This very scenic ride takes us on the eastern side of Clifton, along the New England highway for a short spurt before turning right onto Heifer Creek Road to Pilton. It is advisable to take plenty of water and refreshments as there are no facilities to purchase even a cup of coffee prior to Nobby.
There is one decent hill to climb on this section but our crew seemed to manage it without too much drama and the panoramic western views at the summit make it all worth it anyway. Apart from the views, the bonus is the glide down from the summit and due to limited traffic and good bitumen surface, a reasonable speed can be attained and I think it makes for a great heart starter when it is early on in the ride and all riders are fresh.
We took a break at the Pilton Hall which has a nice shady veranda on one side which was a welcome respite due to the temperature. I feel sure that the owners of the hall wouldn't object as long as you respect their property and don't leave a mess for someone else to clean up.
After our break, we travelled along Manapouri Road, west towards the New England Highway, where once again the rural vistas are plentiful and afford many opportunities to stop and take photos.
Care has to be taken on entering the New England Highway where fast moving rather large transports appear at regular intervals and can be quiet daunting for novices when you feel their slipstream as they pass. However, you need only endure this inconvenience for 1km before a sharp right turn into Nobby Connection Road brings you back onto a quiet country road once more.
Sorry guys, I neglected to tell you about this hill but I figured that all the muscles had loosened sufficiently by this time and that it wouldn't phase you at all. What a great opportunity for another photo stop. From here it was all downhill to Nobby.
Nobby is a small village with a pub and general store where we had a choice of sandwiches and hamburgers and a well earned coffee or a counter lunch and an equally well earned beer. The girls had an added pleasure of browsing through the jewellery etc. in Berkana Crystals.
As there was a steady north easterly breeze on our rear flank for the final 10 km back into Clifton, it was no time at all until we were packing up for the return journey to Cleveland.
Surface: Sealed road all but the last 11km
Difficulty: Easy/medium. You do need a suitable level of fitness to ride some of the hills.
Bicycle suited: All types.
I'm sure that everyone enjoyed our 2 day tour of the Darling Downs and although this was the first short tour undertaken (we do a 5 day + tour once a year, this year was East Gippsland Rail Trail in Victoria, Australia and next year we are off to Hawkes Bay in the Napier region of the North Island of New Zealand). With the positive feedback I received on this short tour, I feel sure that others will be just as successful.
Having the night away enables the group to interact and get to know each other further and in turn will help strengthen the group.
Cheers and safe riding,