Sunday 14th April 2013 – BEST ride – Hamley Bridge

3 riders on the ride – Andrew, David & myself. 45 km of dirt and gravel roads. The weather was perfect – light winds, cool and no rain. The road surfaces were also good with just enough light sand and dirt tracks to make it interesting without being challenging. I had some difficulty on the first couple of patches of sand, my bike was skitterish with the front wheel cutting in causing me to stop – reducing the pressure from 85 psi to about 50 fixed that but then I found I needed to do the same with the rear to get traction. We found a town that I had never heard of before, Barraba – a motley collection of houses but definitely a town as it had its own Post Office.

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We crossed the River Light through a deep gully with stone cliffs gouged out by the power of the floods that come down this normally sedate river every 20 years or so. Lunch was at the pristine town of Owen, once prosperous, still with its commercial businesses – stock agents, banks etc but only the hotel remains for community services. We had hoped to have a coffee from the general store, but it no longer exists. Street View on Google maps is way out of date as it shows it as a shop with advertising hoardings, but it has obviously been empty for several years. A quick sprint after lunch with a light tail wind saw us back at Hamley Bridge.

I do not trust these new fangled GPS with inbuilt maps and roads. Both Dave and myself got to Hamley Bridge in our cars with our GPS (different makes but obviously using the same data base) showing that the town was 6 km further on. Not a problem in the car but could have been on the bike.

Peter Harrison

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