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2017 Chain Reaction Challenge QLD – Day 1 Blog

29 April 2017 Chain Reaction

Day 1 Blog, by Queensland Chairman, Michael Byrom –

Ten years ago I joined what was then a fledgling charity ride and rode my new red road bike from Canberra to Melbourne. The ride was called Chain Reaction. I was from Brisbane. Most others were Melburnians.

It was a damned hard introduction on all counts. I had never personally raised $5000 for any charity. I didn’t ride a road bike. I hated lycra. I swore off coffee shops where roadies languished. Trips to Melbourne departed through the Qantas lounge, not from the Crowne Plaza foyer in Canberra, on to a quiet bitumen road, chasing the back of the peloton while still trying to clip in.

Tell me then why I am still here? Engaged. Thrilled. Caught up in the planning, the training, the whole damn thing.

Well the answer might just lie in this week’s ride as 49 Queenslanders and their 20 support crew depart the Harbourview hotel, the magnificent harbour and bridge at their backs, and up ahead, unseen roads of 1000km and 7 days of pedal strokes and tyre tread faintly marking the way home. Lets take up the story….

Photo: CRQLD2017_Day 1_Peloton

We are now in Hunter Valley country more famous for wine, horses and coal than charity bike rides, although we did meet another group of riders today, heading north to Surfers Paradise.

This morning blue sky and yellow sun greeted each other, welcoming the Harbour Bridge spanning the peaceful waters of Sydney and our throng of riders ready to roll out from the hotel. It lived up to its name that hotel, Harbourview, with windows facing one of the truly great cities of the world. What a place to start a ride.

Photoshoots don’t just happen. Organising nearly 50 riders to behave on the first morning, to stand still, smile, take off helmets and glasses and pose is no easy task. But it was managed with panache as teams showed off new kit and bustled and belittled sock choice. Really John (Gowdie)?

In perfect, cool conditions we rode the Old Pacific Highway. Chatswood, Pymble and Hornsby passed under our tracks. We dutifully stopped at all the red-lighted intersections. There were many.

We rode to Brooklyn, funnily enough passing Kangaroo Point as we crossed the mighty Hawkesbury River to Mooney Mooney Point.

We criss-crossed the highway many times, a road with a crippled history of funding fights, bad accidents and slow progress. Despite our own slowish progress on bikes, this is insignificant to the fact the highway has been a work in progress for a century. The road was only fully sealed in 1958. A few holes have appeared since then.

Today was a short day in the saddle. We lunched at Mangrove Memorial Golf Course, but not a golf ball or mangrove to be seen. Lunch was relaxed, birthday cake appeared mysteriously for Pete Beckman’s lucky day on the bike and then we bussed it to Maitland for the first night.

A splendid day, safely ridden and satisfying, knowing that our fundraising target is coming well into view.

Today’s Stats

Distance: 92.5km

Elevation: 1,479m

Time in the saddle: 3 hrs 50 mins