Tuesday, April 18, 2006

bikeride to Redcliffe

On a sunny Easter Monday afternoon, Woolly Days energetically decided it would cycle out to the Redcliffe peninsula some 30kms away to the north of Brisbane.

Going there via the bikepaths is a safer and more enjoyable option than the roads but it meant the journey was a lot further than the 30km way Joe Crow might take to get there. After cycling through the back streets of Wooloowin, I picked up the Kedron Brook bikepath among the sports fields at Shaw road.

Rugby was holding forth on one side of the road while hockey held the ascendency on the right bank. I turned right, shooted past the Toombul shopping centre and the motorcycle lessons in the back carpark. I was headed for the wide open wetlands besides the Schulz canal.

This waterway gets steadily larger as it picks up creeks along the way and becomes a surprisingly large and commanding presence as it prepares to empty into the bay just beyond the end of the bike path.

After holding my nose when passing the municipal dump on Nudgee Road, I avoided the temptations of Nudgee Beach (which should be called Nudgee Mangrove Swamp) and pick up another track through the Boondall wetlands which according to the sign was ‘saved by the ratepayers’. I admired the ratepayer-saving view beyond the creeks and the airport out to Moreton Bay from a lookout and came out the other end at the Boondall entertainment centre.

I then stealthily trundled alongside the railway path over Cabbage Tree Creek before charting a course around the edge of Bramble Bay through Shorncliffe and its Royal Queensland Cruising Yacht Club ‘home of the Brisbane to Gladstone race’. It would have been packed here a few days ago on Good Friday for the start of the race. Baxter's Jetty is home to the occasional fisherman and inquisitive pelican while a steady stream of small boats heads in and out of the bay. A couple walked their large dogs down the mudflats back towards Nudgee (Mangrove Swamp.)

The genteelness continued in Sandgate (with its gracious kilometre long pier and tempting Full Moon bayside pub) but was roughened up a portion by Brighton. Brighton does hold the key to the peninsula. Side by side with the threelane (one and half each way) highway to Clontarf (remember Good Friday 1014 and Brian Boru!) is the more elderly one lane Hornibrook highway which is exclusively for acoustic traffic: pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers.

Though the Hornibrook is undoubtably the safer option for cyclists, it can be dangerous especially if you get entangled with a backswinging rod from the odd over-zealous fisherman. I flew along unharmed at 30kph, wheels swishing.

Woolly Days continued unscathed to hug the pretty coast and its gleaming views to Moreton Island and the less gleaming though no less fascinating view to the Port of Brisbane at Fishermans Island. Onwards past Woody Point, Margate, Sutton's Beach and the gawdy Redcliffe foreshore. I made it to the end of the line at Scarborough and stopped at Bird O' Passage parade for a well earned coffee at Morgan's fish and chip shop.

After a short break, it was a reluctant effort to get back on the bike. It was to get worse, on my enjoyable way out I had failed to realise I had a significant tail wind and my speed dropped as I headed back the quickest way I could find away from the coast.

I had an early dodgy moment which requires radical surgery in the form of a stop for a curry pie and a limegreen sports drink. They do the trick and Woolly Days was back on the road with no time for bikepaths.

Back across the open Hornibrook I’m slowed right down to 16kph and am fighting hard against the stiffening breeze. I took the path down the sinister-named Deagon Deviation and hugged the side of the freeway until I find a trio of long straight roads to take me home.

Muller, Newman and Pfingst are the names of the roads and sound like a firm of Teutonic solicitors. I finally picked up the familiar thread of the Kedron bike path and wend the last few kilometres to the comforting bosom of home. Time for a well-earned flop on the couch.

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