Grevillea mycumbene: what sort of place name is that?

Saturday, December 25 2010 | 53 km | Munda Biddi total: 53 km

“Not too late to slip the start back a few days, put your feet up in airconditioned comfort and watch the [traditional] Boxing Day [cricket] test in Melbourne”, says Kim, temptingly.

Sticky choice.

It was sure sticky outside, even at 7am, err, 8am by the time I finally abandoned comfort and relaxation for … heat, toil and a little hardship. It’s a bizarre choice to many, well, let’s be frank, everyone else, but it’s been 7 months in Perth with only a weekend ride, 80km, on a circuit around the northern beaches to assuage my passion for bike touring, it just ain’t enough.

By 5pm it certainly was. Enough that is, at least for Day One.

Earlier on those soon to be 100°F winds were blasting in fiercely from the stinking hot desert to the east, and I was heading to Mundaring, smack bang east.

The other minor issue to mention is that Mundaring is 300m, 1000 feet, above Perth in the Darling Ranges. That’s not so bad but my chosen route was up the unpoetically named Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, a gravel track, pea gravel, that follows an old 1880s railway line.

Railway Trail, that’s good, but in this instance it’s an unrelenting upward progression, granny cog style, for about 20km. I’m not complaining, I chose this style of summer holiday, in fact I heartily recommend it as a casual introduction to the Munda Biddi. If you don’t like this you ain’t going to have fun later on when it starts getting a bit tougher, ie a looser surface and more topographical oscillation.

The only downhill was a short stretch in the first kilometre, the Dureme on the front wheel unexpectedly lurching sideways at pace with the bike and trailer swaying wildly, momentarily.

Time to install my new Nobby Nic and the Maxxis CrossMark+ replacing the rear XR. From that time on progress was more stately: they grip. We shall see how they cope with the deep pea gravel later on.

I can report for those wishing to find temporary accommodation before Mundaring on that Heritage Trail there’s little choice in that harsh, scrubby terrain. For the brave, ie, those who don’t mind a friendly morning or evening conversation with dog walkers, there’s a reserve at Glen Forrest with toilets and picnic tables but you are only semi-secluded at best, about 100m from houses.

Half a kilometre east from there is the Statham Wetland, I wonder what the “wet” refer to, where I spent the last night on my Oz crossing. Certainly the best location.
Once past Mundaring, a ghost town on Chrissy day, where the Munda Biddi officially starts, there’s picnic tables at the oddly named Pimelia mycumbene but a little further at Grevillea mycumbene they are at sufficient distance from the road, ie, 150m, and in a grasstree/ small jarrah forest to make me feel away from it all.

This section down to Mundaring Weir is one of the best of the Munda Biddi, all downhill. Down to 80m before another 280m, 900 feet, climb tomorrow morning, but great single track in parts, and not hacked up by bikes of the noisy motorised variety.

Sweet, or should I say sweat.

So a picnic table, grasstrees galore, a stray black cockatoo making a racket, not a cloud in the sky, the occasional thump of a large marsupial close by and still 35°C.

Now I know why I decided on this little excursion.

Sweet indeed.