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Omafiets Hawkesbury River Overnighter

Omafiets Hawkesbury River Overnighter

Prue and I joined the Omafiets Hawkesbury River Overnight ride for a fantastic weekend of cycle touring and camping. It was a great way explore Sydney's surrounds and meet new people.

Mat Hollingsworth
Mat Hollingsworth

5 min read

Prue and I joined the Omafiets Hawkesbury River Overnight ride for a fantastic weekend of cycle touring and camping. It was a great way explore Sydney's surrounds and meet new people.

Every cycle touring trip should begin with careful preparation, including bike maintenance and novelty-sized pizza.

We departed Central station at 08:00 am. Prue and I didn't know anyone before joining the ride. So we just showed up on the train platform and looked for a group of cyclists.

We soon met Suzie, Johnny and their young son Henry and their excellent 'family tandem', but saw no one else.

On the train ride, we had a great chat and learned about previous Omafiets rides and the Sydney bike scene.

After arriving at Windsor station we met the rest of the group, it turns out that we were a group of about 30 people. After a quick round of introductions we set off at 10 am.

Day 1

From Windsor Station we road along the road to the Sackville Ferry. The first few hours were a bit am eventful for Prue and me.

First off we took a wrong turn because I failed to read the paper map correctly and I had left my GPS on overnight, and it had gone flat. So followed the highway for one kilometre in the wrong direction and had to back track to the farm road before Wilberforce. Ollie met us at the intersection and pointed us in the right direction along Kings Road. I also dropped into the supermarket and got some new batteries for my GPS.

Then while descending from Wilbeforce to the Sackville Ferry, I hit a bump in the road, and my front right Ortlieb pannier bounced on the rack and snapped the mounting clip. The pannier flew off the bike into the centre of the road, luckily no cars we passing at that exact moment, and there was enough time to retrieve it before it was flattened or caused an accident. I always carrier emergency zip ties, so a few minutes later the pannier safely fasted to the rack again. I also added several zip ties to the other pannier as a precaution.

We soon passed Tractor 828 but decided not to stop and then arrived at the Sackville Ferry and took a short trip across the Hawkesbury river. Immediately after the ferry, there was a short climb up to River Road.

Up until River Road, I was enjoying the ride but it wasn't anything particularly remarkable. Once we started along River Road, I immediately understood the appeal of this route. Quite, open and rolling roads, with its spectacular scenery over the Hawkesbury river and surrounding farmland.

We continued leisurely along the River Road for several hours, stopping intermittently for a snack and a break. Prue and I also chopped and changed between the small groups that had formed a long the way to try and meet as many people as possible. The ride was gentle enough and the road quiet enough that it was easy to chat as we rode. We had a great time cruising with Matt on his new Surly Krampus, Arlan and Jazz, Andrew on in beautiful Rivendell Bombadil.

Once we arrived at Wiseman's Inn Hotel, we were truly ready for a beer and feed.

As the sun started to drop, we caught the ferry across to Settlers Road and continued along, to the Mill Creek Campground in the remaining sunlight.

I had bought my portable speaker along so we enjoyed listing to Julia Byrne 'Natural Blue' as we rode.

Upon arriving Prue and I were very please do discover the bolognese sauce in our pannier had not exploded all over our sleeping bags from the broken pannier incident early in the day.

We set up our tents, cooked dinner and went to bed early and fell asleep listening to a podcast. Day one had been excellent; we're we looking forward to more.

Day 2

In the morning, we woke to an important decision. Do we return back to Windsor Station along the other side of the river, but more or less following the route from day one. Or, do we head onward to Ourimbah via Mangrove Mountain. Climbing Mangrove Mountain would be more challenging but after some negotiation and consulting of elevation graphs, we decided to continue to Ourimbah.

The morning riding was beautiful. It was so peaceful and calm along the river. It reminded me of the morning ride that I did along the Mosel river in Germany.

We took a morning tea break in Spencer at the Spencer Village Store. Mug-a-chino and an egg and bacon roll definitely hit the spot. However, the poor shop keep was a bit overwhelmed as the thirty of us arrived at the same time as a large group of motorcyclists. After some initial agitation, he came outside and thanked everyone for stopping by, but also thoughtfully suggested that we might let him know in advance next year so they can provide a special group discount and ensure that he had enough stock and staff.

And then we climbed. I was a good chance to properly meet and chat with Ollie and Gus whom I'd not really spoken to much the day before. Ollie was riding a slick Omnium cargo bike and Gus was on an enviable black Soma Wolverine, I bike that I'd been dreaming off since they were released.

Prue ascended Mango Mountian like a sure footed mountain goat! Some of the other riders even remarked at the pace that she was setting.

At the top of the hill we stopped for another break at Mangrove Creek. From there is was a fast and fun descent back to Ourimbah.

All in all it was a brilliant weekend full of fun riding and a fantastic people. We'll be joining next year's ride and many more Omafeits weekend rides.