I’ll keep the review of this day shorter since the BVRT section was minimal; but instead I’ll add a few “first time bikepacker” reflections at the end.
Day 3 Recap
“Valda and I are social distancing naturals 😉 Three proper days of inadvertent (or not?) social isolation. Just me and Valda. Riding further than we ever have before. Seeing new places. Listening to her singing in the wind 🌬 The simplicity of bikepacking has my heart full and my mind calm and content 💓 Limits do indeed exist only in the mind. While travel bans may be in place; that’s not to say you can’t find adventure right from your very own doorstep…” (note: travel bans became a lot stricter after this trip).
155km – Yarraman home to Caloundra (not on the BVRT except for the beginning where I rode the stuff I’d missed while being a navigationally challenged individual the day before ) – https://www.strava.com/activities/3184274513
I was feeling mixed emotions when I woke up in the motel in Yarraman, with my final, and biggest, day ahead of me. Excited, to get back on the bike, which I was just loving so much. Anxious, about the distance I had to back up with after the past couple of days, especially not knowing any of the route. Sad, at the prospect of the trip being over already and that weird, sort of disappointed, feeling you get when you know you’re heading back to ‘civilisation’ after some time away (or at least, I get).
My bike computer said 170kms to home (which I’d mapped and programmed before I left), but I hoped to chop some of that off by taking bitumen roads – which successfully I did, down to “just 155km”. Bear in mind riding on the road was a lot quicker than the previous days on the trail.
It was a fresh, sunny, dewy morning and I headed for the start/finish of the BVRT in Yarraman to ride the section I’d missed the day prior. Within a couple of minutes I hit a “Trail closed due to flooding” sign, and yes, you guessed it, I ignored it and rode past. All was okay! I’m also so glad I did cover this section as it was a beautiful ride to Blackbutt through pretty countryside. There was some excitement when I hit a herd of mama cows and calves covering the entire path. While I tried to negotiate with them, with zero success, and was just about to hike my bike up a hillside to avoid them, a local couple came riding by, practically cuddling them as they went past, so on I rode in the safety of their escort while they laughed at me… Totally fine with that.
After a coffee and breakfast stop at Blackbutt, I started following roads for home and I have to confess, this was by far my favourite day. Rolling roads; beautiful scenery, and all of it completely new to me until I reached the coast and my old familiar gravel crossroads. I stopped here, realising how sad I was to be only a 45 minute ride from home, while also reflecting in my (somewhat controversial) disappointment that I hadn’t endured any type 2 fun or pain along the way. After almost 7 hours of riding a fully packed bike that day I still felt absolutely fine, relatively speaking, – and in fact had been in the best of moods all day. It really was a beautiful day and rolling back home to my front door really brought about that satisfaction of a backyard adventure.
As I arrived back home I found myself saying: “I don’t know why I was even nervous; I had the best time. There’s something beautifully simple about bike packing”. And quite frankly, that says it all really.
A few trip reflections:
- The BVRT – While I didn’t find it the most exciting offroad riding, I can see how it would be fun with a group, or a young family. It was also undoubtedly the perfect testing ground for a new rider or a new bikepacker. With resupply points all along the trail and it being primarily pretty flat and well signposted (don’t mind my nav issues), it’s a really easy choice to ride in one go or split up into sections depending on what suits you best.
- Kit wise – I was super fortunate (and also had done my research) with how well everything worked out first time around. A harness donated to me (thank you – long may its adventures continue!) plus the Revelate Designs salty roll bag sat well on my wide Walmer bars; the Revelate tangle as my mini frame bag to hold spares and tools and food and whatever else; plus the Louise Harness and a Sea to Summit Dry bag on the rear – all of which had me covered for carrying my tent, food, water and some layers.
- oh and I discovered how good feed bags are too. I had one Revelate Designs feed bag on my bars but I’ll definitely be investing in a second. This provided awesomely easy access to my water bottle, plus GoPro and phone.
- Voile Straps also deserve an honourable mention as they helped me add additional bottle storage to my frame in the easiest makeshift manner. These straps will be coming on every trip for me and I have no doubt their uses will become super varied and handy!
- Also, having chatted to a few people about my trip subsequently. Please don’t be put off thinking you need heaps of specific kit. You don’t. A bike and a backpack will suffice. And also, please don’t think you need to cover 350kms in three days. You could ride 20kms, camp somewhere and ride home. Or ride 5kms – who cares! Just try riding your bike; take a tent or a sleep system of your choice; ride home – ta dah – you have been bikepacking. Ain’t that awesome?
- And finally, really, I can’t say enough how much the simplicity of this mode of transport and adventure has won my heart. I cannot wait to undoubtedly see my setup evolve and change a million times, and I cannot wait to see all of the places Valda and I will explore together!
Any questions? Feel free to get in touch. You can DM me on Instagram via @allthegearnaeidea where you’ll also see a Highlight reel of my BVRT stories, if seeing me ramble on while getting progressively more sun burned and dehydrated is your cup of tea … Sarahx