Last Sunday, I did the Brisbane to Gold Coast with approximately 7000 others. It was a bit of a last minute decision as I only registered at 3pm on Friday after they reopened entries. I had ummed and ahhhhed about it for two weeks and finally decided that I really wanted to go. So, much flight checking was done and some quick smart bike packing on Friday afternoon saw me bundled on to a plane bound for Brisbane on Friday night.
I was a bit worried about the weather as it had been forecast to rain on Sunday. The weather put in a big effort and poured down rain on Saturday morning to get it all out of the system. The day ended up being absolutely gorgeous, fine and 27°.
Sunday morning I woke up at 4am and had an espresso to get going. I over estimated the time it would take to get from my friends house to the starting line by about 3 times. Thus I was waiting around at South Bank at 4:30am in the morning until the start time of my category (Blue – average speed 20-25km/h) at 6:15am . I met a few friends and said hello to a few more and we were off and going. This is a great speed category to enter as you get to see all sorts of people on pretty much every type of bike. Kick bikes, elliptical trainer type bikes, unicycles, recumbents, bmx, dual suspension mountain bikes, tandems, tag-a-longs, chariots, new, old, well loved, dusted off for the event. There also tends to be a few people in costumes. Batman and Robin in full regalia with “muscles” on a tandem were certainly a stand out as well as some women in bee costumes with antennae and all.
As per usual, the first 17kms is run down the south bound bus way. They shut down the bus way for about 2hrs whilst thousands of cyclist trundle down. This part is typically bedlam as people seem to forget the road rules and go a bit silly on the closed road way. Keeping left and not riding on the wrong side of the road go out the window. You have to keep your wits about you and practise some defensive and predictable riding.
Once out of the bus way, we joined up with Logan Road and through various southern suburbs. All the normal roads are open to their usual traffic which is fairly light at that time of the day. Police and volunteers manned most of the traffic lighted intersections as well as the roundabouts to direct the flow of traffic and manage a happy medium between getting cyclists through and letting the cars go about their business. I’m pretty sure with out them, there would surely be an incident with a frustrated driver. After following Logan Road to it’s conclusion, the first rest stop for the day was at 40km at Eagleby. It was in a local park with the usual BQ accoutrements. Water, first aid, radio, food. The snack provided was a banana and sports bar.
Back on the road again as we hit the much less populated stretch of SEQ even passing farmland on the way. Several of the views from bridges down the various rivers are quite scenic. This section is also has a few of the small hills. By this stage the nervous energy and excitement had burnt off and the general cyclist behaviour was much improved.
After another 40kms, the second and final rest stop for the day is the school at Cooma. The school is situated with a view of Dreamworld’s Tower of Terror. I can’t imagine going to that school and seeing that everyday. It would ruin the mystique of any Dreamworld visit. As the day was heating up, shade was at a premium and many were lounging around under the tress and generally taking it easy before tackling the final stretch. Food was a fruit bun, honey, banana and sports drink.
The final 20kms is all flat and winds through the back suburbs of the Gold Coast before emerging for the last bit to ride along the waterfront to Southport. This stretch seemed to go very quickly for me and in no time I had finished. At the finish is a bit of a festival atmosphere with food, entertainment and freebies around. It was also in a newly upgraded park with a kids waterpark that looked very tempting.
So, I picked up my finishing T-shirt and had some lunch, chatted with a few familiars then got a lift back to Brisbane with some friends.
Another excellent Bicycle Queensland event, of course. A big thanks to all at BQ, the police and volunteers.