Day 7. On yer' bike!

27 August 2021. Words by Andy Le Roy. Images Creolumen (iPhone today)

Clare is c o l d !

Luckily there’s good heating in our apartment. It’s all very comfortable and the water pressure gods are looking after us, which is always nice when you want to warm up at the end of a busy day. The swelling on my foot is going down and I could hardly walk this morning, which was a bit boring, so I headed to the doctor. It appears to be a couple of torn ligaments. Rest and elevation recommended and a script for some stronger ibuprofen. Time for a coffee at Daily Grind in town, then we headed to the bicycle hire place at the Riesling Trail (the ibuprofen had kicked in by then so we were all set!)

E-bikes are amazing. If you know someone who’s got one and/or is always banging on about them, there’s a good reason for that, and we discovered why today. The Riesling Trail follows the old railway line from Clare to Auburn (and another twenty k’s south for anyone really keen). After a quick run through on how to use the bikes and pat of the friendliest cat in the world, we kicked off from the bike-hire shed, turned right at the red tricycle, crossed the paddock then turned left for today’s adventure.

The rail line operated until the 1980’s until the Ash Wednesday fires buried sections of it out. Having never run at a profit, the line’s operation was terminated and the lines removed. The rail bed remains, and this is the trail people now cycle along, trekking from winery to winery, as they please. Any number of cellar doors in the region can be accessed from the trail, there’s also a cafe and a pub along the way.

Riding was very easy on the e-bikes. It turns out we road about 23 k’s each way today, which explains why our legs are a little bit tired. They’d be even more tired if we hadn’t had the assist feature on the bikes, which really help us to keep gliding along.

The countryside is really pretty around here. It’s a wine region, so lots of grape plantations, lots of green rolling hills and some yellow canola fields form part of the backdrop. Coasting along, we saw some cows and sheep. There were a couple of donkeys on one paddock and a couple of alpacas grazing with sheep in another. Someone’s rooster even crowed as we swept past its coop.

The fresh air and sunshine were perfect. Nothing could put a downer on this ride. Not even the magpie that swooped me, clicking its wings as it passed near my head, pecking on my helmet as it dive bombed me, its shadow visible on approach as it continued its campaign of chasing me out of its territory. Yes, I screamed. Pretty sure I didn’t swear, though. They can be scary things when they’re angry!

We reached Auburn in what seemed like no time at all, but in reality was somewhere between one and two hours. We weren’t really keeping track of time, which is always a nice place to be. There’s an old quarry just out of Auburn where blue stone was extracted and is present in some of the town’s buildings. It’s also present in buildings throughout Adelaide. Auburn is a cute little village with very well kept heritage buildings. The main road was quite busy with traffic flowing to and from Clare, so we decided to double back towards Clare and stop off at the Little Red Grape bakery and cafe. Keeping to our healthy eating plans, we filled up on a pie each and shared honey log cream bun and lamington, chased down by an iced coffee/iced chocolate, made in-house. It’s OK, we rode nearly 50 k’s today, so no damage done (?)

The ride back to Clare was a bit slower. The ride to Auburn, we realised, was slightly downhill all the way. We also had a bit of a breeze on the way back, so the e-bike was definitely a bonus. The gradient wasn’t too difficult. Being an old rail corridor, it’s quite flat. There’s a good balance of shade and sunny spots along the trail. Various cutaways reveal various rock types along the way. The Magpie was just as persistent on the way back, and the battery seemed to be losing charge a little bit too quickly.

Miraculously, both of our batteries went from one bar back up to two and we were back at the red tricycle before we knew it.

Time for a wee rest and recharge before we head out for Chris’s birthday dinner tonight, which will be a green salad and water, of course.

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