MUGGACCINOS Pedlars Sunday Cyclists - The Bullsheet

Scribe's rap up of Bundanoon in June - Brrrrr!!!

Who in heavens picked the Southern Highlands to visit in mid-June? And more so, why did 18 assumably able adults take-up the galoot’s invitation and cycle up hill and down dale, over the ensuing three days, often in seemingly freezing conditions.

Friday, 9 June - South West of Bundy, via Wingello-Hoodles Crossroad - 66kms
Alas, only 3 starters [someone had to hold down a day job], Pete, Sig and PJ, rolled out of the stately Bundanoon Hotel at 11am. It was clear and sunny, but the air felt as though you were in a deep freeze. Somewhere in the middle of the route was 15kms of off-road, which we thought would only last a few clicks. After an array of headwinds, we jagged one going the other way. It was along Bob’s Creek Rd and onto Sheepwash Rd where Pete and Siggy burnt rubber. PJ was registering almost 45 on the flat, but he was slipping further back. After almost 50kms we chanced upon Connie and Mark who’d clocked up an unimpressive 9kms on a leisurely jaunt from the Bundy pub, but still had the temerity to bag PJ on being unawesome. Shortly thereafter with a Peloton increased to five, we called in at the Sutton Forest Inn, and rapidly honed in on the only table which was fetching a modicum of sun, ‘cause our buns were all but frozen off. There wasn’t a lot of sun in the sun, but the pleasant dulcet tones of Van The Man crooning “Queen of the Slipstream” tempted you to want to order a bot of vintage Red, curl up underneath the log fire and hang the bikes. Around 2pm embarking upon the final 16kms leg back from Sutton Forest, via Exeter, the temp seemed to have dropped a bagful. Hence, it was full steam ahead and don’t spare the horses. An hour later we were sucking on Prima coffee back at the Post Office Café in downtown Bundy.

Steve Gunns and Annabell, who ride with Cyclops, arrived mid-arvo, followed by Brenda and Russell at dusk. A Kiwi friend of Vicki’s, Angela, equipped with her rusty old clunker, disembarked the 7:52pm train from Central in time to join us for din dins at the pub - a rapid realisation of just how cold it was after dark had put an end to any thoughts of sussing out the Southern Highlands’ restaurant scene.

Saturday, 10 June - Bundanoon - Fitzroy Falls - Kangaroo Valley - 95kms

Simmo and Nicky were on time, having rolled out of Castlecrag at 6:30. Ann Wilson arrived from Nowra smack on 9:30am and, notwithstanding her familiarity with the route, had no compunction in opting for the alternate “girlie” ride with Nicky, Helga and Angela, proffering that “my friends think you’re all crazy for cycling up Kangaroo Valley”. At 9:35am with PJ’s warning of how cold it got after three o’clock resonating more ‘n more like a broken record, the caravan of ten [Connie/Mark, Annabell/Steve, Brenda/Russell, Pete, PJ, Sig, Dieter] rolled off in pursuit of our scheduled Fitzroy Falls pit-stop. Steve/Annabell, not following Sig’s map, ended-up taking the circuitous route that added seven clicks to an already arduous day’s ride. Brenda/Russell, aren’t the types to make waves. Hence, they were happy to play follow the leader going the longish route figuring that “those two up ahead must know the way”. Smack on 11am, after 29.7kms [if you followed the map and 36kms if you were one of the dumboes], the first [Mark/Connie], arrived at Fitzroy Falls amidst warming weather - a step-up of almost a degree from the previous day, but importantly the cutting breeze was down. Five clicks later we were seemingly falling down the mountain at an ever increasing rate, which wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the damp spots, ‘cause of no sun to dry the blinkin' bitumen. Connie, Steve and Annabell went gangbusters, hell for leather stuff. Perhaps a case of no brain, no pain, however, they later contended over dinner that they had eased off the juice after sighting the initial wet patch. PJ and Mark were more circumspect. Fortunately, no one came a cropper and we re-assembled at Kangaroo Valley where the bakehouse looked bonza and the grub tasted grouse.

Erring on the side of prudence, we didn’t dally long in the Valley, notwithstanding it’s an awesome pretty spot to get lost in. Sig had told us that it was a 6K climb, although most of us figured that he was a tad conservative as that downhill had seemed to last forever and it was sheer. Hill rookies, Steve and Annabell, on their 1st mountain sortie with The Ms, didn’t know what some of us have painfully learnt about chain rings, not that we know much, except that you don’t want too many of those spiky teeth things on the small front steel disc that the chain grinds around, but as many spikes as you can on the rear disc adjacent to the spokes. That’s if you want to successfully scale hills like Kanga Valley without popping out ones kneecaps. In any event, we all made it back to Fitzroy Falls, but some were more whacked than others. PJ and Simmo had lied to each other most of the way up in a vain attempt to cajole each other that they had climbed further than they had. Hey, it worked. Once a year cyclist Russell, who lacks finesse but is patently effective, had a whinge when upon passing The Scribe heard him mutter to The Enforcer “we’re almost halfway”. Hitherto Russell had suspected that he was further up the dam climb.

The views off to the left of The Valley as the crew individually plugged his/her way to the top, were spectacular, but no one seemed to mention it back at Fitzroy Falls, as having completed the blessed climb was the only focus. At The Arrogant Bastard’s behest, the last to arrive, Smiling Assassin, checked out Annabell’s front cluster, ‘cause PJ didn’t think Annabell’s front small chain ring looked small enough. Upon peripheral examination, Sig extended his condolences to Tinkerbell, suggesting that it must have been a tough slog with a 42/26 her lowest cog, hardly a match for Nurse Constance’s recently fitted 36/28.

Don’t know why, however, upon re-grouping and rolling out of the Falls, albeit only about 1:30pm, the air temp had plummeted further. We all arrived back at Bundy, safe ‘n sound, with a commendable 95kms on the dial, only to find that the Girlie Group had peeled off 73kms doing the “Scenic Route”. Helga had excelled and was keen to tackle Kangaloon the following day.

Without naming names, one Welsh chap figured he’d earned a few cakes. Hence, it was over to the Café de Railleur to wash down a few cream buns with fine Lavazza, and didn’t that striking brunette waitress set the joint off on a chilly June arvo.

Sig had previously booked din dins that night at the Post Office Café for 7:30pm.

Dinner Sa However, that was pre-Kanga climb, so Simmo made a management decision to push our booking fwd to seven bells, fearing that we’d all be out-to-it by then. Lamb shanks soup proved popular, with the contingent of 18 in fine form. No one noticed that Natalie Merchant’s Tiger Lily and Sarah McLoughlin’s Mirrorball, provided the background ambience stuff, however, we paused for a moment to listen to Cows with Guns, ‘cause it was the label of the next day’s ride.

Sunday, 11 June - Burradoo to Robertson loop - 65kms 

Sig had displayed prescient perception the previous night by moving our rollout site from our pub to the familiar Burradoo parking spot where we have commenced previous assaults on Kangaloon’s Cardiac Hill. An unabashed Nicky announced that she was done with cycling and was going shopping and Angela. The rest of the previous day’s Girlie Group, Helga and Ann, together with Wendy, who had driven up from the Gong, prepared for our assault on Kangaloon. Within a few secs of departing our cars at Burradoo, pushing the pedals into a moist, swirling headwind, rolling due east twds Robertson under sullen skies [we were rolling East, the headwind was heading West] it was apparent to all of us that this was a decidedly dastardly day, and we were in for a bugger of a ride.

Around midday, having crawled up Cardiac Hill, that old yellow wooden building on the right as you roll thru Robertson, the one with the big sign Old Cheese Factory, was a welcome sight. Management of the Pig ‘n Thistle Café must‘ve remembered us from an earlier visit, ‘cause we were quickly shunted to the room out the back, well away from the other guests and the grandiose cane chairs. Actually it was the room at the front and the main entrance to the joint, but with a chilly breeze outside, and wedged in any which way, other guests had to settle for the quaint entrance. The John was out the back somewhere which necessitated a few of the girls ruggin' up big time, prior to running the gauntlet, such was the outside temp after one had peeled off a few layers. To the casual observer, male chivalry ain’t our go, ‘cause Sig, Mark and Simmo had tenancy over three seats up against the fire place and Dieter and PJ had secured the window seat occasionally collecting a warm burst of rays when the sun re-booted. The women, about five of ‘em, were caught betwixt ‘n between. Soup was all the go. Sig provided some encouragement when announcing that the Scenic Tourist Road, whilst a few Ks longer, didn’t contain any ball-terror, quad draining climbs.

Frank ‘n Fiona made their belated arrival mid-arvo and secured the snooker table to bump a few balls around, as testimony that they got in some exercise, ‘cause they hadn’t packed their treadleys and passed on tomorrow’s 9km bushwalk.

With Angela jumping a train back to Syd, 17 frost bitten Muggs ‘n friends settled in for the three course meal in the Main Dining Room shortly after 7:30pm, amidst the patter of a horde of little feet, ‘cause there was a 40th b’day party, and the guests must ‘ve all previously been advocates of “procreate or perish” or were tykes.

Monday, 12 June - Bundy Pub to Bundanoon Creek - 9kms 

Steve ‘n Annabell, Simmo ‘n Nicky, and Delhi bound Frank ‘n Fiona said their bye-byes, and the rest of us rugged up for a precipitous 9K bushwalk which Nowra local “Annbivalent” selected to the Bundanoon Creek, via Constitution Hill [a not insignificant road climb which we had to negotiate after we’d done the bushwalk in the Morton National Park]. An hour later after the two bionic bums, Sig and Peter Travolta, had opted that five Ks round trip would be enough, Russ, Brenda, PJ, Backpacker Bruce and Annbivalent commenced the real decent. We soon twigged that up until then we’d merely been negotiating the gentle slopes, or was it the warm up. The next few Ks were tricky, slippery stuff with Bruce and Russ each taking tumbles against terra firma.

Around midday, after one more visit to the Bike Shop Café, which sells a lot of coffee ‘n cakes, but very few bikes, we said our good buys and vamoosed Bundanoon in June.

Postscript: PJ passed on everyone’s’ thanks to Publican, David Kerrigan, who apart from owning a grand, stately mansion, maintained in fine fettle, proved to be an accommodating proprietor. [Ian M had to bail out at the 11th hour feeling butcher’s hook and Frank ‘n Fiona initially booked for 3 nights but only arrived for one night. However, the Publican refunded Ian his deposit and our two Indian bound expats only had to pay for the night they stayed.]

Apologies: Sara/Greg who couldn’t steal themselves away from a warmer climate at Laurieton and Ian who is still butchers.

Phil Johnston   13 June 2000