marysville or bust, april 2009

On April 23, 2009, I took an instructed ride and the following are from notes I made at the time:

Coming over the Reefton Spur, there used to be a picturesque view from the road of the township of Marysville, nestled in amongst the bush. Not so now, since the Black Saturday bushfires took their toll.

Months later, the devastation is still acute, but the marvel of nature is evident as you see the fresh fronds atop the tree ferns, and little clusters of leaves forming up the trunks of the eucalypts.

This was one of the most memorable sights on the Reefton Ride, one of the instructed rides available for motorcyclists and scooter riders, run by the Shire of Yarra Ranges in conjunction with HART (Honda Australia Rider Training). This ride is only available for licensed riders, as it involves riding over both the Reefton Spur and the Black Spur. It gave me more skills and confidence in approaching country riding.

great day for a ride

The skies are blue; no rain in sight. What a great day for a ride.

With me on my Bolwell Firenze scooter, and my husband on his Suzuki V-Strom, we set off from Croydon on a little jaunt to Healesville, in the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne. I chose the right number of layers for the day, making it even more enjoyable. You always have to allow for the wind chill factor when riding. I donned my gear, choosing my denim Draggin Jeans, with their protective Kevlar lining, a t-shirt, hoodie, cardigan and red bike jacket. Boots, neck scarf, helmet and gloves completed the ensemble. Socks and underwear go without saying.

We set off down Canterbury Road to take the back way to Lilydale to join the Maroondah Highway for the relatively easy ride up to Healesville. There are some lovely sweeping curves heading up to the Valley, which is scattered with local wineries and pleasant scenery of mountains in the distance. If you can manage mid-week as we did, traffic is not a problem.

Our usual stop in Healesville is the Beechworth Bakery, one of a few so-named, the original of course being actually found in Beechworth. Healesville is a popular stop, and we enjoyed cappuccino and a foccacia for a reasonable price. You can also get a bottomless cup of filtered coffee for only $3.00 which is a good drawcard.

On the return home my husband led the way, this time via Yarra Glen and the back roads through to Chirnside Park, staying off the beaten track, where you can imagine you are nowhere near the suburbs of Melbourne.

Just over eighty kilometres for the whole ride, we returned home with a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of gratitude for such a nice interlude.

rusty rider

After ten weeks overseas, one’s riding skills can become a little rusty. Much of this has to do with confidence, so it’s good to get back on and ride, ride, ride at any given opportunity. However, living in Melbourne with its legendary four seasons in one day, means that conditions are not always perfect, but it does give riders the chance to hone their skills in all sorts of weather.

My worst developed skills involve U-turns and roundabouts. The whole point of these is to “look where you want to go” which is good in theory. Sometimes the actual practice is vastly different. Large roundabouts are much easier than the small variety. Because of the long break in riding, my level of confidence had deteriorated somewhat when I approached a rather tiny, unfamiliar roundabout. I was going a little too slowly, and then not looking in the proper direction, so much so that I had to stop right in the middle of the intersection and get my bearings. Slightly embarrassing to say the least, when I have been riding for four years. Suffice to say, I gave myself a good talking to about looking beyond your nose and looking ahead as one should do.