogoolawah

I bounced along the rail trail from Lowood to Toogoolawah. It was a late start. I think I'm going to have to get used to late starts - the nights are pretty cold, down to about 7 degrees and there is little cloud cover. That's great for star gazing, but there is always a heavy dew in the mornings. I pack up a wet tent some days, but unpacking a soaking wet tent every evening just isn't much fun. Togoolawah wasn't far off, only 20 km and I wasn't planning to head further north on the rail trail. From here, the plan is to now head west, aiming for Alice Springs.

Old Queeenslander in Lowood. He has a great gnome infested garden. This style of house can be found across SE Asia. I love them.
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Rail Trail creek crossing, the tressles are still in place, but they look pretty far gone and beyond repair. It's much easier to push the trail down to the creek and drop a bunch of giant sized stepping stones into place.
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Entering Toogoolawah I met David, a 79 yr young cyclist. He invited me into his caravan for a cup of coffee and talk - and that's what we did. He was travelling with an electric mountain bike. His wife died a few years back. It wasn't suppose to work out that way. He was older and the plan was for him to pop off first. He lives not too far off and likes to go on short adventures, towing his caravan and riding his bike. He's been battling Lyme Disease for 30 years (which officially doesn't exist in Australia, despite many being diagnosed with it over the past 50 years). Yeah, we did do a fair bit of talking, about life and bikes - two of our favourite topics.

That's David. He is a great guy. He gave me coffee and a meal and a hot shower. He rides an electric mountain bike on the trail. He was the standout in a day of meeting great people... Toogoolawah- I could easily live there. One of the council workers thought so too. He was travelling through, spent the night and has been living here ever since.
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It just so happens that Toogoolawah allows people to free camp just opposite the main street, adjacent to the rail trail. So that's what I did. Rolling up on my bike and hanging all my damp/wet gear on the fence, I attracted quite a bit of attention from railtrail cyclists, curious/friendly locals and grey nomads. You can also stay at the showgrounds for about $10 a night and pick up a meal at the corner pub for not much more.

Maybe I should call this the "Showgrounds & Pub Tour" because I think I'll be doing a fair bit of both. If you're looking for somewhere different to go on your next tour, then consider it a serious option. You could wander from country town to town in rural Queensland for years and never cover the same ground twice.

It was a great day: beautiful sunny weather, a pleasant short ride on a rail trail, and a lovely time with great company in Toogoolawah. The local airport does sky diving and our sunset was accented with dozens of technicolour twirling aerielists. David made dinner...

An easy day, only 20 rail trail kilometres

Rain water tank for the horses I presume, but in a pinch, probably good for cyclists, too. It's certainly filterable. And I think more than one cyclist has camped here over night.
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To Crow's Nest


I could also call it "The War of Attrition Tour" because that's what it it... The bike is old, 30 years old and although I love it and have faith in it, this will be the longest and hardest tour we will have done. It's making a worrisome creaking noise around the headset (Chris King) and I hope it just needs grease and will last - next bike shop is Alice Springs. Japanese lugged steel frames are famous, let's hope it lives up to the reputation. The tent pole is failing at one of the joints and the mozzie netting is starting to wear out. Hope it lasts too... And then there is this body of mine. It isn't as strong or as resilient as it was when I was younger. Still, the heart/lungs/circulatory system are in good order. The knees are fine so far. I'm hoping I last out the trip, too. Worry worry worry, need to cycle that out of me...

I knew the ride from Toogoolawah would be hard, about 50 km of up and down back country roads, some paved, some not. The highest point I had to get over was 550 metres, but I had to do that several times. I started out around 09:30 in the morning, with about 4 litres of water, which would be just enough if I had to camp out. About 1 hr into the ride I got my first puncture, by the time I unloaded the bike, upended it and put in the new tube and got everything back together, I had shot over half an hour of my ride time. Camping out was now beginning to look like a serious option.

But bikes are ok... I made it about 30 of the 50 km to Crow's Nest. Beyond this point, I saw no other car traffic. From Toogoolawah to here, maybe a dozen. 80% of the ride was either up or down. But it's not so bad when it's through such amazing countryside.
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I know I'm not fit and I knew the ride would be hard. Many of the hills were too steep to ride, so I pushed the bike (and all of that bloody gear) up them. I passed through a picturesque little creek when I was getting low on water, so I stopped and filtered 2.5 litres, that along with the 2 litres I had in reserve would see me through the night and next day into Crows Nest. I was planning on stealth camping in the bush, but with farms and fences on both sides of the track there weren't many options. I ended up camping on a ridgeline hidden from the track by a water tank and over looking a reservoir far below. Not that anyone would bother me out there. I only saw about 4 cars all day. It was a quiet night and no morning dew because I was high up and there was a gentle breeze blowing all night.

Crows Nest


Got going at the usual time 09:30 and cycled into Crow's Nest. There were still hills to climb, but day two seemed easier. I was in town by lunch time and went straight to the pub for my $12 seniors meal and a beer. Both went down a treat...

I'm staying the night at the local campground. It will be about 5 degrees tonight. They have a campfire. I didn't pack the marshmallows...

I found the climbing, especially with so much gear, hard work. I have another day or two of climbing ahead of me before I'm out of the hills and into the forever flats across the middle of Australia. It's been a great ride across this small bit of the range and I'd do it again in a heart beat, but maybe next time with a bit less gear and a bit more pedal fitness.

50 km, mostly up and down.

Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 136 km (84 miles)

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