This ride was done in April 2023 but only written up now due to time constraints.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the great things about riding in the Brisbane area is the sheer variety of different environments available from relatively remote and very rugged bushland to high quality inner city bikeways and all within riding distance from home, no car required, even if you don’t live particularly close to the CBD.
I recently cobbled together one such route taking in Bellbird Grove and the Enoggera Reservoir at the base of Mt Nebo, Gap Creek Rd Reserve and finally inner city Southbank.
My little jaunt started along one of my usual cowtracks through Ironbark Gully and up to Lanita Drive but then left toward Ferny Grove instead of my usual right toward Samford. Then, still in the quiet of the early morning, I began to wind through peaceful back streets and minor bikeway linkups at Ferny Grove and Upper Kedron to end up at the dead end on Ross Rd and the entrance to Bellbird Grove. Dirt double track took me though a couple of open fields and past some small dams to the edge of the bush where the Bellbird Grove walking trails being.
Back on a sealed but very minor, low speed road, I passed the Bellbird Grove picnic areas and eventually crossed the mostly dry Cedar Creek. Bellbird Grove’s name now became apparent by the abundance of birds of the same name able to be heard everywhere. But now, it was time to do some serious climbing to get to the next leg of my journey. The climb up Bellbird Grove Rd is about 8-10% gradient and offers some nice scenery with a large gully dropping off to the right and views to the city when you get to the top.
From there, I crossed straight over Mt Nebo Rd and back onto some nice undulating fire trails. This is one of the more remote parts of the ride and, to me, also one of the highlights with plenty of challenging descents, pinchy climbs and magnificent scenery pretty much everywhere you look.
The fire trails eventually got me to Walkabout Creek at the Enoggera Reservoir where I gladly stopped for food and coffee in the bushy surrounds. It seemed to be a popular place on the day, though, so I didn’t stay too long before hightailing it back into the bush to keep (roughly) following the western bank of the reservoir. If you aren’t familiar with this area, a GPS might be a good idea at least for the first time you attempt it. It may save you some time and prevent you from accidentally riding along one of the walking tracks if you get a bit lost.
Once you’re well past Walkabout Creek, the chances of getting lost all but disappear as the trail basically just hugs the shoreline of the reservoir. The trail opens up to scenic vistas of the reservoir and changing landscape from open fields to dense tree canopies which makes for some really enjoyable riding.
Eventually, I ended up at the dam wall for the reservoir where a short, steep climb took me way above the reservoir for more photo opportunities and the next leg of the journey. This would also be a good place to bail out of the ride if you needed to do so (hopefully you don’t need to bail out of the ride) as Mt Nebo Rd is just past the gate.
Luckily for me I would keep going up a long steady climb even higher above the reservoir along the still unsealed South Boundary Road toward Gap Creek Rd. The top of the climb was a welcome sight where I peeled off onto Jones Break and down Highwood Rd.
The day was really beginning to warm up as I stopped for a quick drink before rolling down Highwood, crossing over Gap Creek Rd and launching straight into the well known Rocket Frog singletrack for several minutes of flowing, high speed thrills.
Past the Gap Creek Rd picnic shelters and down some more double tracks, I popped out onto Bielby Rd. This would effectively be the end of the off road portion of my ride as I sailed mostly downhill around the base of Mt Cootha into Chapel Hill towards the Western Freeway. I reckon there’s more Teslas per capita in Chapel Hill than anywhere else in Brisbane. It seemed like every fourth or fifth car there was a Tesla.
The next leg was a (mostly) gentle downhill along the Western Freeway Bikeway towards Toowong. At the side of the bikeway, I spotted some more mountain bike trails which my brain really wanted to explore further but my legs had other ideas at the time. Oh well, something for next time.
Eventually, I rolled into Toowong and the Bicentennial Bikeway on which I followed the Brisbane River to the GoBetween Bridge where I crossed the river and headed into Southbank. It was time for well earned rest including a swim at the man-made beach and some much needed food.
The cold swim cooled my muscles and the burrito from the local Guzman Gomez really hit the spot. I was ready for the final leg of the journey home following much of my usual work commute route along Brisbane Northside’s bikeways.
The day ended up being an 85km affair which I found to be quite doable at a moderate pace and there was some really great scenery, food stops and a swim along the way to break up the journey.
I did the trip on my aluminium Scott Scale hardtail mountain bike running 2.2″ tyres which I found to be about the optimum setup for the trip. I have done a section of this ride on a gravel bike previously and it was doable but life is definitely more comfortable on a mountain bike riding over this kind of terrain.
Ride safe and see you out there sometime.