|I'd been looking forward to the Easter Cycle for some
time. An event that provided for a fair amount
of socialising, some great mountain biking, road riding for those who
wanted it, and a chance to reacquaint oneself with the Mawson Trail.
Last year, while on the Outback Odyssey, we had intersected with the
Easter Cycle at Kapunda and I made a mental note that, should the Nullarbor
1200 not go ahead, Burra 2008 might be a good alternative.
What a great time we had! My wife Lynn and I rode on each of the four days, enjoying dirt and bitumen, while we cycled as part of smaller and larger groups.
|Shortly after arriving on Good Friday we took a trip on the unsealed
roads around the Burra area, stopping at the ruin on the Mawson that
appears regularly in calendars and tourist brochures. About twenty of us
rode along Leighton, Shafton and Copperhouse Roads on the dirt before
returning to town via the Barrier Highway. That night we caught up with
friends around the dinner table, and listened to one of the locals as he
gave a presentation outlining some of the historical highlights of
On Saturday, a group of nine adults and children rode the bitumen down to Hanson, a sleepy little location with a population of five. In that tiny place, we met 40 per cent of the population. The two of them couldn't stand the sight of each other. There you go. We rode back to Burra via unsealed roads, enjoying those feelings of joyous isolation that country riding brings. The scenery was dry, yet magnificent, and I felt very lucky to be out there on my bike. There were a few hills to climb, and it was pleasing that everyone made it without any dramas.
the afternoon Lynn and I rode out to the cactus farm on the Mawson
Trail, before turning around and thoroughly enjoying the downhill fun
back into town.
We took a stroll around Burra in the afternoon and I was lucky enough to find a J. D. Salinger biography going cheap in a second hand shop. A bit of a bonus, that. We had a beer at the Burra Hotel while we read the paper and filled in journals, happy just relaxing in the afternoon sun. We spent the remainder of the day and evening at the camp before retiring to our room at the Paxton Cottages. The Kooringa Hotel across the road was rocking so it was ear plugs all around.
|On Sunday, while hordes of children scoured Burra to see what the
bunny had left them, Lynn and I decided to ride out of Burra along
the Mawson and head for the top of the Camel's Hump range. It was just
the two of us, so we made sure that people knew where we were headed and
that mobile numbers were exchanged. We both had good packs so I figured
we had all we needed. Off we went, in our elements as we reacquainted
ourselves with the red dirt of the tracks. Our triumphant feelings of
exploration and isolation were shattered as we approached Miller Road
when a big shiny 4WD crossed our paths. We enjoyed a fantastic ride -
I'd not travelled the trail in that direction - and the views from the
top of the range were magnificent. It was the first time Lynn had done
any off road climbing and she had a great time.
We turned around and enjoyed the ten minute downhill without ever feeling the need to pedal. Once we hit the flat we were into the wind but we didn't care. We had all day, after all, and we were doing exactly what we wanted to be doing.
We stopped for lunch at the ruins by Springvale, enjoying vegemite sandwiches, lovingly warmed in the backs of our jerseys. I tried to avoid being unnerved by the multitude of shotgun casings littering the place. We got back on the bikes, knowing we only had about an hour of our ride remaining. Before long we were at the Barrier Highway. We'd enjoyed the Saturday's hi-jinks on the Mawson so much that we relished the prospect of entering town via the cactus farm once again. It didn't let us down.
That evening, under the full moon, we took part in the night ride - A huge, snaking line of illuminated cyclists. I can't imagine what the locals made of it.
On Monday we headed out along the bitumen to the sprawling metropolis on Booborowie. Which was shut when we got there. Fair enough, Adelaide itself is pretty quiet on Easter Monday. In any event, the ride there and back was rewarding, with some beautiful early morning vistas and a few ups and downs to keep it interesting. The Booborowie Hotel was for sale, so if anyone is looking for a sea-change...
We got back to Burra around noon. We'd already packed the car so it was a quick change before stowing the bikes and saying farewell. Back to (the other) reality.
All up, we had a great time. New friends were made, old friendships renewed, and the Easter Cycle provided a great opportunity to get away and do what we love for four days. A big thanks must go to everyone involved in the organisation. I don't know if I'll be there next year though - I think I hear the Outback Odyssey calling!
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