Hub & Spoke Cycling Route Route Name: Boho Foothills Loop Start / Finish locations: Violet Town Railway Station Corner Primrose and Cowslip St., Violet Town 3669 Mode: eBike, road, hybrid, MTB Map: GPS 145.7164 -36.63884 Difficulty: Intermediate: modest rises Distance: 23km Elevation: 179 – 252m Topography: Undulating terrain Surfaces: Good condition bitumen Description and Features: A pleasant loop that follows the line between the base of the Strathbogie Tableland and the plains surrounding Violet Town. Broad vistas, attractive landscapes, pleasant foothills and roadsides of aged River Red Gums. Riding conditions: Largely exposed to the elements Anticlockwise Cues: Start Violet Town Station Head south east along Cowslip St Straight Urmston St Cross Hume Fwy Straight Harrys Creek Rd Left Hayes Rd Right Boho Rd Left Boho Church Rd Left Smiths Rd Left Boho Rd Right Hayes Rd Right Harrys Creek Rd Straight Urmston St Straight Cowslip ST Finish Violet Town Station Amenities (Violet Town): Car parking BBQ Fuel Shops Seating Parkland Waterway Playground Picnic tables Public toilets Potable water Walking tracks Accommodation Historic features Sports Reserves Swimming Pool Railway station Directional signs Information signs Off leash dog play Flora and fauna habitat Cautions: Limbs may fall Uneven ground No potable water Subject to flooding Road surfaces vary Snakes may be active Beware of vehicle traffic Mobile reception may be unreliable Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart Be equipped for self-reliant riding Restrictions: Take rubbish with you Historic relics are protected Native flora and fauna are protected Riders must use formed roads only
You tread the safe path
Never raising your eyes from your feet
Is that enough to take you
Where you want to go
One step, another, repeat
This morning’s interview with presenter Matt Dowling regarding my work on tracks and trails promotion in the Strathbogie region. Commences at 43.30minutes.
When there is nothing worth doing
But doing itself
Click on this link for access to my photos in the report Strathbogie Shire Council Annual Report 2020
When the last butterfly flutters by your seat on the grass When the sun moves overhead in one more timeless pass When the creek’s empty water flows by and on When the creatures of the bush all around you have gone Will you sit and reflect on what could have been When you knew it was coming it had been foreseen Will you ask why you didn’t when there was time and you could While you sat on the grass thinking I must then I should
Hub & Spoke Route Name: Ruffy - Red Gate Lane Loop Mode: Gravel Grinder Start / Finish locations: Corner of Longwood – Ruffy Rd & Nolans Rd., Ruffy 3666 Difficulty: Intermediate Distance: 14.5km Elevation: 394 – 547m Topography: Undulating with some steep inclines Surfaces: Longwood – Ruffy Rd is sealed Nolans and Red Gate Lane are gravel Description and Features: Depart the Ruffy main street for rolling green hills of pasture, sweeping views and treed roadsides Rocky outcrops Riding conditions: Little traffic, road conditions are generally good, can be very hot in summer and cold in winter Options: Clockwise or anti clockwise Amenities (Ruffy): Ruffy Store open intermittent hours or by booking Car parking Seating Parkland Playground Accommodation Historic features Sports Reserves Directional road signs Information signs Cautions: Steep climbs Soft shoulders Uneven ground No potable water Slippery surfaces Subject to flooding Road surfaces vary Snakes may be active Beware of vehicle traffic Mobile reception may be unreliable Be mindful to keep within the Reserve Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart Be equipped for self-reliant riding Anticlockwise Cues: Start corner of Longwood – Ruffy & Nolans Rd Straight Nolans Rd (west) Right Red Gate Lane Right Longwood – Ruffy Rd Finish corner of Longwood – Ruffy & Nolans Rd
A summary of Karl Jaspers’ writing, “Sunk in the noise of nationalism and technology, people become intellectually and emotionally stifled, stuck. The crowd rules. Slogans and rhetoric pass for meaningful conversations”. Marietta McCarthy, How philosophy can save your life. Penguin Australia 2009.
What have we learnt? A German survivor of the first and second world wars, Jaspers was an early 20th century philosopher. He still speaks to us with relevance, as if alive today. Nationalism is destructive. Those who seek advantage through manipulating others naive enough to follow blindly, to adopt the slogans of ill considered electronic media and rally to the flags of puppet masters – will be perpetrators of great harm.
However, Jaspers was not without hope. “Amidst discussion, a silence is possible in which people may listen together and hear the truth.”
Are we still able to effectively hear the truth, to discover and explore the scant remaining silence? Or have we sunk so deep into the swamp of nationalism and the noise of technology to be beyond positive, constructive, truth seeking communication?
It has been too long without you
There has been too much time
Worlds lie between us
As I pay for my crime
My cell is my world
of four hard walls
Spartan and bare
My memory is my cell forever
I keep seeing you there
As each long
long day passes .....
My sentence every minute
Gives way to darkness
My loss lies within it
When I look through my barred window
I expect in some light
To see you running towards me
my mind at flight
I pace I groan
squat in the corners
Of this tiny space
Close and open my eyes
And still see your face
I see you on the day as lovers we were wed
I see you in the night on the matrimonial bed
I see us on every outing all the things we did
I see us laughing and loving as besotted kids
I see your auburn fringe and wavy locks
I see your long legs above bobby socks
I see your bright blue eyes black long lashes
I see your olive skin the smile that flashes
I feel you in my arms in the softest embrace
I remember all your charms
I feel my disgrace
Where is your world now my love
And is he there with you
No I am not proud my love
If I could bring you back I’d kiss you
It was the idea I loved. But, first came the words. The words were, “A winding track.” The words became the idea. The idea developed.
The idea of a two wheel dirt track ahead. It winds up a wooded hillside in the golden hour of late afternoon. This romantic winding track, no destination in sight, no point of origin, beckons. It’s mystery entices.
So, I now find myself travelling this track. I’m leaving things behind and I am excited by the unknown destination ahead. I am savouring the journey.
Savouring, now there’s a word! A word to savour. A word begets an idea, begets a reality.
Ah, here is the real joy, the savouring. The pleasure in the journey, the exciting anticipation of getting there. Wherever there may be.
Sub title: Central Victoria, the Centre for eBikes.
As I have aged (now approaching my mid 60s), I have progressed from road bikes to mountain bikes to hybrids and now, ebikes.
My message to everyone out there who rides or is contemplating riding is “Get on your bike!” If you are fit and able enough to provide your own power, find the bike that best suits your journeying and ride. If you think you are past it, reconsider. From 8 to 80 years old, anyone with balance who can get astride a bike frame now has bicycle touring at their feet!
With the advent of ebikes for all modes of cycling, the Central Victoria region is perfect for you and your bike. There are many kilometres of un-trafficked rural roads and tracks traversing diversely beautiful landscapes. You will be amazed at where an ebike can take you, from sealed flat stretches across the plains, amongst rustic rolling foothills, to tall treed dirt tracks through mountain forests.
Many people have asked me about the different modes of cycling I refer to in the cycling route descriptors I publish. Most often, about Gravel Grinders. Gravel Grinders as a specialty appeared somewhere in amongst my cycling experience. I missed their rise until alerted by a mad keen cycling cousin.
This alert coincided with the commencement of my mapping and publishing of walks and cycling routes in and around the beautiful Strathbogie region. A good port of call for those interested is the Gravel Grinders Melbourne fb page. The article linked below may be American, but is brief and indicative of gravel bike features for the uninitiated, as well as being fodder for dreamers. It is worth noting that one of the bikes listed is an ebike.
The cycling routes I have been recording will be found here on seanmathews.blog/cycling and the Connecting the Goulburn Broken Catchment Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/591666734808645 .
Art in the pink, the hope that it brings Wings painted from, the smallest of things The joy of the colour, the mess of it all A pleasure to view, this artist's call Not quite abstract, the painting surreal Based in fact, then allowed to congeal Into pastel riot, of colour and lines Into a many makes whole, artwork refined What underlies, there's tissue paper petals The subject mixed up, then left to settle What was the intent, forethought soft light To please the eye, or just to feel right So busy so active, yet here is still life Outlines overshot, not cut like a knife In the blur there is movement, on a canvas full But the subject is lifeless, the message - killed When you look deeper, what do you see Something different to me, most certainly I see part of you, I see part of me I see a gift, a sadness, in humanity Did this idea form, in the artist's mind Develop and grow, the mind to bind An irresistible force, the desire to create A bane and pleasure, that will never wait
This poem is a response to a dVerse ~ Poets Pub challenge
Picture this namely The world at your feet plainly Walk its paths gamely
This being human is brutal
Where survival remains primal
Where savagery can be ruthless
Where being human is animal
This being human is joyful
Where sharing is a pleasure
Where smiles reflect happiness
Where being human rises above
This being human is indulgent
Where affluence is wasted
Where consumption is recreational
Where being human is an economic unit
This being human is religious
Where unknowns engender hope
Where faith equates with confidence
Where being human could be spiritual
This being human is political
Where a few choices matter
Where many choices don’t
Where being human is good and evil
This being human is being creative
Where knowledge grows exponentially
Where caution is thrown to the wind
Where being human is a contradiction
This being human is arrogant
Where entitlement reigns
Where extinctions surprise no one
Where being human is collective stupidity
This being human is ridiculous
Where universes are vast
Where consciousness is nebulous
Where being human is being alone
This being human is scary
Where thoughts beget actions
Where actions beget unanticipated consequences
Where being human is in itself an existential risk
To add another dimension to your experience of poetry, I recommend you also engage with the international community of fellow poets at d’verse virtual pub poetry challenges
I sit on my green cane chair The best chair for thinking It is outside It has the advantage of being in a good place A verandah from which there is much to see Even if the weather is cold it is in the right position because the wind slides past laterally In this chair you can avoid confronting winds of change You can sit here for a long time confident you won’t have to move or make way for someone or something You can watch all sorts of things unfold from this chair Insects birds animals people the day the night the light Seasons pass you by I unfold from this chair This is a sitting for thinking chair It gives access to great scope for thought A matching cane table stands by this chair It is for all the paraphernalia I choose to utilise for observation and thinking for research recording and writing Endless cups of tea Vegemite and salad rolls Fruit nuts stacks of books Pens paper Camera iPad and phone Background noises surrounding this chair are soothing Creek water tumbling over rocks An irregular breeze wafting at leaves Morning song birdsong evensong Another nice sound I often hear from this chair is children playing Always happy to be outside In cooler months running along the bush track In summer swimming in the waterhole by the bridge or excitedly calling to each other as they splash about amongst the cascades You need to wear a brimmed hat sitting in this chair regardless of the season This is to shade your eyes from the northerly and westering sun To balance the glare against the shadows on the surface you are working on This chair has soft cushions for the seat and for the back They rest against its structure of bent cane It is a very good fit You can sit for a long time before needing to move However, the arms of this chair are narrow They may confine you to a limited range of positions This has the advantage of forcing movement This state of affairs is conducive to constructive thinking by prompting physical activity around the house along the verandah in the garden along the creek Such activity can be necessary to continue to be effective A mental activity reset New approaches come with a reset Quite often they are so new you get a pleasant surprise This is because you didn’t know they were there within you beforehand Another way to reset is change the scene move this chair to the edge of the verandah or reorientate A different outlook New space New thinking You have to remember to take the cushions in every evening to stop them getting damp They get tired and worn They are due for a new skin Just like me This chair is exposed to the elements One day it won’t be there I wonder will another chair be so generous?
I am so fortunate to have been with my partner for a wonderful 40 years. Sometimes I slip into self congratulation because I feel we have been in a loving sweet spot for so long it makes me very happy to think about it. I try not to take this for granted at any time. However, I do forget periodically and find myself thinking we have everything sorted. I am sure no one does. You both have to keep paying attention
Paying attention requires the ongoing element of mindfulness. To remind myself to be mindful, every now and then I read or listen to stories that may shed light on how relationships work and fail. I think it is a good practice. I continue to learn. From the article I am sharing below I better understood a particular destructive relationship dynamic, invalidation of a partner’s perspective. This understanding can be applied to seemingly trivial concerns. These apparently small things can accumulate to have dramatic outcomes. Are you receptive, perceptive and empathetic enough to see both sides? I think it is worth a read.
Hub & Spoke Cycling Route Route Name: Longwood: Pranjip Rd Loop Mode: Road / Hybrid / eBike Start / Finish locations: White Hart Hotel, Longwood Map (satellite):
Difficulty: Easy Distance: 29km Elevation: 136 – 179m Topography: Flat terrain plains country Surfaces: Bitumen, some ridging from tree roots in places Description and Features: The township is well worth exploring before or after. The wide un-trafficked streets lend themselves to pleasant cruising around. This route takes you into sheep grazing country, occasional swampy areas, past a few creeks, along wooded roadsides and through open pasture Þ Roadside and patches of Grey Box and Casuarina woodland Þ Bridged creek crossings Þ Return alongside Pranjip Creek Options: Clockwise or anti clockwise Amenities (Longwood): Car parking Shop and Hotel Seating Parkland Playground Picnic tables Public toilets Accommodation Historic features Sports Reserves Cautions: Soft shoulders Limbs may fall No potable water Road surfaces vary Snakes may be active Be mindful of vehicle traffic Roads may be subject to flooding Mobile reception may be unreliable Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart Be equipped for self-reliant riding Anticlockwise Cues: Start: car park opposite White Hart Hotel North Longwood-Pranjip Rd Left Pranjip Rd Left Longwood-Shepparton Rd Left Grimwade Rd Right Longwood-Pranjip Rd Finish White Hart Hotel
Breathe with the moment
Focus the eye
Tune the ear
when poems are nigh
To experience afar
Adventure and romance
Illumination of stars
Poems are companions
For very good reason
For poets are adventurers
Beyond bounds of the seasons
Beyond bounds of the earth
No measure of their worth
Can keep words from welling
Can restrain the work of telling
They convey feelings through
the art of painting with words
Not read before not seen or heard
Beautiful weavings that awaken our hearts
To the emotions of others who cannot impart
Anonymous poems from times immemorial
Modern poems with layers to peel
Poetry is the magic carpet
Flying to places unknown
Ride on the carpet and know you have grown
Human: sustenance, shelter, family, worthy work, friendships and creative cultural experiences.
I stole a sweet, but dropped it My mother came and mopped it The dog, he licked and chomped it And for his cheek, he copped it
Thoroughly documented by principal activist Bert Lobert, click the link below to view the remarkable chronicle of the successful local campaign for forest preservation and re-wilding. A golden example of what needs to be happening around the rest of the nation and the globe. .
I will begin with my list of simple pleasures to enjoy.
- Fresh air
- Fresh food
- Cold, clean drinking water
- Natural world environments
- Uncorrupted landscapes and waterways
- Wind and rain
- The night sky
- The day sky
- New life
- Anticipation of winter
- Warmth on a cold day
- Electrical storms
- New learning
- Comfortable chairs
It is so easy to be distracted, to habitually take such things for granted. More complicated experiences repeatedly assert themselves as front and centre of our consciousness and decision making. Issues surrounding insecurity, relationships and others’ bidding clamour for attention, occupy us with busy-ness and distract us.
The experiences that are always there for the taking become secondary due to their very simplicity, their enduring nature, their very availability. We readily forget to be mindful of their existence as the essence of our existence.
These profoundly simple and accessible pleasures can be constant stabilising influences on our lives. They are always present, complete with restorative potential. When we do remember to attend to them we come back to ourselves as capable of choosing to reset, appreciate and experience joy.
Hub & Spoke / Bump & Grind Cycling Route
Start / Finish locations: Euroa Railway Station Railway St., Euroa 3666
Mode: Gravel Grinder, MTB, Hybrid, eBike (fats)
Map: GPS -36.749080001925385, 145.56809969105484
Elevation: 158 – 199m
Surfaces: Good condition bitumen Gravel varies, but overall pretty good. A bit rougher on the minor road end of Balmattum Siding Rd. Old Euroa Rd has a significant camber in places, take care on the gravel when moving laterally for traffic.
Description and Features: Flat with its own form of beauty, you have to be in it to appreciate it. Arrive at the Railway Station by train, car or bike. Euroa is an historic and pretty rural township with amenities aplenty. Appreciate it as you head through town to the fast straightaway of Balmattum North Rd. This smooth sealed bitumen parallels the Hume Freeway, but the traffic there isn’t too intrusive. There are more small waterways than expected and the countryside is quite appealing with the Strathbogie foothills to your right. There is a roadside stop at the only rise. When you hit the gravel you will find tree tunnels and enjoy vast plains vistas. Balmattum Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve is a great stopover for refreshment. Watch out for the playful Grey-crowned babblers. Return to Euroa alongside more waterways, swampy wetlands and lovely wooded roadside.
Riding conditions: It is flat, so exposed to the elements in some locations. Well wooded roadsides provide some shelter in others. Not much traffic.
Options: Access Balmattum Grassland via Wilbrahams Rd. However, the kink in Balmattum Siding Rd makes it a more interesting approach. Anti or clockwise
Anticlockwise Cues: Start Euroa Railway Station car park Railway St Head north east Right Kirkland Ave Left Tarcombe St Left Saxon St Right Balmattum North Rd Left Balmattum Siding Rd Right Old Euroa Rd Right Balmattum Grassland entry South east Old Euroa Rd Straight Riggs Creek Rd Bear left Moglonemby Rd (south) Left Boundary Rd North Straight Melbourne to Sydney Railway underpass Right Railway St back to the Station
Amenities: Car parking BBQ Fuel Shops Seating Parkland Waterways Playground Picnic tables Public toilets Potable water Trail head sign Walking tracks Accommodation Historic features Sports Reserves Swimming Pool Railway station Directional signs Information signs Alternative routes Flora and fauna habitat
Cautions: Open water Limbs may fall Embankments Uneven ground No potable water outside Euroa Slippery surfaces Subject to flooding Road surfaces vary Snakes may be active Beware of vehicle traffic Mobile reception may be unreliable Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart Be equipped for self-reliant riding
Restrictions: Take rubbish with you Native flora and fauna are protected Riders must use formed roads only