Munda Biddi Map 9 Denmark to Albany
Dual suspension, no luggage
We are down in Denmark again on Christmas holidays, so Munda Biddi riding was on the plan. Our first full day was forecast quite warm (for Denmark) at 31 degrees, so we decided to make an early start. We were in Elleker, on map 9 at 7.30am and ready to ride soon after. My wife joined me on the first section - the Torbay rail trail, and a family with two little kids also left the store at the same time as us. The rail trail is flat and easy, although a little over grown in parts, and is ideal for a family adventure.
The Bornholm diversion was ok - the gravel road through farm land is bit boring, but on top of the hill the karri trees provided shade and the views were good.
The ride along Francis Rd in Tennessee was good. We stopped at the old shearing shed for some video, and although the track can get messy in parts, it is easy if you follow my ride notes. The last couple of km into Youngs Siding were on flat roads in farmland and it was getting hot early.
It was no surprise that the shop attendant as Youngs Siding said it was 34 degrees at 10.30am. It was getting hotter as I headed off, and when I turned up Sleeman Rd, I noticed my phone had over heated and switched off. I had to wait for it to cool down (10 minutes) before continuing. But it did feel hot along this section. It was a bit cooler along Keith Road, by the Hay River, but it was only when I was by the Inlet that it cooled off more.
Now I just headed straight into Denmark, not stopping to look at the Inlet. I followed the new cycleway along Hollings Rd. I rode into Denmark, then finished my trip at the visitors centre at about 12.30pm. It was a couple of km ride to our accommodation, and I got there about 1pm. It had been a slower, hotter day than I anticipated, but I got some good video, new GPX files, and some much needed exercise.
The ride from Albany to Elleker was done a couple days later. It was very easy - 18km, all pretty flat, and all on sealed roads except a couple of km on good gravel. I had a tail wind behind me for most of it, so it was finished pretty quickly.
Dual suspension, no luggage
Wed 31/12/14 Torbay To Albany
I was dropped at Kronkup Road North almost as the Munda Biddi joins the Lower Denmark Rd before it swings back on Railway Road to Torbay. The weather was overcast and drizzly, but warm - ideal for riding, but not so good for photos. The ride into Torbay ( a community hall with toilets and the fire depot only) was easy and uneventful. Once I was on the Torbay Rail trail, there was a sign for the rail trail users (horses) to keep to the left, and Munda Biddi riders to keep to the right. However, most of the signs later along this route showed the Munda Biddi arrow pointing to the right, as in change of direction! Once you got used to it, it was ok, but after 900 km of "keep straight on" being indicated by an arrow pointing up, it was a little worrying to "keep straight on" when the arrow clearly says turn to the right. See the photos in the gallery. Like all rail trail, it was flat and easy to ride, often through low scrub, under trees, or on a separately fenced "corridor" through farm land - see gallery again.
I stopped at the Elleker service station/general store/tavern for a drink and snack. It is very close to the Munda Biddi (50 m and you easily see it), so worth the stop. Further on, there is a Munda Biddi sign indicating turn right, but that is just directing you to the Elleker info hut on the right hand side of the road. I once went down that road looking for the trail only to see the keep straight on marker when I returned to the road junction.
After rejoining the sealed road at Grasmere (from Old School Rd), it is sealed road all the way to Albany. There is a section along the Lower Denmark road that is no fun. The speed limit is 70-90 km/hr, there is a gravel shoulder, but for a kilometre the armco railing means you have to ride on the road. The traffic was ok, but I prefer to be off the road.
Robinson Road is a quiet scenic windy road through rural blocks - it is very pleasant. Look out for the Aboriginal burial site under the black stump (see my track notes for the exact location).
The ride into Albany was a little confusing - maybe because I have an older map (mine is dated May 2012, and the latest is Dec 2013) . The Albany town site shows the route coming in on Festing St, straight across in to Stirling Tce and down to the Visitor Centre at the old railway station. However I followed the markers and that took me along Grey, Melville, Vancouver St, Parade and then on to Stirling Tce. No hassles though, although I jut had to keep my eyes peeled for markers. I took a couple of photos at the trail end, then at the Anzac Peace Park, the Brig Amity and the old Gaol. All are within 400m of the trail end. I celebrated the end of the ride with lunch and a Guinness at the Earl of Spencer pub, established in 1884. I love old pubs, and this is one of the oldest in WA (There has been a building on the site since 1865). The oldest pub in WA is the Rose and Crown in Guildford, which I recommend as well.
I was riding from Denmark to Cosy Corner, but it was a group ride from Denmark to Hay River, leaving Denmark at about 7.30 am The weather was fine an about 18 degrees for a maximum of 26. Everyone turned round by Hay River as I continued on to Cosy Corner. The ride up Keith Rd does give you occasionally river glimpses and there are numerous little tracks to get to the river. However, after that Hunwick Rd and Sleeman Rd is abit boring, so I have occasionally ridden the highway for 5 km to save doing 14 km.
You then rejoin the rail trail next to the South Coast Highway for abit, which is good. Then you cross the highway and ride into Youngs Siding on the Lower Denmark Rd. This road is generally quiet and has a good gravel shoulder. Youngs Siding is worth a stop as it has a general store with snacks, drinks, newspapers etc. There is intermittent phone service here - I had to send my SMS's a couple of times before they were successfully sent.
The old rail trail around Tennessee was a bit hard to follow in parts. There was one junction of 5 tracks and not a single markers for either direction! My track notes will take the guess work out.
The loop around Hortons (Bornholm Rd, Rosedale Rd, Kronkup Rd) is nothing special. It is all gravel road, it is hilly and I believe there is old rail trail on the South of the Lower Denmark Rd. I hope that the rail trail is opened up in the near future and the Munda Biddi is rerouted along that route.The hills are not too bad but I was travelling unloaded - it is a bit more painful when you are fully loaded.
I have also tracked in my ride notes how to get to Cosy Corner by staying off the busier roads. A lot of riders break Map 9 in two by overnighting here. At Cosy Corner is a cafe about 1 km from the beach with apartment type accommodation attached. The cafe serves very good meals, but is a bit expensive. Eat your own snacks if you want, but I was happy to pay $30 for a gourmet burger with chips, salad and a smoothie. There is good phone service here.
If you continue down the road, the beach is at the end of the road. There are toilets, an outdoor shower, bbq, table & chairs etc. There is supposed to be no camping here. The camping is at Cosy Corner East, which is a dirt road half way between the cafe and the beach. I did not go and have a look, but the map says it is about 0.5 km away on a gravel road.
Well that is my last ride to track the entire Munda Biddi. I got the idea for this website on our holidays last Christmas (Jan 2014), and committed to doing it by March 2014. I started my first ride in April 2014, so by 3/1/15 I had ridden it all again in sections, recording my notes, tracking my ride and taking heaps of photos. The website went live Nov 2014, and should be fully complete by Feb 2015.
After 10 days of Denmark temperatures in the mid twenties (degrees Celsius) we had a hot day on the drive home. Denmark was forecast 34 (it was 28 at 10am when we left), Walpole was 32 at 11am, Northcliffe and Pemberton were 38, and Donnybrook was 40! Perth reached 44 today! Not a great day to ride.
Dec 2013 Day ride
Dual suspension, no luggage
The GPS map starts at the old Woolstores about 3km along the MB route- I had to change into my cycling gear and the terminus car park on a busy holiday weekend didn't seem to be the best spot! I started riding just after lunch before heading into undulating rural back roads of Robinson Rd. However the last bit into Elleker was on the Lower Denmark Rd, sharing with cars at 90km/hr. It was fairly busy because of the holiday period. I didn't stop at Elleker as I was still quiet fresh. Started the Torbay Heritage trail, which is excellent - narrow, straight, good surface and flat, but close to the main road. Met & chatted with another day rider who was riding from Cosy Corner to Albany. I followed the MB trail up the hills around Horton, although I had contemplated sticking on the Lower Denmark Rd. I enjoyed the deviation around Tennessee once you turn off the sealed road - it is a narrow trail, quite flat and enjoyable. Saw another MTB rider but he didnt stop. Had a snack and drinks at Youngs Siding for half an hour. More cyclists coming & going. No Telstra signal. After Youngs Sidings I continued on, following the roads & rail trails as per the track. Headed up Sleeman Rd which was farm land. Turned left into Hunwick Rd which was in jarrah bush, and the gravel road was dusty. When I turned left along Hay River you could see lots of people camping & fishing in little camp spots along the river. That was a nice section - windy, abit sandy and river glimpses. Cross the highway and soon on one of my favourite section of the MB - the Denmark Nornalup Heritage Trail. It is shady, well compacted trail with lots of views across the Inlet. I stopped at some of the huts for photos. Part of the trail had gates closed and cattle were grazing on it - I should have taken a photo as a hazard on the trail, but I forgot. When crossing the Denmark River I turned right towards Denmark along the cycleway under the karri trees - another very beautiful section of the MB. Rode straight to the caravan park for a wheel earned beer.
Hard tail with Bob trailer
Notes from day 2 of 16 day ride:
Rode from Amity Motel about 7.30 am and joined MB about 1 km after the start just behind town hall ( I recced it last night and rode the first 1-2 km. I didn't want to have to ride down Stirling street to the start, then up the hill again). At Elleker at 8.45 am (19.2 km, average 16.4 km/hr). Bit of rain and cold and windy, but all pretty flat. Had a coffee at the Elleker shop while it poured outside - good range of food , drinks, snacks etc.
Rode down the Torbay rail trail which is mainly old railway line. This was excellent- very narrow, abit overgrown but straight, flat and fun. After that the track goes on the Lower Denmark Rd, which is sealed and sign posted at 90 km/ hr. Gravel shoulder, but with the bad weather the traffic was light. Followed the Trail around Hortons, which is a climb of about 75m. It started off as a gravel road in farm land, but a few more trees and a view of Mount Lindsay in the distance made it more enjoyable. Stopped at one point and saw these really big earthworms coming out of the ground, perhaps trying to avoid drowning from the rain. They were 20cm long and about 5mm thick - a lot bigger than in my garden! Also saw on the ride rabbits, emus, kangaroos, a splendid wren, 13 pelicans flying in formation, plus lots of herrons on the farmland.
The Trail south of the Lower Denmark Rd takes you to an area called Tennessee. Initially it is on sealed road, but then turns off to a track, which is good riding. You then come back on a sealed road a few km short of a Youngs Siding. Arrived there at 11.30 pm having ridden 50 km in 3hrs 17 mins, an average of 15.2 km /hr. Good small shop with all the basic food & drink, but didn't see a toilet and no mobile serice. Rain stopped, but wind still bad.
Soon after Youngs Siding it is on to a track next to the Denmark Albany main road. However at Sleeman Rd I elected to stay on the highway, even thought it was 110km/hr zone. The MB diverted you up a gravel road through farm land for 6 or so km, turned West for 5 km, then, back to the highway along the Hay River. I estimated the route was about 15 km in total to bypass about 5 km of highway. It was not school holidays, so traffic was light so I stayed on the highway without incident. Just after crossing the Hay river, the MB follows the old train line of the Denmark Nornalup Heritage Trail. It follows the Wilson Inlet all the way into Denmark. It was wide, smooth and flat with glimpses and occasional views of the Inlet- some of the nicest scenery along the MB. There were even 3 or 4 slab huts with a table and chairs off the trail right next to the water if you wanted a place to stop- I would recommend them.
By now my bike and trailer were filthy with mud, so when I crossed the Denmark River I turned left and found a fish cleaning hut a couple of hundred metres down which had a hose pipe. I cleaned up the bike and trailer then rode the last couple of km to town along the Denmark River on the dual use path. Got to the Denmark Hotel about 2pm after riding 71.2km total, average of 15.4 km. Now time to wash and dry all my gear! Time for shopping ( 2 nights in huts coming up), then dinner at the the pub.