Global Fatbike Day 2013. It is what it says on the box - fatbikers around the world going for a fatbike ride. Malaysia, Canada, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi, Australia - you name a country, there would have been a ride happening.
Fellow Moonlander rider Wayne and I headed for Bribie Island - a little patch of sand nestled between Moreton Bay and the Glasshouse mountains to the west. Approximately 30km from north to south, plenty of inland trails and pure white sand beaches to ride, with numerous camping options to satisfy a sub24 urge.
Bluebird day. We had the beach to ourselves, very little traffic. Australia is proving itself to be the skin cancer capital of the world - the hat replaces the helmet as the best form of protection. The hat I'm using is a Frill Neck, a home grown product, with huge versatility - side panels that can be independently secured; a back mesh pocket to store a bug net or change for an ice cream; velcro tabs so you can fully close up the front for full coverage or tuck the whole lot away for maximum ventilation. I'm not sponsored by them, but via this blog I like to share with you, the reader, products that get my thumbs up for quality and absolute function.
One of the many tidal lagoons - today we had no water crossings, but on previous trips I've had to wade across waist deep, carrying bikes, wifey and pet monkey...
Tracks in the sand - throughout the day we spotted many animal tracks.
One of the many official campsites on oceanside. A lot has changed in the 20 odd years since wifey and I last camped here.
Bribie also has a history of defence battlements. This the northern vehicle access limit - it was just us making tyre tracks from this point.
Storm activity over the last few years has inundated some of the shoreline wetland Melaleuca forest, causing dieback.
This emu track was very fresh - it trailed up the beach for quite some time before veering into the dunes.
Small furry hop along and a monitor lizard - these trails paralleled each other for quite some time.
There was an abundance of birdlife, including whistling kites, sea eagles and a large number of black cockatoos that squawked around us most of the afternoon.
Before long we were rounding the northern tip of Bribie, weaving a random route through the low frontal dunes...
...and overlooking Caloundra.
Smoko was calling, and our plan from here was to find a great spot for a cuppa, overlooking Pumicestone Passage. We had to bushwack through the she-oaks...
...follow the prints of a REALLY big kangaroo...
...to arrive at the best break spot of the morning!
Regular readers of this blog may notice a pattern of abundant food for my meals and break stops. Fatbiking, sub24's etc are times where I can indulge when I ride - my regular rides (ultra road/mtb etc) consist of whatever will fit in a jersey pocket - a gel, a bar or two and only water in the bottles. I also try to educate readers with the possible options and combinations of common foods that are simple and easy in a bikepacking situation. Today at smoko it's luxury, a chai latte, raspberry muffin, trailmix, tiny teddys (a pet monkey recommendation). For the gear freaks, I'm using my MSR Whisperlite universal stove and 900ml Evernew ti pot. I used this stove in Alaska, a bit overkill in aussie conditions but it was the only stove in the shed with fuel - it happily runs on kero, diesel, shellite, unleaded - haha one time I had to 'fill up' at a ski resort in Oregon, cost me 53 cents. Plus I like the fact it's a greener option, without using non-refillable gas canisters.
Back on the trail to oceanside. The tide was rolling in, plan was to tool around on the beach for a bit, then search for a hammock spot.
An enterprising beachcomber had built a humpy from the paperbark trunks and driftwood.
Talking about shelter, it was time to park up for the arvo. Our exploration landed us at Lions Park, a maintained picnic area on the west side, only accessible by water, foot or fatbike. Million dollar views for the price of a Moonlander and a few calories. At the park were covered tables, fresh water, pit toilets - but all I needed were these big pandanus palms.
I fell asleep for a few hours.
A bit more tech. Today instead of crocs, I'm running full bikepacking boots and mini gaiters. Boots are Lake MX100, with a slight modification to the laces. I use a small strap lock, with a square knot on the laces as a stopper - this gives a quick-lace function without having to tie laces - quick and easy for on and off - water crossings, rest breaks etc. A word on sizing for these boots - I have a wide foot and I went up 2 sizes to get the width right. This does make them a bit long in the toe, but a small tradeoff for a great walking and riding boot, super comfy and tough outer sole. The fabric of the boot upper is tough rip-stop and breathable, with a tough rubber toe cap, supportive heel cup and fully attached tongue so debris doesn't creep under the lace area.
Mini sock gaiters are from Moxie gear - keeps the sand out of the boots, therefore preventing socks and boot liners rubbing through.
Talking about food (as Waynes belly often reminded us), lunch and dinner rolled into one. What sort of food would you suggest is perfect for global fatbike day? I had 2 thick, short cuts of bacon; 2 big and fat pork sausages; 2 bread slices and 2 sauces - enough for two fat pigs in blankets.
IMO the perfect bikepackers drink (sorry to disappoint - I don't touch alcohol). 'Light on the fizz, so you can slam it down fast' went the catchline. Still enjoyable even when a bit warm.
The sun lazily dipped below the horizon, perfectly silhouetting the Glasshouse Mountains.
Coming home under lights was magic.
The benchmark has been set, I'm sure next year will have more attendees as fatbiking grows - certainly not short of places to ride!