winery > winery, mudgee

 

it’s summertime and if you’re wanting a weekend getaway out of sydney and into wine country, fuel up for a 4h road trip to mudgee.

now we’re approaching end of year, a therapeutic country cycle from winery to winery was on our agenda. with 40+ cellar doors, you can clean up just on wine tastings alone (remembering drink cycle responsibly – always have a plan b: walking)

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we picked up fat wheeled no gear cruisers at peiter van gent winery ($10/h, great port).

you’re on the main road mostly, upside is that it’s very flat. the wineries are all grouped together so hydrate yourself with white/red at lowe, peiter, short sheep, di lusso and robert oatley. di lusso estate is known for their ovens so get a bite there.

cows

the country skyline sure looks different from sydney. blue rolling mountains, never ending rows of vineyards, green and yellow fields spotted with grazing cattle.

flat track is true until you get to the outskirts, our final visit to lowe is on a hill. the track changes to gravel with grooves is like making very rough love.

worth it to get to lowe, they have their own little cycle course in the vineyard with lookouts to all of mudgee.

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don’t get drunk, cycle into a vineyard and eat all their grapes like black bike. very enjoyable summer cycle trip.

if you’re looking for a place to nest in mudgee, can recommend perry st hotel ($250/night) excellent location, fully fledged kitchen and bath salts included.

company: tipsy black bike

return distance: 11.6kms                

estimated time: 20 mins                         real time: 3h 30mins (lunch inc.)

x red bike

summer guide to the shimanami kaidō (しまなみ海道)

if you’re in japan, have two days and love the coastline, put this 60k cycleway stretching over 6 islands on your itinerary now.

august is peak temperature so if you’re going to jump on the shimanami kaidō, you’re going to sweat bucket loads. all the evidence that remains now is my stubborn watch tan. better to go in spring or autumn.

day 1 

take the train to onomichi, around (2 hours from kyoto). if you’ve got luggage, on the righthand side of the station is 50 lockers, you can pop it in there for 700 yen. it can be left there for 3 days but you’ll need to top up to open up.

you find the giant park car (5 min walk from station) with the bike rentals near the ferry port. standard road bikes available and you can grab them for around 2,000 yen (inc. deposit). take the ferry across to mukaishima. it’s generally agreed you shouldn’t ride the first bridge because it’s not bike friendly even if you’re lycra.

there is one very simple rule: follow the blue line on the road.

resting

innoshima and ikuchijima are the first two islands. if you’re travelling the japanese city’s, this will be a refreshing rural change. saying that, beware local islander gangsters.

the bridges are modern and you ride right over the ocean. the villages and towns you pass have farms and large gardens. mountains of lush green. bonsai trees and exotic red flowers. farm animals and beetles the size of soccer balls.

the way the inclines work is every time you hit a bridge, you’ll need to do a 500m-ish gradual climb. in the summer, we found it hot and hard. then you get the prize coming down from the bridge, flying down windy steep roads – very fun.

sun set beach

we stayed at sedota private hostel for $44 a night inc. a yummy homemade dinner. the room is run down, you’ve got traditional tatami mats, aircon, and a smelly toilet with lots of buttons. the thing that makes this place is the new timber and stone onsen bath the owner has built overlooking the ocean. note, you have to share and go in nude (worth it).

sedota is a popular overnight stop if doing it over 2 days (recommended) . your accommodation by sun set beach is limited, there’s more civilisation near the port. twilight sun set beach is utterly abandoned, like a once-popular-tourist destination, now the beautiful start of a horror film where everyone is indoors by 5pm. anyway, check it out.

day 2

early morning sun is more forgiving than midday sun, we left at 7am. beware wild hogs and also the local gangsters again. when riding down, you’ll come up close to a local helicopter and a lovely view of the village coastline.

flyyying down

my favourite bridge was riding over to omishima. it’s bright red and it’s got the best 360 views of islands, mountains and fishing boats that are half shy behind the fog. we rode along the coastline and there were some dolphins following us for a while.

my bridge to hakata

hakatajima’s got famous hakata salted vanilla ice cream. nom nom. take a break here, you can see the bridge to oshima which is the longest one. the last island is forest-y and not by the coastline. this is the last leg to shikoku in imabari city. leave your bike at the terminal and they’ll ask for your sign up form so don’t lose it.

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buses back were confusing. before you leave onomichi, make sure you grab the bus timetables as they are approx. once an hour and you have to take a highway bus, followed by one regional bus ( schedule 2hs back to station, 2500 yen).

another option is ferry but it takes longer, same with trains because the prefecture changes between the different islands. bus wins.

this is a super useful english brochure of the entire ride with attractions you can check out on route, and more importantly, where you can find the hakata ice cream. you can get this brochure at the info desk at onomichi station too.

arigato shimanami kaidō!

x red bike

strathfield > cooks river > brighton-le-sands > cronulla

how low can we go? cronulla beach is benchmark.

we decided to start afresh at strathfield, closer to cooks river. after a detour, we experienced an entire catalogue of weather. page 1-100: caught in heavy rain, drying off quickly, relentless sun, anemoi’s winds as the weather switched on and off until the end. lucky, we’re weatherproof.

we’ve done the route along cooks river to botany bay before. so this time, the highlight was the sandy pavement between dolls point to the beginning of taren point bridge. the only thing to worry about is being seduced into riding straight into the deep blue water.

true to any postcard, the white masts of george river sailing club claim this coastline. the sand dunes, only a thin barrier between you and every siren in the surrounding waters.

the george river sailing club

take a breath before taren point brigde and the end of bates bay rd. these are some hard inclines for a gear-less bike. go borrow greipel’s thighs.

we took the train back home. there is something quite satisfactory about riding to the end of the line. south sydney, tick.

cronulla beach

we didn’t make it this time but i’ve heard that kurnell is beautiful – is the extra 14k from taren point worthwhile and cruiser accessible ?

deets:

company: black bike whose legs got weak around me but toiled on regardless.

estimated road: 32ks, real road: 38.5 ks

estimated time: 2 h 2 mins, real time:  4.5 h ( inc. breaks )

x red bike