Monday 20th of August
Today was the day for a big bike ride for Keith and me. Linda decided not to do the ride as she wanted to keep Jean company and though the hills we had to climb would have been too much for her. Our planned ride was to the very picturesque town of Malaney in the mountains behind the coastal plains of the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, that entailed a very difficult climb, not particularly long, but very steep for most of its way.
So after breakfast Keith and I dressed in the requisite Lycra set off for Malaney. The first part of our ride was through the commercial area of Caloundra with lots of slow traffic, so this was a rather slow part of our journey. From Caloundra we headed out the main road from there to the Pacific Motorway, about 7 Km west of Caloundra. This was a good ride as it was basically flat except for the initial climb out of Caloundra and along a good quality road with smooth and wide verges for bikes.
We crossed over the Pacific Motorway and took to what was once the main Bruce Highway to Brisbane, now superseded by the motorway. It was a gentle climb from the motorway to the town of Landsborough along the old highway so we made quite good time. Lots of traffic, but again a good smooth verge for bikes. At Landsborough we turned off the old highway for the climb up to Malaney in the hills. Immediately on leaving Landsborough the climb began. Initially it was not too steep and Keith and I maintained a good speed on our bikes, but soon we came to a sign warning of ‘steep climb’ for the next 2 Km, and was it steep! Our average speed dropped from around 15 Kph on the lower slopes, to 7 Kph.
After the very tough 2 Km we noticed, much to our relief, the road flattening out. But unfortunately for us, this was but a false flat. We took the opportunity to rest on this false flat before proceeding onward up another 3 Km of very steep road. The average speed on this section dropped to just over 6 Kph, but Keith and I battled on with one stop to recover about half way up. Finally after about 3/4 of an hour from leaving Landsborough, we reached the summit of the climb. At the summit we had beautiful views out over the coastal plains.
It was now an 8 Km undulating ride through very picturesque farming country to Malaney. The road to Malaney was basically along a ridge line of the mountain range, so the countryside dropped off dramatically into valleys each side of the road. To the east we could see the coastal region around Caloundra and Mooloolaba and the dense urban development there, and naturally we could see out into the South Pacific Ocean. To the south we could see the volcanic peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains; so named by our intrepid explorer Captain James Cook in 1770 because of their resemblance from the ocean to glasshouses back in England.
All of us, Linda and Jean, and Keith and I, had arranged to meet in Malaney for lunch, and about 2 Km before us reaching Malaney, Linda and Jean passed as in Jean’s car. And about 5 minutes later we all met up in the main street of the town. Due to the large amount of energy Keith and I had expended in climbing into the mountains from Landsborough, we wanted to eat immediately. As it was lunchtime, we found a cafe’ and ordered lunch.
Malaney is one of those picturesque towns nestled in the rain forest covered hills above the Sunshine Coast, so it is a popular place for tourists. Being about 600m above sea level it is always cooler than down on the nearby coast. Due to its climate and picturesque countryside it has lots of cafe’s, craft shops, and other attractions catering for the tourist visitors.
Having refuelled, Keith and I set off for the return journey to Caloundra. We were quite looking forward to the return journey as we would, this time, be descending the steep road down to Landsborough. Thus after about 8 Km of undulating road we came to the summit to which we had climbed some hour and a half previously. It took Keith and I 3/4 of an hour to ascend the hill from Landsbotough. It took 7 minutes to descend, our maximum speed reaching 70 Kph. At that speed we occupied the road for our own safety, so cars following formed a peloton behind us. This did not seem to upset the car drivers following as the maximum speed permitted for cars descending is 80 Kph.
From Landsborough we had an easy descent along the old highway to the Pacific Motorway, then the flat ride to near Caloundra. Our last effort for the day was a climb of the hill leading into Caloundra, and from there back to the apartment. In all, Keith and I had a good day of riding, with an average speed of 18 Kph that included our steep ascent of the mountain range.