Eight bikes, with Harry and Anna two- up, assembled at Ardeer for a short ride tailored to winter conditions, Harry volunteering as tail end Charlie. In the event the weather was more early spring than winter!
We set off along the Western Freeway until Hopkins Rd then took a right turn into Greigs Rd and on through the Werribee River gorge, past the Eynesbury turnoff to Exford. Then for variety a right turn into the Parwan Rd before a left onto the Bacchus Marsh- Geelong Rd to complete two sides of the triangle before turning right at the Glenmore Rd. A collegiate nod from a mounted traffic cop powering toward Bacchus Marsh was well received.
Roadworks were encountered at the Glenmore Rd intersection with the Bacchus Marsh-Balliang Rd for a roundabout construction in progress. Further on the climb up the escarpment was complicated by an extensive patch of gravel on the road. A clear run into Ballan saw the group enjoying morning tea in the sunshine just after 11.00.
The second leg took in the Ballan-Greendale road then a right turn toward the freeway and Myrniong and a descent to Bacchus Marsh by the Pentland Hills Rd. A brief freeway leg took us to the Bacchus Marsh-Gisborne Rd and a long climb skirting the Lederderg Gorge with a spectacular vista of the wild bush covering the ridge on the far side.
First Sunday is Gisborne Market Day so I hoped to skirt the centre of town by taking Hamilton St, but even so encountered a heavy bank up of traffic at the main roundabout. A quick diversion through the back streets saved a little time and saw us quickly on the downhill run to Toolern Vale.
More than one rider commented that there is actually nothing at Toolern Vale apart from an intersection and a General Store. Fortunately the food on offer was of good quality, a generous slice of homemade chocolate cake scoring a 10 from Steve Bailes [ ex Sunderland UK, Goldwing] who claimed he counts calories the rest of the week! Others were charmed by the welcoming smile of the lass in the store leading me to bookmark the place as a viable destination for future rides.