Autumn 2017: Bungendore to Bundanoon
Autumn can be a truly perfect time to strap the camping gear to the bike and head off into the bush, depending where you are going of course as some areas do start getting cold at this time of year.
We banded together a group of vagrants, miscreants and assorted riff raff and set out (late) one sunny morning to follow a trail that two friends had ridden a few weeks before. Tempted by the excellent photos (see http://endlesscycle.com.au/) we grabbed the .gpx route file and a quick run down of what to expect and where to camp.
Half of us shuttled from Canberra to Bungendore to meet the others, the usual faffing around had us pedalling away about an hour after we had intended to leave. No worry, this particular trip was meant to be of a different flavour to most of our other adventures. Rather than pushing ourselves to puking, we wanted to enjoy the trails, and enjoy the camping!
Day one was kind of a commute ride to get to the really good stuff, albeit a pretty primo commute ride through a beautiful section of the Tallaganda range. The road south from Bungendore is a fast rolling, sealed road that becomes dirt just before Hoskinstown where we headed towards Forbes Creek and up into the Tallaganda National park. After several climbs we bombed through Mulloon creek (which was about as shallow as I've ever seen it), and stopped at the campsite for a quick coffee and a snack.
The firetrail from Mulloon to Little Bombay was in a bad way, storms several months ago washed out many sections which were now cut out and littered with hefty rocks. Fuelled by discussion about what we were going to have for lunch, we picked up the pace, picked the best lines we could and scooted on towards Braidwood.
Coming out of the forest we came across a small excavator finally doing something about the track, though the fresh diggings across the road were pretty soft having not bedded down yet, and made for some slippy-slide fun.
Emerging from the Tallaganda forest, we hit some fast, smooth dirt roads (lovely except for a heavily loaded logging truck passing on a corner and chucking up a choking dust cloud), and the final ~10km sealed time trial section to get in to Braidwood.
My home town of Braidwood provided us with snacks, booze, and lunch. Our balanced and nutritious meal consisted of a load of hot chips that was roughly the size of a small child, hot sauce, and beer.
When we finally managed to leverage ourselves off the ground we had a quick bike weigh in, the verdict, everyones bike was 'pretty fucking heavy', not to mention the fairly copious digestive burden that we all had to carry for the next few hours on the bike.
Heading east towards Mongarlowe, with the sun dipping low and the clouds moving in, it started to get pretty chilly. While we were chasing the distant sun shining off the Budawangs, and discussing how even the slightest incline feels tough when so heavily loaded, we hit our first misfortune. Several things happened in sluggish succession, first being the call of "car up" while a white Landcruiser ubiquitous to the Australian rural landscape came pootling towards us, second event was Keytie's bar end shifter on his flared-out Woodchipper bars being caught in the side pocket of Harry's palatial front rando bag, third event was Harry accelerating instinctively to escape some unknown danger, which just so happened to pull Keytie down onto the tarmac in a slow and comical low speed crash.
Luckily nothing was broken, Keytie was bruised and sore, but straight up and on the road again. The next stretch of road heading through Mongarlowe and