POB Ride to Remember 2022
Written by Peter Mac
The 2022 Ride to Remember (R2R) kicked off on Friday 4th February 2022. The weekend entailed a ride from Melbourne, a gathering in Ararat on the Friday with a small contribution to the local restaurant and accommodation industry, a group ride around the region on the Saturday and partaking in the official R2R group ride on the Sunday with a return to the Ararat oval where a POB clinic was organised.
Friday - Melbourne to Ararat
The group of POB riders met in Elwood around 10:30 in the beaming sun, the start of a trend for the rest of the weekend. The group consisted of riders going all the way to Ararat and those who would come part of the way and turn around at Meredith. We also said hello to a new group rider Philip Samuel who we hope to see again.
Once all 14 riders on 12 bikes had fuelled up, checked tyre and bladder pressures at Elwood we were under way in group formation. Darren Eger assumed the role of navigator and Susan Jury played Tail End Charlie (TEC). Suffice to say it's a tough task to herd 12 bikes through the streets of Melbourne in Friday morning traffic. The unity lasted for a few Kms, but once we reached the turn off for the highway to Geelong, traffic tore asunder all the best laid plans. How does that song go? 'Trucks to the left of me, B-Doubles to the right, here I am stuck in the middle, no view'.
Due to efficient forward planning and even better group riding practice, we all regrouped with Joe's (turn rider) booming voice calling the laggards to brook across 3 lanes of the highway traffic. This was the turn for a place called Little River, which possibly now should be called Even Smaller River.
With the sun beaming, heavy traffic left behind us, jacket and helmet vents open, the trip across the western plains with the Youyang range (so called from original name 'Wurid Youang' meaning 'big mountain in the middle of a plain' ). The hills varied from straight ahead to being to our right as we made way for Anakie and Stieglitz on our way to Meredith for Lunch. The terrain is typically Australian countryside with yellow wheat fields next to green(ish) cattle and sheep pastures). Stieglitz was founded in 1835 by the von Stieglitz family from...wait for it....wait...Ireland. Go figure.
Pulling into Meredith at lunchtime was a good chance for the group to have a break from the heat and a chat. The local Back Creek Cafe makes optimum use of the local youth with children as young as what would appear to be 12/13 running the place. The efficiency of service was beyond expectations. This is where we said goodbye to Francisco, Anne and Phillip who needed to return home.
As anyone who rides a motorcycle knows, there's two ways to travel. There's fast and furious or there's Zen and the art. The plan for this journey was the latter with back roads being the key. The original approach was to take a run through the Enfield national park with potential for some dusty back roads, however with time pressing on and appointments needing to be kept, Zen went out the back window. The road to Ballarat was chosen and on we went. We passed windfarm laced fields vey much up close and personal. If you walk up to them, be sure to duck unless you want to loose your head (pun intended).
The road into Ballarat got a bit mixed up with a turn missed. Susan used her local knowledge to track down the address for Ross and Maureen on the shores of Lake Wendouree (aboriginal name Wendaaree...meaning 'go away'). Invading Ross and Maureen's view of the lake is splendiferous. Both Ross and Maureen were to join us later that evening.
Bladders emptied again (can you see a trend), onwards to Ararat via Skipton (where a Santa Clause art piece is still on display...in February). Turning north for Beaufort in the evening sun with the same rustic countryside, now with the evening sun casting longer shadows across the prairies, the climate control reduced to 'comfort' and Ararat looking very close on the SatNav. U2's Joshua Tree is album is selected as the accompanying background track.
Arrival at Ararat (tradition owners are the Wotjobaluk, Jardwadjali (also known as Jaadwa), Wergaia and Jupagalk nations) is a reminder of how beautiful country cities can be when they value the past. Once known as 'The City of Asylums', it has a thriving agriculture and services industry. A drive down Main Street you can immediately spot the difference between this townand most others. Vines hanging from Main Street verandahs doesn't happen every day.