28 May 2021
Today we’re celebrating 29 years since our first date! What better way to celebrate than by exploring Strahan’s Ocean Beach on the bikes. The weather looked pretty good today, with patches of blue sky.
Before we mounted up, Dave checked our tyre pressures and gave the bikes a once over check.
Yesterday, we’d popped into the visitor centre for info on local walks and the ranger mentioned the trail to ocean beach was also a MTB trail. Excellent!
We set off through the back streets to the outskirts of town. Technically we were following a ‘highway’ but it was a quiet road leading to Macquarie Headland and had very little traffic.
We past a wooded beach cove with private jetties, past an old guy doing a wiz in the bushes. He looked up and we caught eye contact. Awkward.
The road headed steeply out of town before turning onto a dirt road at the top of the hill, where Dave was waiting for me. Passing an airstrip set into low coastal heath, the dirt track continued for a few kilometres.
A newly made gravel trail pulled right through a squat forest. I could hear black cockatoos and caught a flash of their black and yellow feathers.
“This is more like it” I said out loud to myself as the trail undulated twisted and turned through the dunes. It was wide enough to see ahead and have confidence that we wouldn’t hit a technical bit without warning.
The sound of the sea crept through the forest and abruptly revealed itself at the top of a rise in the trail. We dropped down a final hill and rolled to the end of the trail on the grassy dunes.
“Wow” I said to David who was waiting for me.
Riding out onto the broad and deserted beach (Tasmania’s longest) was exhilarating. Looking north, the sea shimmered silver in the winter sun and the dunes stretched out to the horizon beneath pale distant mountains.
The ranger back at the visitor centre, warned ‘If you go north, eventually you’ll reach sinking sand.’ Apparently 4WD get bogged there. So we knew to be careful.
Never having ridden on a beach before, I loved the feeling of the firm sand and smooth pebbles beneath my tyres.
I couldn’t believe how perfectly this day was turning out. It was so much fun! An impossibly good mood washed over me. Here we are, riding on a remote beach. In the western wilds. In the sun. On our epic adventure. Life is goooood!
Riding with one hand and filming with the other, I wanted to remember this feeling. I approached a toffee coloured creek flowing into the ocean and kept filming while riding one handed. I had a bit too much speed, and ended up riding through a fairly deep section. Freezing cold water sprayed everywhere. Up into the crank shaft and drive chain, up my legs; into my shoes. And I squealed like a girl. Chuckle.
Falling into a steady rhythm, we peddled along the beach for a few kilometres. Sea gulls took to the air as we passed, and the waves rolled in.
After a while we hit soft sand and felt the momentum being sucked out of the tyres. Time to turn back.
The creek hugged the base of the dunes and glittered in the sun. I paid more attention when crossing this time and chose a shallow line, slowing down to minimise the dousing.
Back where the trail entered the beach, we looked around half-heartedly for a place to sit and sketch. But our heart’s weren’t in it. So after a spot of beach combing, we mounted up and headed back into the forrest.
Pulling into the driveway back home, we balanced the bikes in the garden, rinsed off the sand ready for a little maintenance. We de-greased the drive chains, and scrubbed off a little rust that had developed and then changed over the type of lube, switching to one designed for wet conditions.
Cleaned, dried, lubed, and ready for action. Well, to be tucked back into their bedroom, until we ride again.
Ooooh doesn’t she look good against the pink house! ☺️