Queen's Birthday weekend ride to Fish Creek

One of the annoyances of living in Victoria is that the weather tends to be awful during the winter months. And to make things worse, the forecast is incredibly unreliable. Seriously, I have never experienced such blatantly unreliable weather forecasts anywhere else in the world. It can happen that there are days with a 90% chance of rain forecast, and then during my ride to work I don’t come across a single drop of rain because it’s beautiful sunshine, making me look quite silly all dressed in rain gear. It’s that bad. In fact it is so bad, that it’s best to ignore the forecast altogether and simply dress in gear that works in all conditions.

The forecast for the annual weekend ride to Fish Creek was a fair bit of rain during the day, and just when we left Rowville it really started bucketing down. Throughout the day we saw pretty much all possible conditions, including hail – or at least that’s what it felt like when it came flying against my visor. It was still great riding on fantastic roads, but the changing conditions were a constant nuisance.

Queen sticker
Queen sticker

Our lunch stop was at the Inline 4 Café in Mirboo North. After that we rode through an area near Traralgon with a few coal-fired power plants and open cut mines. Much of Victoria’s energy comes from these power plants, but it was probably one of the most depressing sights ever. Open cut mining is a disgrace; but an even bigger disgrace is that in a couple of years it will likely be up to the tax payer to rehabilitate the area when coal-powered energy gets out of fashion.

Since I only had perforated leather boots, I pretty much had wet feet from the beginning of the ride (my room mate later taught me the trick of lining boots with a plastic bag). With relatively cool temperatures I was really glad when we finally arrived in Fish Creek and I was able to take a hot shower and put on some dry clothes. Later we all met for dinner and the food was alright, typical country pub food.

Sunday started wet and cold, but at least it no longer rained and slowly it turned into a dry day, with occasional sunshine. Everyone organised their own breakfast – options were either a small café or the petrol station. After a group photo in front of the Fish Creek Hotel we were soon on our way home.

Fish Creek Hotel
Fish Creek Hotel

Somewhere on the way to our lunch spot we rode on a narrow and winding road through a forest reserve. The road was wet and often covered with leaves. In one corner I made a mistake when I shifted up riding through a slow bend, subsequently drifted to the edge of the road and ended up in the gutter. Beginner mistake. I was lucky there had been no oncoming traffic, and it all happened at low speed. I also narrowly avoided a wall of rocks so the bike didn’t suffer any damage other than a broken pannier lock.

Improvised pannier fix
Improvised pannier fix
Signs of crash
Signs of crash
Signs of crash
Signs of crash

At the time I was one of the first riders in the group, so everyone behind me immediately pulled over and helped me get my bike back on the road. In moments like these it really pays off to ride with other experienced riders in a club or group. I was a little bit shaken and tried to figure out what went wrong, but with everyone’s help I was already back on the road less than 15min later. Accidents do happen to all riders at some point, and I’m glad I got off so lightly.

After lunch at the Rawson Stockyard Bar & Grill we rode to our final destination at Launching Point and after a celebratory drink (or not) everyone was heading home.