Review: GABCY South East – Alister and Duncan

Alister and Duncan rode 198 km around the South East corner of GABCY Network in January 2022. Their route included parts of Golden Black Track, Reap the Red Ridge, Carmel Cornella and Kirwans Rushy Whroote. They posted about their ride on Facebook and also on Relive (see latter for most pics and details of their exact route).

We seized the moment of stupidly hot weather to hit the gravel in central Victoria over three days last weekend, credit card camping with Duncan Parkinson. Train to Murchison, rode to Heathcote (which wasn’t the picturesque wine-town I was expecting from all the Shiraz I’ve had from there) via the Whroo cemetery (poor bastards). The empathy for those diggers turned inwards as we baked in high 30s riding up and down dale, running low on water to get to our first night’s accommodation. Thankfully the thunderstorms hit after we got there which then drenched what we’d left outside. We saw countless wallabies, plenty of roos and the odd Wedgetail. From Heathcote we rode to Rushworth via Colbinnabin for silo art and pub lunch. Last day to Nagambie via the ghost town of Whroo and the Balaclava mine and crossing the treacherous (for bikes) Kirwan Bridge. Duncan had more in the tank and so rode on to Seymour.

We have to thank ‘Nick’ from the GABCY Network who has pulled together amazing routes and ride planning resources to grow gravel riding in central Vic. It includes accommodation/camping options, sights to see, hazards to watch for. Of course, we ignored the advice to ride in Spring/Autumn. Amazing work. https://nixtrader.wordpress.com/…/12/16/the-gabcy-network/

You can watch an animated map of the ride here: https://www.relive.cc/view/v36AgzR4QGv

Another interesting and different report. This one shows:

  • How various legs from GABCY Network routes can be combined to make longer routes. Including using different train stations as start and finish points.
  • Impact of weather. From 30+ degree days riding through bush where carrying enough water is a major issue. Then 20 mm overnight rain means having to adjust route next day to avoid some planned earth / clay tracks.
  • Impact of seasons on landscape. The same routes that are bright primary colours in spring and autumn, become a beige-out in high summer. Streeton was more poetic about Australian summers declaring “gold and blue” as “nature’s scheme of colour in Australia”, as evidenced in Golden Summer – Eaglemont (1889)
  • Importance of getting different perspectives. I’ve been to Rushworth many times, but I don’t recall seeing any of the things in pics posted by Alister and Duncan 😂. Also seems the new cafe that had newspaper over its windows all last year has opened, so I’ll have to go and check it out!

Thanks for the plug guys, hope you had fun.

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