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  1. #1
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    Social XC rides - Victoria

    Hi all,

    There has been some discussion building amongst a couple of groups (like on rotorburn) about starting a non-club-based social ride group.

    The proposal is that anyone can suggest a ride (venue, date, time, grade/ability) and we will cross-post these rides with the aim of letting all interested riders have an opportunity to try new trails, meet up with others, and just ride bikes in company generally.

    This thread is aimed at those people here on MTBR who are looking to guide or attend group rides in Victoria.

    We hope to run rides in all the good legal areas (You Yangs, Lysterfield, Buxton, Erica, Wombat, etc) and also get some interest - of the right kind - in the more grey areas (like Smiths Gully, Plenty Gorge, Blackwood, etc).

    A webpage has also been set up with details of upcoming rides, so you don't have to search the forum for details: MTB Melbourne | A place to find planned social rides. Please post a comment if you are interested in attending (yes/no/maybe/if I can be ar$ed).

    There's also the obligatory facebook page, for those so inclined:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/116765471797477/. Please let me know if you'd like admin access.

    This was the starting point. See the reply by pistonbroke for what we think is a really good idea.

    We are also hoping to adopt the following standard for rating rides by rider ability:

    Level 1 (White): Have ridden a mountain bike for at least ten times, are capable of controlling bike speed and direction on smooth doubletrack and rolling singletrack trails.
    Would embrace more riding time.

    Level 2 (green): Have been mountain biking for at least one year, can climb and descend under control on moderately steep singletrack with loose rocks.
    Can ride with mild exposure at times.

    Level 3 (blue): Have been mountain biking for over two years, are confident riding all types of singletrack, are able to ride small drops and jumps
    and descend technical steep sections including rocks drops and uneven roots. Can ride confidently with exposure.

    Level 4 (black): Have been mountain biking for over five years, can ride very technical trails and including jumps, drops and narrow elevated trail sections.
    Can ride confidently with exposure.

    We plan to give some separate indication of proposed tempo of the ride and duration. for each event.


    Cheers,
    Emerson
    Last edited by emerthis; 06-12-2012 at 05:45 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks Emerson. It will be good to get this up and going.

    FYI...the parallel rotorburn discussion has now moved to the "Melbourne Social Rides" thread in the Watering Hole Victoria subsection.

    I can't post a link as I only have lowly status in this forum due to lack of activity.

    Cheers, Ben

  3. #3
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    For those without a working knowledge of rotorburn, look at this link.

    Interest is growing already!

  4. #4
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    So here are some suggestions for weekend trail rides:

    Buxton (haven't ridden it yet - one report says 30-odd km of trails)
    You Yangs (you can spend the whole day on various bits of trail, from fast, flat singletrack to full-on DH madness)
    Lysterfield (haven't ridden there either - reportedly pretty flat and very busy)
    Erica (no idea)
    Forrest (reportedly brilliant - about as far away as Erica)
    Wombat (well-groomed trails, mostly not too steep, 18km standard loop - but there's a lot more out there which I need some guidance to navigate)
    Warramate (never been there, noted from Yarra Ranges MTB group)
    The Pines at Castlemaine
    Plenty Gorge (10 to 25km of pretty technical singletrack - not for the faint-hearted!)
    Yarra Trails epic (all the singletrack from Richmond to Eltham - about 30km)

    And this rating system has laso been suggested:

    Also a ride/rider grading system works well, with detailed description of what to expect on each level of ride. Something like:
    Level 1. Absolute beginners. Dirt rides and bike paths. Lots of help and instructions given. Lots of regroups and rest breaks.
    Level 2. You know how your gears work and may be ready for some easy trails and easy single track. Nothing too technical. Still plenty of help given and regular regroups.
    Level 3. You can ride most trails and single track. May be some big hills to climb and some flowing single track descents. Ride may be longer in duration. You are expected to be self sufficient with tools and spares.
    Level 4. Ride will be ridden at a fast pace with few breaks. You are expected to ride technical trails and climb mountains. Ride may last all day and cover lots of kays.
    Level 5. Hard core epic rides. Only for fit confident riders. Ridden at race pace over long distances. May be multi day long haul rides over tough terrain.

    This is only a guide but works well. Feel free to change/scrap it as you please. What I can tell you is, the most popular rides will be level 2 and 3.
    All rides should be free. But everyone pays their own way for food or accommodation if needed.


    I also agree with the suggestion that we will need to create a calendar page for scheduled events. I'd best start my research...

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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    You know I'm in, mate!

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    In terms of trails....

    Lysterfield - very prone to damage from wet weather...there is a good amount of flat singletrack that provides for a decent spin...the new "follow me" trail is more technical and provides a bit more variety
    Forrest - I've ridden these trails quite a bit...they are very good...2 seperate trailheads...a great variety of very well signed singletrack
    Erica - a great variety of singletrack with some very active trailbuilders...a decent amount of elevation too...well worth the trip
    Mt Buller - unfortunately, this is now off the cards until later in the year...but it is, without doubt, my favourite place to ride. In fact, I'm keen to do quite a few day trips and longer trips to ride the alpine areas.
    Blores Hill - I keep hearing good things about this place...I'm told it has very well groomed flowing singletrack...but, I'm yet to ride it

  7. #7
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    I won't be able to ride anywhere away from home at all this weekend, unfortunately - but I am always happy to show smaller groups my backyard trails.

    From memory, Smiths Gully should handle water pretty well, too - but it will be copping a bucketload right now, and our bikes might not be so happy about the mud.

    Buxton might be a good start - being not _too_ distant, a proper MTB facility with signposted and mapped trails, a bit north of most of the deluge - and unfamiliar to most of the group I have ridden with - though I really want to come along on that one, soon.

    Perhaps You Yangs for a kick-off? Again, reasonably close, well-mapped and easy to find, with something for everyone. A big group could split in two according to motivation and ability, to take on different parts of the park.

    How is the weather looking for the next couple of weeks? This will have a big impact on our initial event.

    I do like the other suggested rating system better, too:

    Taken from the "Big Mountain Adventures" website is this technical rating:
    Level 1: Have ridden a mountain bike for at least ten times, are capable of controlling bike speed and direction on smooth doubletrack and rolling singletrack trails.
    Would embrace more riding time.

    Level 2: Have been mountain biking for at least one year, can climb and descend under control on moderately steep singletrack with loose rocks.
    Can ride with mild exposure at times.

    Level 3: Have been mountain biking for over two years, are confident riding all types of singletrack, are able to ride small drops and jumps
    and descend technical steep sections including rocks drops and uneven roots. Can ride confidently with exposure.

    Level 4: Have been mountain biking for over five years, can ride very technical trails and including jumps, drops and narrow elevated trail sections.
    Can ride confidently with exposure.

    I think a seperate fitness rating needs to give suggested tempo of the ride and duration.


    Agreed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by emerthis View Post
    From memory, Smiths Gully should handle water pretty well, too - but it will be copping a bucketload right now, and our bikes might not be so happy about the mud.

    Buxton might be a good start - being not _too_ distant, a proper MTB facility with signposted and mapped trails, a bit north of most of the deluge - and unfamiliar to most of the group I have ridden with - though I really want to come along on that one, soon.
    Smiths Gully is pretty good during wet weather apart from a couple of spots. Can't ask for much better during Winter though.

    +1 for Buxton. Again, not too bad in the wet from my experiences. A bit wet on the lower trails along the creek but most stays ok.



    Quote Originally Posted by benketch View Post
    In terms of trails....

    Blores Hill - I keep hearing good things about this place...I'm told it has very well groomed flowing singletrack...but, I'm yet to ride it
    A good write up about Blores in this month's AMB.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by benketch View Post
    I'm keen to do quite a few day trips and longer trips to ride the alpine areas.
    Me too! I'll hold you to this later in the year!!

  10. #10
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    Possible first 2 rides:
    Saturday 16th June @ You Yangs
    Sunday 15th July @ Buxton

    Hold the first 2 rides nearish to Melbourne and then move further afield later.

    Sound okay?

  11. #11
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    Corner Man system

    Another great suggestion:

    The corner man system, it works like this.
    Ride leader stays at the front. This is usually the person organising the ride, but does not have to be.
    Tail man always stays at the back. Usually an experienced rider who can help others with any problems.
    All other riders stay in between the lead and tail riders.
    When the ride leader gets to an intersection, he waits for the next rider in the group to come along. He then tells that rider to stay there, this is usually just done by pointing at the ground and the following rider acknowledges with a nod or a wave.
    That rider is now the corner man. He should point his bike in the direction of travel that the ride leader took off in. HE STAYS ON THAT CORNER UNTIL THE TAIL MAN COMES ALONG AND WAVES HIM ON. HE NEVER LEAVES THE CORNER.
    This system works really well at keeping the whole group moving. It prevents the slowest riders from feeling like they are holding the group up. They get to feel like they are in the pack. It also allows gun riders to open the taps between corners and try and pass as many riders as they can. Slower riders also get the benefit of seeing how better riders ride. Remember, this is not for racing, so if the faster rider is held up a little, it is of no consequence.


    Please note that the terms 'he', 'man', 'him' etc are all for illustrative pusposes only - certainly not a requirement for all leadership candidates to be male.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by benketch View Post
    Possible first 2 rides:
    Saturday 16th June @ You Yangs
    Sunday 15th July @ Buxton

    Hold the first 2 rides nearish to Melbourne and then move further afield later.

    Sound okay?
    You Yangs Saturday 16/6/12. 9.30am. Kurrajong/Stockyards and difficulty grading TBA.

    Adding Smiths Gully on Sunday 1/7/12. 9am. General store. Difficulty grade 3 for morning loop, with optional extra grade 3 loop afterwards. PM me for my mobile number.

    Buxton MTB Park Sunday 15/7/12. 10.30/11am start-time to be confirmed and difficulty TBA.

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    Good work Emerson. Am already booked for the 16th but if that falls through will join in.

    Cornerman works well (with dirt bikes) when there is a mix of rider abilities and the trail segments between intersections are short, allowing faster riders to get a good run in. It also reduces the need for the leader to be the fastest rider. As the leader you can always position a rider that catches up to you on an imaginary corner, if you must...

    Levels, in single words:

    1. Novice
    2. Apprehensive
    3. Confident
    4. Aggressive
    5. Expert

    Regular weekend riders will typically plateau at level 3. There won't be many level 5 rides!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowpat View Post
    Good work Emerson. Am already booked for the 16th but if that falls through will join in.

    Cornerman works well (with dirt bikes) when there is a mix of rider abilities and the trail segments between intersections are short, allowing faster riders to get a good run in. It also reduces the need for the leader to be the fastest rider. As the leader you can always position a rider that catches up to you on an imaginary corner, if you must...

    Levels, in single words:

    1. Novice
    2. Apprehensive
    3. Confident
    4. Aggressive
    5. Expert

    Regular weekend riders will typically plateau at level 3. There won't be many level 5 rides!
    Thanks, mate - it's gaining momentum nicely. Fingers crossed it evolves into a thing of its own volition, then I can kick back a bit and reap the benefits of many opportunities to go riding socially. Meanwhile...

    I agree with your summary of ratings. We don't want to put too much focus on that aspect, or any perception of draconian rules - but it will be nice for newer riders to be able to identify which events will suit them best, and for others with more experience and less fitness (like me) to not be constantly chasing the group beyond my own ability.

    There may not be many Level 5 events - but I am hoping that eventually this group will grow to encompass such rides, and for those riders who feel so inclined to both post and attend them.

    Meanwhile, Gorge traffic is increasing =)

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by emerthis View Post
    Thanks, mate - it's gaining momentum nicely. Fingers crossed it evolves into a thing of its own volition...
    It'll go pffffttt without leadership...you know that!

    Yeah levels...might be something to be said for sticking with the standard mtb grades: green/easy, blue/intermediate, black/advanced. Add white for novice and double-black for expert if you like. No need to reinvent the wheel?

  16. #16
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    Plenty Gorge ride tomorrow? Kariboo Grove, about midday?

    I think this will most likely happen on Sunday. Bit wet out there today...

    Cheers,
    Emerson
    Last edited by emerthis; 06-08-2012 at 06:24 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by emerthis View Post
    Plenty Gorge ride tomorrow? Kariboo Grove, about midday?

    Cheers,
    Emerson
    Not me, mate. Off to see the Tigers continue their run towards September!

    Sunday at the Gorge for me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jossa View Post
    Not me, mate. Off to see the Tigers continue their run towards September!

    Sunday at the Gorge for me!
    3pm at Kariboo. There may be a few of us, depending who shows up.

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    Facebook group has now been created:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/116765471797477/events/

    Feel free to jump in, and hit me up for admin access if you like.

    Cheers!
    Emerson

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    Well, it was a beautiful morning out at You Yangs MTB park on Saturday. 5 of us ended up meeting there for a ride which lasted about 3 hours. Only covered 22km, but it was hard work! We rode Track 5 to start with, then two DH trails (Cressy's & Trav's diamond) on completely inappropriate bikes. A couple of the lads baulked at Trav's Diamond, which I wasn't even game to ride all of myself, so when we met up at the top again we took the Link Trail over to Kurrajong side and rode the fun flowy stuff for a bit, then turned around and went back over the hill, finishing with another run down Cressy's and back along Track 5.
    Good day all up. Probably warranted a difficulty rating of 4, rather than 3, with the three black diamond trails we did ride, but we all came out intact, with no mechanical problems or flat tyres, and everyone grinning with enjoyment.
    Thanks to Ben for guiding the ride, and to all the others who came out!

  21. #21
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    Sounds like it was a good outing.

    I'm aiming to be at the Gorger for a night session on Wednesday, evening, obviously. Don't know what time yet, but will confirm closer to the day.

    Wal.

    P.S. I've requested to join the bookFace group too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldog View Post
    Sounds like it was a good outing.

    I'm aiming to be at the Gorger for a night session on Wednesday, evening, obviously. Don't know what time yet, but will confirm closer to the day.

    Wal.

    P.S. I've requested to join the bookFace group too.
    New lights came during the week so if everything falls into place this week I may request to tag along!

    Rode the Gorge today. Sure enough it started raining which made it another muddy mess. Five of my last six rides have been in the rain and I am over it! At least one other rider was out judging by the fresh tyre tracks. Big blocky tread, Minions maybe? Casper?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jossa View Post
    Minions maybe? Casper?
    Not me.

    The Intense has had a long rest, too many holidays and time off the bike, but the Ralphs just don't have enough grip to get up the hills...plus they've got zero grip on the rocks. I think the Intense has to come out of hibernation, I've just got some manning-up to do...

    Might join you on Wednesday.

  24. #24
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    I'm probably the only other full-time minion rider around as well as the cowpat, and it's not me either due to total lack of motivation to get out on the bike lately (house is currently taking up all my time).

    I'm keen for a Wed nite ride. Lights are currently charging, including my recent eBay purchase: a MagicShine Cree XML T6 for a whopping $37 delivered from HK. It's just a bit brighter than my SSC P7 (which looks identical) that cost a whopping $80 a few years ago. The tech in this area is getting ridiculously cheap these days.

    Waldog if you can't make it to PG I'd be up for a lap of your lower yarra trail circuit.

  25. #25
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    Update.

    Hoping to be at the gorge at around 1900 tomorrow, traffic dependant.

    Bring on night time rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldog View Post
    Update.

    Hoping to be at the gorge at around 1900 tomorrow, traffic dependant.

    Bring on night time rocks.
    OK cool 7pm we can do. Hope it's not quite so cold as tonight, but we will manage.
    Kariboo Grove (the usual meeting place)?

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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    I'm in.

    I hope the Gorge is still intact after our little seismic event!

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    See you there.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowpat View Post
    See you there.
    [sets reminder to bring your roll of dbl sided velcro that I haven't returned since last year]

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    yip, kariboo.

    We have quite the little gathering coming along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuclear_powered View Post
    [sets reminder to bring your roll of dbl sided velcro that I haven't returned since last year]
    Off topic..... but this sounds rather dubious......

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldog View Post
    Off topic..... but this sounds rather dubious......
    Your smutty nurse-brain would go there ...

    Just been outside trying to run in 2 sets of pads ... mighty effin windy! Hope we don't have to clear too many trees (or have any fall upon one of us).

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    We had six turn up for our Plenty Gorge ride last Wednesday - great fun in the dark!

    There is some interest in the idea of a partners and families ride day, perhaps with BBQ lunch. Suggestions floated so far have been Lysterfield and You Yangs (Kurrajong side). Given that the weather isn't very encouraging at the moment, I thought we should aim to do this in Spring. This will cater for entry-level riders, and provide a good opportunity to meet everyone properly. Please indicate your preference for location and timing in reply to this message.

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    Got out early yesterday to Smiths Gully. Most trails in very good nick despite the rain a few days prior.

    Pretty good forecast for this week and for Sunday.

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    Sounds like it will be a good day. Seems likely we should have about 10-12 along for the ride. Hopefully some decent weather will entice a bigger turnout, but even having just a few riders along is worthwhile for me. (I just need someone else there to make me look like I know what I'm doing!)

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by emerthis View Post
    We had six turn up for our Plenty Gorge ride last Wednesday
    Might get out again on the north side tomorrow night if anyone is keen.

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    I should be home in time for that, and the weather is looking good at the moment. Thursday night shop ride will also be on from Cycle House in Para Rd at 6.30pm.

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    Can't make it tonight. Maybe next week.

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    Smiths Gully ride 1/7/12

    Smiths Gully was a blast. Fair turn-out of 15 riders too! Only one broken chain (quickly fixed) and my cleat slipping out of place held us up mechanically, so I say thanks to everyone for having their bikes in good running order.

    It's hard work out there. 21km over 1 hour and 20 minutes riding. Plenty of stops were had to allow everyone to recover and regroup, but the trails we rode held up brilliantly in the wet, and we managed to finish up just before the icy rain came in =)

    Thanks to those who helped organise the ride, Ben & Simon for keeping the group together, and everyone else for turning up and having a great time!

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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    MTB Melbourne Buxton ride, 15/7/12

    Despite the weather looking fairly ominous, and some pretty low temperatures, we had a very good turn-out of 14 riders for what was the first time at Buxton MTB Park for most of us. The majority of us met at Healesville for coffee and bakery goods, where we spent a lazy hour getting to know each other and chatting about rides, bikes, races, and le Tour.



    The traffic across the Black Spur wasn’t too bad, and within another half hour we were at the trailhead in Buxton. The group consisted of riders from as far away as Knox, with local knowledge courtesy of Will, Leith & Simon. Our first loop around the easier main loop took us almost 2 hours, as we had many stops to regroup, with much mid-ride chatting while waiting for the tail-enders. This included me, to ensure we all got around OK. Brad had a small issue with a little bridge near the start, but no harm was done and we continued on unaffected.



    The trails were very wet, but held up remarkably well to the downpour which hit them the night before. There was a lot of water on the trail but no really deep mud holes or really claggy gloop for the most part. The climbs were easy enough, with many switchbacks to keep it interesting and not too steep. The descents were often edged with berms and interspersed with small jumps and well signposted obstacles, making for great fun after the hard work of climbing.



    At the end of the first loop we returned to the carpark, where many of the riders called it a day, having other commitments to attend to later that day. It was good in that we managed a good ride and finished by lunch time, to get back to families and loved ones.



    Several of us continued out on a second, shorter loop. Somehow Ben managed to break his chain, seemingly through sheer power alone. This gave him ample opportunity to get his bike nice and clean by the time the rest of us got back. I survived the climb, but clipped a stump on the descent, and broke my chain, leaving me to freewheel the last few hundred metres back to the carpark, rather than standing around making repairs that we were fully equipped to handle.



    Will’s trace tells the tale of just over 18km ridden in total, and he was only moving for about 75 minutes – but it was a satisfying day, with the varying abilities well catered for on the day.

    The legendary Buxton Burger was sampled and devoured. The little roadhouse was cosy and dilapidated – but the food was fantastic. Perfect for a post-ride feed!



    See you all next time,

    Emerson =)

  41. #41
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    New rides being posted on the facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/events/328618283888766/

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    Forrest trails yesterday were mostly wet, but damn there is some good riding there!

    More rides are being posted on the facebook page, now with dates proposed up to the end of this year - monthly, rather than the overly hectic schedule of every fortnight. Jump in and make a suggestion if you have any good ideas - or just come along and enjoy the riding!

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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    New rides posted.

    16/9/12 - Castlemaine
    14/10/12 - Redesdale
    18/11/12 - Lysterfield family & partners day
    16/12/12 - Mt Buller

    Check out the facebook page linked above for more details.
    For those non-fb types, we are developing a website but it's a work in progress...
    Last edited by emerthis; 09-09-2012 at 04:59 AM.

  44. #44
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    New rides posted.

    20/01/2013 - Wombat
    10/02/2013 - Buller - after being postponed due to appalling weather last week
    16/03/2013 - Anglesea
    21/04/2013 - secret ride. TBA

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