Last Friday at my suggestion, three friends and myself set out to ride the old rail trail from Ferny Grove to Samford, North West of Brisbane. I had recently read an article by Leon Hill "Idyllic trails on the city's edge" in the March-April edition of Australian Cyclist. If I had stuck to his directions and with the added assistance of a Google map everything would have worked out O.K. Instead, the little guy on my left shoulder said "That's far too easy for you guys, after all, you call yourselves pathfinders, so make it a little more challenging, use a mountain bike trail map" and so I did.
The result was not good. I had no idea where we were but after following a number of pony trails, single track, fording numerous creeks, gullies and bogs, we eventually found our way out of the wilderness onto Mt. Glorious Road and from then on it was a breeze.
Trails like these expect a little more of their riders than just sitting in the saddle and listening to the bell birds as you do on well maintained, unsealed country roads. These trails require a little extra skill and I think that is why they are so much more fun to ride.
Oh! I forgot to add that two of the 'sensible' members of our party after having tasted a morsel of what was in store for them decided to split, stayed on the sealed road and arrived in Samford with no problems at all. In true Anzac tradition however, my friend Weatherman said to me "We came out here to ride the trails so lets do it.",
There is a memorial on the side of the road not far from the start of the ride, dedicated to Queensland's worst railway disaster and is a poignant reminder of how a happy occasion can turn into a disaster in an instant. It made me reflect on just how tenuous our lives are and how they should be lived to the best of our ability.
The mere factor of leaving the city to ride in the country is good for the psyche. less traffic, pleasant scenery and the cacophony of different sounds always makes it worthwhile.
Would I recommend this ride? ........absolutely, it was great fun and the coffee and delicious home made apple pie at the Black Sheep Caffe tasted all the better. I would however, advise the use of mountain bikes, if you wanted to follow a similar route to us.There are far easier rides to Samford and back to Ferny Grove Railway Station for the recreational rider. I suggest if you wish to ride in this area, take a look at a Google Map on your computer and devise your own route, making it as easy or as hard as you wish.
Cheers and safe riding,Jimmy Bee