AUTUMN, A MOSAIC OF THEM ALL >> Gawler Wheelers Group Ride Report: Saturday May 5th 2012

Gawler Wheelers-ROUTE42-Gawler-Gomersal-Tanunda-Lyndoch-Cockatoo Valley-Gawler-UNDULATING

Gawler Wheelers-ROUTE34-Gawler-Gomersal-Tanunda-Angaston-Greenock-Freeling-Gawler-UNDULATING

No. of Riders : 48



Ride Summary

What a fantastic way to spend an AWESOME AUTUMN morning…riding through the beautiful Barossa Valley! 48 riders turned up for the Gawler Wheeler events this morning to do just that.

I met today’s newbie, Rob, on the road to the start point when he pulled up alongside me in his vehicle and yelled I have been looking for you!” Hmmm…”can’t be the cops” I thought, so he must be a newbie who is lost! I responded “just follow me mate...all roads lead to the Gawler Wheelers”

There were not many there at 7.00am…maybe low numbers due to the very cold weather we thought?  Not the case….the numbers quickly built up! There was a big buzz in the crowd as people chatted about whether they would do the 100Km ride or the shorter 60km ride.

We all rode to Gomersal Road as one group. There the final decisions were required, and 17 brave riders elected to split off to ride the 100+km route through Tanunda, Angaston, Nuri, Greenock, Kapunda and Freeling. Whilst some who elected to ride the 100kms were used to this distance, for others it would be the first time riding over 100kms. One of those was a relatively new rider, Lyndelle, who gets a 10/10 for attempting the ride and completing it! A special mention to John Mills who assumed the TEC duties on this route and did a wonderful TEC job from all accounts. Those who rode this route will tell you more about the ride when they comment later however this comment from Darren may best summarise it: the first 50km was great, the last 50km was hard!” More detail later!

The 60km group had the luxury of time as we took it a little easier and meandered down to Tanunda, Lyndoch, Cockatoo Valley and back to Gawler. Even a broken frame was not enough to stop Gary (Star Cycles) from completing the ride!

Both groups had fantastic surreal rides today. Surreal because accompanying us all morning was the awesome autumn ambience….aka the MAGIC AUTUMN MOSAIC.


NEXT WEEK: On Friday night we will be holding our second Gawler Wheelers Track Night at the Super-Drome. Due to the Track Night and today’s long ride, on the Saturday we will be holding one big group ride over a shorter, but still challenging, distance. Full details will be posted on AC Events soon and YOU are welcome to attend both events. Today’s photo gallery follows:


Newbie Rob finally gets to the start point

Mark: “It’s cold, it’s dark and I should still be in bed!”

Love the bike David!

All of the GW girls love Barry

Darren….what is your favourite colour?

Pete signing up for the 100km ride

Entering Kapunda Road

Lyndelle looking slightly spent at the 5km mark….but she did go on the complete the 104km ride in fine style!

Kapunda Road Regroup

Gritting the teeth on Roseworthy Road

Michael (L) with newbie Rob who is really enjoying his first GW ride

Clive (R) with TECs Mick and Richard. (Richard is that THE WHISTLE in your mouth?)

Regroup under the awesome autumn sky ready to tackle Gomersal Rd

100km riders split off from the main group at Tanunda

Family bonding. Brothers John (JB) and Tony

The GW young ones: Brendan, Gundi, Jonah and Carmen

100km Group Peloton entering the Nurioopta to Angaston Bike Path

Pete’s workshop at Angaston on how to change two flat tyres in two minutes

Gary at Lyndoch rings the Helpdesk about his broken frame

Juz, back on the bike after her big crash last week on the Port Elliot ride, runs into two friends at Lyndoch (Denise and Phil).

Mark and Daniel chasing down Pete on the 100km ride. Get him??

Basking in the autumn sunshine at Cockatoo Valley

Tony holding up a 1966 newspaper article about him winning a race in a Gawler Junior Cycling Club event

Article close-up. By the way….46 years later Tony still always rides at the front of the bunch! You can see him in action at Friday's GW Track Night Event

Wilson and Pete arrive back from the 100km ride

What an awesome autumn ride! 104kms and 30.8kph average! (Darren).

Gawler Wheelers is all about comradeship, fun, fitness and chasing our dreams. Join the GW group on AC. Come on our rides. Contact details below. Until next week >> Cheers for now...Frank.

Next Gawler Wheelers Event Details (check the following links) :



§ Gawler Wheelers Events - History

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Well done Lyndelle, you must be really over the moon with you achievement.

I can only describe this a the blossoming romance between you and your Felt - it's beautiful to watch. :-)

You did a fantastic job on Saturday Lyndelle - well done.  I hope your muscles have forgiven you and it's not too long before we see you back out with us again. 

Another post on yesterday's ride from a more personal perspective. For me it was a trip down memory lane. Between 1974 and 1992 I used to belong to the Barossa Valley Gliding Club, based in the 'dry country', about 25km north east of Truro, at a little 'town' called Stonefield. I joined when I was just 21. So between driving to the club, through the Barossa, in my first car, and learning how to fly gliders, and in particular the skills of cross country soaring, the ride on Saturday brought back many fond memories. Here are few of them.

Firstly, the smell of that piggery on Gomersal Road. Even the glider pilots can smell it two thousand feet directly above! A lot of hot smelly air going up there. But not good enough to support a glider. Unlike the hot air given off by the stubble fires that the farmers used, to clear their fallow paddocks before working them up for the next crop. This used to be a widespread practice in the seventies and eighties. It has 'saved the day' for me several times when getting low, on a cool day, or an hour before sunset, when the thermals are weak. Very acrid. Sure enough, later in yesterday's ride, I smelt it again as we rode past a burnt paddock. Some farmers still seem to be using this method, even though most now regard it as counter productive for good soil health. I saw it on a grand scale a few weeks ago, on ride to the north of Kapunda.

Passing the road-house just before leaving the Tanunda main street - that's where I filled my 1962 EK Special Holden with DIESEL! Not that I found out until just before Nuriootpa, where it inexplicably stopped.

And that was right next to the turn-off for the bike track that we took up to Angaston. It was also very close to the car yard, Castle Motors, where I traded in my second car, a 1960 FB Holden, for a beautiful, near new, 1976 LX Torana, in 1983. That great car took me to many regattas over the next 15 years.

It was just north of the quarry on the climb out of Angaston, that I finally gathered the courage to do my first loop in my  vintage glider, a German designed Ka6, but built in Gawler by Edmund Schneider in 1964. For a few weeks before that I would get a quarter of the way through the loop and then chicken out. Big negative Gs as they say!

A kilometre further west of the quarry was where our club used a big paddock as a temporary airstrip, to give the Barossa locals a taste of gliding. We flew many joy flights over the quarry on that weekend.

Then at Greenock, where we had a regroup yesterday, was the same spot where I waited for my crew to come and retrieve me when I outlanded just south of the town. A miserable, cold day for the Gawler Easter Regatta. Only had about one thermal after starting the race, and then just a long slide into a paddock next to Greenock.

Finally, and probably the most significant memory, was the site of my first outlanding when I was attempting my first cross country flight. I had borrowed a friend's very old Kingfisher sailplane. 

The Kingfisher was designed and built by Edmund Schneider in Gawler. A small glider of only about 11m wingspan, and with a very low glide ratio of about 15:1. I could have used the Super Arrow, also designed and built in Gawler by Edmund Schneider, (similar to a Boomerang) , with twice the performance at 31:1

 The goal was 50km flight from Stonefield to Gawler, to claim my Silver C badge. I thought I needed a challenge for such a short flight, so opted for the little 'Kingy', rather than the sleek, record breaking Super Arrow.

Well I landed next to the Thiele Highway that we rode down yesterday (the Gawler/Kapunda road), about 5km north of Freeling. It was in about 1975 I think, and the friendly family invited me into their old farmhouse to watch the test match on their new colour TV, and share a beer, or two. Colour TV had just arrived in Australia, and so it was a real novelty! And then, a couple of hours later, they brought out their Super 8 movie camera and filmed the de-rigging of the glider as we pulled it apart and packed it onto its trailer. Amazingly, about 15 years later, I was having a 'quiet one' in the Truro hotel. That same guy was sitting along side and recognized me! If only I had thought to ask him if he still had that film, and whether he would have minded parting with it. That outlanding was the first of 45, over nearly twenty years!

I hope Lyndelle didn't mind too much as I prattled on about thermals, and those wonderful cumulus clouds that filled the sky yesterday. I explained that those clouds are a glider pilot's delight, because they mark the exact position of a thermal. Its just a matter of heading from cloud to cloud and you can be pretty sure of not outlanding, and of covering a very long distance in one day's flying. On a 'blue' day, no clouds, it becomes much more challenging, and a real skill, to find those invisible thermals. Either way, flights of over 500km, and even over 1000km, are possible when the thermals are  booming. Average speeds of over 100km/hr, and heights to above 10,000 feet. Sometimes soaring with eagles. And never guaranteed to return to base. Every flight, and outlanding, an adventure.

Thanks for the memories, Frank, Wilson and Lyndelle.

Wow John, that's a fnatastic read!  Thank you for sharing all of that.  I love that the GW rides are always about so much more than each pedal stroke and each km covered or hill climbed. Everyone has stories and I love hearing them.

Great stuff John, how can we get you to share your memories with the wider website community. You could add a bit explaining the context of your memories and post it as a blog post.

Thanks Juz and Gus. I guess my passion was gliding. But in the end things change and I moved on to sailing, swimminmg, and now biking. Golf has always been there. Still have three sailing dinghies and still swim. But gliding is more a lifestyle. It's a team sport. It takes a team to launch a glider, to retrieve an outlanded glider, to maintain a glider, and all the other infrastucture, like the winch, or the tow planes, etc. It is a real commitment if you want to do it justice. But the rewards are great. Its not many people that have enjoyed the many different thrills, sights, and adventures that gliding can offer.Getting married, having kids, paying off a mortgage, all take priority in time and money. Now that the kids have moved on, the house is paid off, and there is a bit of cash in the bank. Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe not. Loving the biking lifestyle at the moment!

One day I might pull out the log books and see if I can use them to write a few stories. As you say Gus, set up a blog for those that might be interested in those sorts of adventure stories. But that would have to wait until I retire properly. I did write a lot of detail for the more interesting flights, rather than just the standard time of flight, type of glider and registration of glider. The idea was to help recall the smaller details in years to come. Would be ideal for re-constructing the flight, as a short story, many years later without having to rely on memory, or guess the details - heights, climb rates, incidents, . . .  Unfortunately near the end of my flying I left a water bottle in my flying satchel. It was there for a few weeks and it leaked. In that time the water soaked through the pages of at least one log book and caused the ink to run and consequently fade. I was pretty upset about it at the time. Have not looked at them for twenty odd years now. So one day I will grit my teeth and have a peek to see if it really is as bad as I think.

Awesome ride. Longest ride I have ever completed, it was great to get out and see the country side. Not so great to see what I look like with my beanie on.

Well done Daniel... thanks for waiting up for me when the cramp set in!  Great to have your wheel to recover.

I wondered how I managed to catch and pass you and Daniel after you had been blasting off into the distance with Wilson all morning.

Softly, softly catchy tiger.

Actually hadn't realised how far we'd broken away until we stopped!  Wilson and Craig had put a small gap between Daniel and me, so I pushed hard over 2-3km to finally wind them in, got out of the saddle for one last big effort to get on Craig's wheel when I got Cramp in both drivers.  About the 3rd time this year its happened... bloody annoying, made the last 20km bloody hard work.

Getting used to the cool mornings, thou when you work in 2 degrees every day its easy to acclimatise.. was tempted to have a crack at the 100k but maybe leave it for a few weeks to get some general fitness back up.. was happy enough with my own ride taking 20 mins off the time i posted last ride round this route, and look forward to bettering that again next time.. The scenery makes the ride so much more enjoyable especially at this time of year, and crazily enough look forward to some fog rolling over the hills to make it more spectacular..

fantastic ride really enjoyed it despite the cold morning


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