It’s 6:25am and we pass through the start barrier on the Brisbane to Gold Coast 100km bicycle ride. The sun is rising steadily into the sky, casting long shadows across the road. Within a few hundred metres we are zipping down the South East Freeway busway. It’s a dedicated two-lane bus road that runs next to the highway for about 20km. The surface is amazing for cycling and it has short sections of tunnels in which we whoop and holler, creating a loud echo.
Mum, Dad and I started the ride late due to a misunderstanding about the start time. But we quickly start to catch up with other riders who are part of the almost 10,000 strong field. There’s all sorts of bikes out today: flash carbon fibre road bikes, steel framed beasts, full-suspension mountain bikes, touring machines, a kick-bike, teenagers on BMX bikes, women on step-through ladies bikes, recumbrants, folding bikes and anything else you can imagine. People are wearing everything from team lycra to shorts and t-shirts. Lots of feet are clad in clip-in cycling shoes, many in joggers, some in work boots, and even a few in thongs (I think Americans and Brits call them flip-flops). This is an ‘everything goes’ event at which the only mandatory requirements are some sort of bicycle and a helmet.
The coolest group of cyclists we saw were a team of about ten young men and women wearing big yellow rubber brims all around their helmets who were riding City Cycle bikes. These bikes are available for cheap daily hire from the Brisbane City Council. They have an internal 3-speed hub, adjustable seat, step-through frame, flat pedals and handy basket. It must have been tough to ride these bikes 100km but also a lot of fun.
The route is not a scenic one. After the fun of the busway we spent many kilometres riding through industrial and residential areas. At 40km we stopped at the first rest area where the organisers provided oat bars (I didn’t have one because they had too many numbers in them), apples, sports drink (I didn’t bother queuing for it because I had a bottle of my own) and water. I enjoyed my apple before setting off for the long hot section through the cane fields. This section is quite scenic and we enjoyed the ride here. In previous years I’ve struggled in this section but this year I’m feeling fit so I didn’t bonk or struggle at all.
By the time we reached the second rest stop at 80km, it was probably over 30’C and the few shady areas were crowded. The organisers provided us with fruit buns, bananas, Honey Shotz, sports drink and water.
Twenty kilometres later we made it to the finish line at The Broadwater. The last 5km took us along the water, which was beautifully clear and inviting. It was fantastic to see families picnicking, people swimming and fishing, dogs playing fetching sticks and boaters enjoying their craft. I felt strong as I finished the course and enjoyed riding across the line with my parents.
While we were riding down to the Gold Coast, Mum asked me whether she could ride home with me. I was surprised and pleased that she wanted to keep me company. We had a fantastic 51.1km ride home after the event. We rode at about 21kph, stopping to eat delicious fish & chips while overlooking a marina at Hollywell, for Mum to enjoy a coffee and some food at the Strawberry Farm at Pimpama, and a Gatorade at a petrol station at Yatala.
Slowly but surely all the usual landmarks that indicate our journey home up the highway passed us by until we cross the Logan River and only had about 2km to Loganholme, which was our destination (but is not where we live). We stopped at the bridge across the river to take some photos.
As fortune would have it, my partner drove up behind us as we rode into Loganholme. Mum was spent (I think 151.1km is about 50km further than Mum’s ever ridden) so we waved my partner down, put our bikes in her car (what a puzzle to fit both in there) and then got a lift home. It was a fantastic day.
Total: 158km cycle