A Descender Down Under – Brisbane’s Mount Nebo Ride Report
by Bob Proulx
Riders: Bob P., Jason White
Once again work brought me to Australia for two weeks, but this time with the weekend in Brisbane. I had managed to find a couple of Brisbane bike shops on line that rented performance bikes and had arranged for a rental from Bike Obsession (http://bikeobsession.com.au). Since I would be arriving in Brisbane after shop hours, they had offered to deliver the bike to my hotel and would provide a helmet, water bottle, and repair kit. Unfortunately, they did not have shoes available in my size but I was able to confirm they could provide peddles to match my cleats.
I had also done some homework before heading to Oz to find local Brisbane rides and had identified Mount Nebo as being a Descender worthy ride. Not being too sure about the best route, traffic, and particularly riding on the left side of the road, I had connected with the Brisbane Cycling Club (https://www.brisbanecyclingclub.com.au). I posted a notice on the Club’s Chat room to see if I could find someone willing show a Yank around Brisbane and got a reply from Jason White, volunteering to meet me on Sunday morning and take me on the Mount Nebo ride.
The rental shop provided a Bianchi intenso equipped with a compact crank and an 11:25 cassette – not the best for climbing – but I was pretty sure from the climb profile that it would be manageable. With an adjustment of the seat height and reversing the stem to adjust the handlebar height the bike was ready – with only one worry remaining. The waiver form from the bike shop had warned me that all their bikes were set up to Australian standard – meaning front and rear brakes are reverse. Right hand is FRONT brake and left hand is rear!
Jason showed up at my hotel at 6am ready to roll. Fortunately, we didn’t have much city riding to do and the road leading to Mount Nebo passed close to my hotel. In 1-2 miles we were on the edge of the city and by mile five were into the climb. Jason had explained that the climb was many ups and downs, not a steady gradient. A fair number of 10%+ for 100 to 400 yards and some sections of 5-7% for longer, but mostly not bad. We had clear skies and a great temperature for riding. The road to Mount Nebo goes through a beautifully forested area of the D’Aguilar National Park so we didn’t see too many cars on an early Sunday morning but there was one section with Bellbirds. One of the most amazing bird calls I have ever heard. A very loud single ping, just like the ringing of a loud bell.
We reached the normal turn around point at the local post office. Continuing further would have made a bigger loop around to Mount Glorious (perhaps another time). We stopped at Jollys Lookout on the way back for a quick view of the valley below (see pics) and then continued the “descent”. While it was, indeed, mostly downhill on the way back, there were enough mini climbs retracing our steps to make it a bit of work.
We stopped for coffee close to my hotel and enjoyed a brief chat as the local church bells rang. I didn’t feel the need to heed their calling since I had just renewed my spirit with a ride in the great outdoors. Jason had a few kilometers to get home and I posted a 37mile ride with 4500ft of climbing. A great day in the saddle down under.