Rutherglen, 1999


This trip took place over the long weekend in October 1999. While cycling played a pivotal role during the trip and was a major raison d'etre in the planning stages, wine and food took pride of place more than a few times.

The Cast

Name cycle
Lisa Breckenridge no bike
Fran Griffin Greenspeed trike "Blue Space Cabbage"
Keith Griffin Greenspeed trike "Turing machine"
Amy Grime Hybrid with suspended seat and headset
Alex Grime light hybrid
Colin Philpott no bike
Daniel Steffen Dodsun MTB (Keith's)
Linda Valgeirsson front suspended MTB
Sibba Valgeirsson front suspended MTB
Simmi Valgeirsson front suspended MTB
Mark Weber Canondale racer "The bicycle formerly known as Fred"

Day 1

By 16:00 we had all arrived in Rutherglen and felt the need for exercise after sitting in cars for 8 hours. Lisa and Colin played squash, Fran, Mark, Daniel, Linda, Simmi, Sibba and Keith went cycling.

As we assembled in the driveway for a short cycle about town Lisa noticed we formed an excellent starting grid pattern and counted the start for us - I hit the pedals, pushed hard and crack!...broke the main guide wheel assembly under the trike. I was not happy.

The others rode off, I retired to the door of our room with my trike and tried to work out how to fix it. This turned out to be almost trivial as all that had broken was a pair of cable ties. Fran returned by herself to see how I was doing. I needed this as I couldn't work out how to arrange the chain and guide wheel, but as soon as I saw how hers was done - fixed - how handy is a piece of string ?

We all ended up having a good 20km ride and met Lisa & Colin back at the motel. We planned our assault on some unsuspecting restaranteur...

Dinner (which followed a few games of pool and darts in the pub, and some Guiness of course) was superb. We had bought 4 local red wines at the pub and had consumed 3 of them by the time main course arrived.

Now, when I say main course I must exclude Fran who decided to have 3 entrees and no main. This she will never be allowed to forget, nor will the owner of "Olive's" forget us or Fran.

Day 2

We emerged from our rooms at various times, ready for a day of wine tasting, but mostly travelling by bike. Lisa and Colin would travel by car, the rest of us cycling to a set of neraby vineyards. As we arrived at Campbell's our enthusiasm became apparent (to us) - it was not even opening time yet! At 9:00 we wandered in and began a long tasting session. After a while Colin and Lisa arrived on hired bikes!

At this time we needed to divide into smaller groups, mainly to buy the supplies needed for a BBQ planned as dinner. We left Cloin & Lisa at Campbells, The Icelanders rode on to Stanton & Killeen (Lisa & Colin had already 'done' this excellent winery) and Mark, Daniel Fran and Keith rode into town to buy meat, veges, and other goodies for the dinner.

The shopping capacity of a single trike with 2 panniers is excellent, so I was able to carry all the meat, salad veges, huge piles of bread and a large packet of chips, while Daniel carried olive oil and butter and Fran manhandled (ladyhandled, personhandled...) two enormously long bread sticks back to the motel.

We then rode back out to meet the Icelanders at Buller's. We were not sure where Lisa and Colin had gone, but it was now approaching lunch time and the rest of us had booked at the restaurant in Cofield's winery. Lunch when it finally arrived was very good, but the wait was far too long for hungry cyclists.

Having eaten we tasted the wines and then set off a few hundred metres down the road to Pfeiffer's Wines. Pfeiffer's proved to be a wonderful place from many points of view. The wine is excellent and we purchased a good supply, but the building and its surrounds are also wonderful and provided a perfect place to relax and continue to digest our lunch.

We cycled back into town...the motel owner had taken a phone message for us...Amy and Alex had arrived and were at the caravan park. We had catered for them in our dinner plans and were really pleaqsed they had arrived. Keith & Fran cycled the enormous distance of 200 metres to the caravan park to say "g'day" to A & A and to invite them to our BBQ!

Dinner was easy and relaxed. The Icelanders did a wonderful job of cooking all the meat and the motel provided us with all the utensils, plates and most importantly, wine glasses. We had scored the odd 'freebie' at various vineyards and these naturally were a great bonus to our meal.

Day 3

Raining. This is bad. We postponed riding in the hope that the weather might improve later in the day. This gave us a chance to do something en masse - a prospect probably not relished by those poor souls who had to serve us at the Milawa Cheese Factory and the local cafe where we lunched. We had driven to Milawa and the rain continued all the time we were there. Fran and I went down the road to visit Markwood Estate while the rest visited Milawa Mustards. Rick Morris is one of those wine makers who concentrates on making wine rather than on marketing it. Perhaps this is as well because he has a very small area under vine, and if too many people find out about his wines there will be none left for us!

After the drive back to Rutherglen we decided to have a quiet time. Lisa & Colin decided to 'do' some more wineries as they, along with the icelanders, would be leaving the next morning. Mark, Daniel, Fran and Keith then went for a ride despite the gloomy drizzley weather. We headed out along the Chiltern valley road and back - we got very wet and cold by the time we returned, but a hot shower and a superb dinner at "The Shamrock" more than compensated!

Day 4

Lisa, Colin, Simmi, Sibba and Linda all left around 9:00. Due to the complexities of carrying people and bikes back to Sydney the Icelanders took the MTB which Daniel had been riding with them. This would allow Fran & Keith to carry both Mark and Daniel home in their car in 2 day's time. Naturally this left us a bike short - but as Amy had not slept well and didn't feel her best, Alex decided to use her bike and Daniel then used Alex's bike - all very complex. It was a perfect day for cycling. We set out on a loop through the small town of Chiltern then on to within a few Kms of Howlong and followed the river back to town - 55Km in all. We were hot and starting to feel hungry by the time we arrived back.

Lunch was Milawa cheese plus meats and salad bought in town - we ate on the front lawn of motel near the pool. A & A & K & F went to Pfeiffer's and Stanton and Killeen - Amy and Alex had done no tasting yet, and this provided Keith and Fran an opportunity to revisit some favourites.

Many slept.

Amy was now feeling better, Mark and Daniel were still resting so Alex, Amy, Keith and Fran then did 20 Km ride to the river. On our way back the sunset over the valley was particularly relaxing. We all took dinner at an Itialian cafe which served excellent food - among others we downed 2 bottles Chamber's Blue Imperial - good wine!

Day 5

Amy and Alex packed themselves into the troop carrier, and Mark, Daniel Keith and Fran squeezed into the little Pulsar complete with trailer carrying the 2 trikes. Mark's bike went in the troopie. We drove to Cowra via Howlong, Culairn and Boorowa. Amy and Alex set out later and went via a winery or two on the way so we expected to be in Cowra well ahead of them. Along the way we stopped many times to take photos - Daniel really had to make sure he could get maximum use from the digital camera!

Amy and Alex arrived in Cowra ahead of us and booked into the caravan park. The rest stayed with Fran's parents, where we ate a wonderful home cooked meal and of course, managed to find some suitable red wine to accompany it!

Day 6

We drove home.