Easter Explore ’22

Early Friday morning, a group of our staff members and friends set out from the shop to embark on a long weekend riding around the Victorian High Country, traditional lands of the Jaitmatang Aboriginal people, max loaded with wine and cheese.

The focus of this ride was minimum kms, maximum good times- a great introduction to multi day bikepacking for some of the crew. Sometimes we see people steer away from bikepacking because they associate it with long days, and cold nights; We wanted to show a different side of it.

Adam rode the Mary Poppins of bikes, loaded with four pannier bags that kept producing an astonishing amount of food, beverages and utensils. Notable inclusions… crunchy nut cornflakes, 4L of wine, boxes of Shapes, a carton of eggs, a frying pan, and whisky.

Highlights of our weekend of exploration and relaxation included a little hike down to a secret-ish swimming spot, a full moon rising, and morning “coffee club” in various high-country huts.

Our route took us on a circuit of huts around Falls Creek, never travelling more than 20km a day; Following portions of the Langford East Aqueduct track, we moved from Wallaces to Ryders Hut, before making a lunch stop at Tawonga on the last afternoon. It is important to note that huts are not to be used as accommodation unless in extreme conditions.

On day 1, we departed from Commuter Cycles HQ at 9am (after several cups of coffee), arriving at Falls Creek village at 1pm. After unloading the bikes, we rolled out!

The first day was a breezy 15km cruise to Wallace’s hut. A beautiful 19th century structure, it has provided a refuge from the elements for over 130 years. For us, it was a place to set up our tents, crowd around a picnic table, cook a lovely group dinner and drink the box of wine Adam had kindly carried. (Pro tip: the more you drink, the less you have to carry the next day).

Wallace’s Hut
Framework Designs boss Tia Evans

Wallace’s hut also has the convenience of a drop toilet, and the nearby aqueduct for water. Don’t drink it without filtration though! We recommend the Katadyn water filter for getting all the nasty little microbes out.

Day 2 was a leisurely start, rolling out of camp at just after midday. The ride from Wallace’s hut to Ryders follows the Langford East aqueduct, a reasonably well-kept gravel double-track. Most of our crew were riding what is again becoming dubbed the ATB (All-Terrain-Bike), but as these pictures show, this covers a BROAD range of bikes.

Ying on her Trek 520 with Framework Designs pint-sized panniers and framebag, and Wizard works basket bag.
Pete on his Surly Bridge Club, complete with K-Lite setup and WizardWorks bags.
Eric on his Merida AL-BON-TECH 870, with Rene Herse rubber, and Frameworks Designs Overlander.
Caff on her Bombtrack Beyond + , with her beloved BikeBagDude fork bags
Finn on his Surly Midnight Special, bikepacking with a medley of Sea-to-Summit drybags, a Tumbleweed T-Rack, and plenty of Voile Straps
Maddy on her Salsa Fargo. Her first bikepacking trip, sporting Curve Dirt Hoops and SRAM AXS GX Eagle drivetrain

If this post has so far sounded like a straightforward, A-to-B linear trip, let us set the record straight; Falls Creek is FULL of places to explore, and we were out to scout every nook and cranny. Before setting up at Ryders Hut, Adam MacBeth took us off the beaten track to show us arguably one of the prettiest spots in the entire area. We’re not about to give away its location, but if you come by the shop sometime, we might be able to offer some clues 😉

We were incredibly fortunate to have sunny, calm weather throughout the trip, even allowing us to go for a swim (albeit a chilly one). However, the Victorian High Country can be bitterly cold at this time of year, and we would recommend that no matter what the forecast is, you bring lots of warm layers and things to keep them dry! Most of our bikepacking bags are fully water proof, as well as our range of Sea to Summit dry bags.

A further lesson learned by some of our party was the disparity in sleeping bag temperature ratings; Most sleeping bags state a “minimum temperature”. This is by default rated to the comfort levels of a cisgender male, leaving everyone else, quite literally, out in the cold. While we wait for industry standards to catch up on this, we encourage you to have a conversation to your local hiking shop staff before buying anything.

With the dawn of the third day, we had to make some adjustments. After our last 2 days of sun, the forecast warned of strong winds, cold, and rain that evening. Not wishing to tarnish what had otherwise been a perfect trip, we decided to accelerate our plans, condensing the rest of our riding into 1 day. From Ryders hut, we ambled into Pretty Valley, before climbing over to Tawonga Hut; A beautiful cluster of shelters, it was the perfect place for lunch.

And with that, we rolled back to the Falls Creek carpark. Cars were packed, sore legs stretched, empty tummies filled, and hugs shared. The only thing on our minds now is when we can get back up there!

Written by Finn and Tia

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Commuter Cycles acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional custodians of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Brunswick, and pays respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging, as well as to all First Nations’ communities in Australia.