Thursday, 14 June 2012


A young cat posing in the grape vine at Back Plains
This ride is easy and within the scope of any cyclist who can ride 40k.The entire ride takes place on sealed country roads, there is little traffic and the riding conditions are excellent.

Clifton, Darling Downs, Qld.

On leaving Clifton, head towards Nobby on the Felton - Nobby Road. At Kings Creek, turn left into Bellview Road, after riding a short distance turn right into Gillam Road.

Keep on this road until you reach the junction of Felton - Nobby Road, turn left and ride until you reach a sign with Pittsworth to the right and Back Plains to the left.

Having turned left at the sign "Back Plains" you continue on your journey through this little hamlet. There is nothing here to alert you that you are travelling through Back Plains apart from the sign. The old telephone exchange and general store have long gone, but the school built in 1879 and the local hall which has been the social hub of local farming families for many years are still standing proud. Although the old farming families are diminishing rapidly in the area, they still leave a trace and I dare to say that the old cemetery could tell you many a ghostly yarn.

A Back Plains Farm

Interestingly enough, I happen to be in possession of the "Back Plains School's Centenary Tucker Book" comprising of recipes supplied by local families, and my wife, a descendant of the early German settlers happily agreed to bake a Banana Date Loaf from a recipe out of the book.

Banana Date Loaf

Old Recipe

The Humble Banana

Banana Date Loaf

I suppose if you love city scapes you may find this ride boring, but to me, just the openness of the plains inspires me. I love colour and I can see why the early Irish picked this area to settle. Having been lucky enough to visit the Isle of Colour, Ireland, and in particular, Tipperary, there is a great similarity of landscape. I think I would get my rear end kicked if I didn't mention here that the district was equally inhabited by German immigrants as well and both the German and Irish names are prominent to-day.
Tipperary, Ireland

I have completed this ride a number of times and never seem to tire of it. As the seasons change, so do the colours. The changes in temperature between summer and winter is to the extreme and this changes the colour contrast. My favourite time to cycle in these parts is in the Autumn and Spring, the colours are so much softer.

What a specimen
The ghost of a tree keeping watch over a paddock of sunflowers

Autumn colours

Spiritual seeking is treasure hunting (metaphor, unknown author) and I feel as if I am riding in a very special zone, whether that is spiritual or not, I have no idea. Whether it is due to the lack of traffic and urban noise with just the bird calls, the lowing of cattle and maybe a far off sound of a tractor working in the paddocks, there is only the noise of my tyres rolling freely on the road. Maybe it's nature at it's best

Plane on Bange's Airfield

Google Map of Clifton to Back Plains and Return

From here on in, it's just following the road as it meanders back to Clifton Leyburn Road where you turn left and enjoy the ride back to Clifton. Just as a landmark, Bange's Airfield is on Clifton Leyburn Road and if you don't come across the airfield you know that your in trouble and it might be time to look at a map.

I hope this post inspires you to get on your bike and make the effort to make this ride. Better still, make a week-end of it, as there are plenty of other local destinations to ride to.

Length: 42K
Bicycle required: Suitable for most
Skill level: Low
Level of fitness: Low to Moderate (It is an easy ride except on a windy day)
Accommodation: Hotels & B&Bs
Maps: Google, Bikely, local maps
Location: 40 mins SW of Toowoomba on the New England Highway

Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee

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