Every November thousands of bikes gather in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW to raise funds for the Stephen Walter Foundation, which assists funding for research into childhood cancer. The event is called The Snowy Ride. I’ve done it once and would dearly love to do it again. You can read about the Snowy Ride and what it’s all about by clicking here; and my story of the Ride by clicking here. A riding friend, Rod, has been to the event for the past couple of years. This year he decided to make a longer trip of it and do a two-day ride there and two-day ride back. His route would take in some of the best riding-roads in southern NSW! The Snowy Mountains Highway runs from Bega, near the NSW south coast, to Tumut. On the way it climbs up the serpentine Brown’s Mountain then heads across the Monaro Plains to Cooma and on to Adaminaby. From there it climbs steeply up into the Snowy Mountains where it winds its way across the foothills of the highest mountains in Australia before plunging down into the rolling country to the south of Gundagai. The climb at each end of the Snowy Mountains section is steep, tight and twisty. The run along the mountains rolls up and down and curves its way around spectacular peaks and valleys. Rod’s plan was to ride to Gundagai, then ride the famous highway to Cooma and on to Jindabyne for the Snowy Ride. The original plan for the return trip was to continue the Snowy Mountains Highway from Cooma to Bega; but it was decided to go through Queanbeyan, then along the Kings Highway through Braidwood and on to Batemans Bay on the coast. The Kings Highway is a great ride too; flowing across open country then rising and falling and winding its way through bushland on the Great Dividing Range before plunging down the twisting Clyde Mountain to the beauty of the NSW coastline. I’ve driven along all these roads, but by car, not by bike. (I’ve only ridden a small portion of the Kings Highway out from Queanbeyan). I’d love to ride them; and hope to do so one day. Although I enjoyed driving them too! Joining him for the ride, and in fact he’d ridden down that way the previous year, was another riding friend, Michael. Rod and Michael each had their wives (Jill and Desley, respectively), as pillion. Rod’s bike is a Yamaha FJR1300, and Michael was riding his Yamaha Virago 1100.
I’ll hand over to Rod for the story of the ride.
What a great weekend. Our ride started around 10am Thursday with the threat of rain. We decided to ride via Macquarie Pass and had an unhindered run until just before Robertson, then we ran into fog. For about 10 kilometres visibility varied from 50 metres to about 400 metres. From the western side of Robertson we had clear weather, but with high cloud, until about 20 kilometres north of Yass where the cloud was scattered with lots of sunshine. We did suffer from the cold though. The cold became progressively worse from Robertson to Goulburn. Marulan was all of 7 degrees when we rode through. Our stops were Marulan for Michael to refuel, Yass for lunch, the Dog on the Tucker Box and our motel in the centre of Gundagai. When we pulled up in Yass for lunch we noticed a group of 6 riders in the café we went to. It turned out that this group was from Coffs Harbour and were staying in the same motel as us in Gundagai. Their bikes were VFR800, rider and pillion; Yamaha Fazer, female rider; BMW F800 ST, another female rider; and a Yamaha FJR with rider and pillion. All were riding to Jindabyne for the Snowy Ride. On Friday we rode from Gundagai to Tumut where we had a brief stop, then through to Adaminaby for a short break of about 30 minutes. The day started out with beautiful weather and mild temperatures but as we climbed the Cumberland Range the temperature dropped dramatically. I think that would have been the coldest ride I have ever done. We then headed for Jindabyne via the back road to Berridale. The weather again was dry but very cold. The Snowy Mountain Highway would go close to being one of the best roads I have ridden. We would not have seen more than 10 or 12 other vehicles on that road until we reached Adaminaby. That is what I call enjoyable riding. We woke to a mild and sunny Saturday. We left Jindabyne about 9.15am and rode to the Dalgety showground where we had our card stamped and where I noticed that there were quite a number of FJRs. The ride to Dalgety was a little daunting at times with the boy-racers overtaking everyone. I guess that has to be expected under the circumstances. (The photo on the left was taken at Dalgety – Elwyn). After Dalgety we rode to Berridale for another stamp and then to Thredbo where we stopped for an hour or so for lunch. After leaving Thredbo we rode to a trout hatchery where they had an open day with markets.
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