Munda Biddi Trail Ride 2006

The Track

or

What the Official Pictures Don't Show

What the Official Pictures Show

The (otherwise excellent) maps, as well as the official web site, show plenty of pictures, which generally have one thing in common: relaxed riders standing or casually riding on wide and flat roads. Most of them don't even carry any camping gear and are obviously day riders.

One would be excused thinking that the track is pretty boring

Nothing could be further from the truth—but the PR “experts” in charge of the project probably never sat on a bike since the age of 16.

The Reality

The trail goes through the same area as the well-known Bibbulmun Track, in fact, there is a stretch of maybe 20km that is actually on the Bibbulmun. Consequently, the trail has a lot of variation. Track1 29Dec Track2 27Dec Track3 27Dec Track4 27Dec Track6 27Dec A steep ascent might be followed by some flat bits or sometimes a tricky downhill part that kept you on your toes. Similarly, wide cut-outs on fire tracks gave way to forest tracks closely surrounded by trees and bushes, and often enough we encountered single-lane tracks, where bushes and branches brushed our legs, arms and sometimes we even needed to tuck our heads. For someone (like us) who loves bushwalking as well as cycling, this is about as good as it gets. The people at CALM, the WA department responsible for natural parks, are to be highly commended for creating a truly great trail!

The track surface was quite varied too: plenty of pea-gravel, some good forest-soil tracks with the occasional logs or whole tree trunks across (some were ridable, frequently the track detoured around them, an effective way to keep cars out :-). Pea-gravel Track Pea-gravel2 Pea-gravel1 There also were some sandy patches and the steep parts were frequently strongly eroded, with with gravel, rocks and big ruts. The sandy bits were usually ok to ride, except for many bends which were dug out by morons on dirt-bikes ignoring the bicycles-only signs.

Track5 29Dec Track4 29Dec Track3 29Dec Track2 29Dec Track1 29Dec The pea gravel was probably the most tricky to ride, and in many steep sections forced us to dismount and push the bikes. But by Day Four we found the pea gravel much less of a problem. By then we were able to negotiate most climbs without getting off, and the downhill bits seemed to get longer and faster. We now could throughly enjoy the bush experience! From about the middle we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the track!

Probably not too surprising, we were always busy negotiating the track when it was difficult, so unfortunately we only have photos of fairly tame sections.

Difficulty

The first day seemed by far the hardest, but we are pretty sure that this was highly subjective, a result of not being properly acclimatised to the hot conditions, riding for too long during the hottest part of the day, and generally still to learn off-road riding techniques. Things were already noticeably easier on the second day. Technically we think that our third day was probably the most difficult. The next two days were fine, the last outright easy.

We found the steep uphill parts the most challenging ones, mostly because we carried a fair bit of weight. The longer less-steep ascents were comparatively easy. The official maps show track profile and a easy-medium-challenging rating, which needs to be taken with a grain of salt. We found some of the “moderate” parts indistinguishable from the immediately adjacent “challenging” bits, while other “moderate” parts were outright easy. It obviously depends on fitness and technique, and we suspect that the grading was oriented at day riders carrying no gear.

Wildlife

We had our fair share of wildlife on this trip. Track1 29Dec Each morning we would stir up plenty of kangaroos, we estimate that we saw in average at least twenty a day. One day we saw emus twice, first a single one, later a group of four. They ran off before we could get close enough for a photo. Day Five treated us to a good-sized (80cm) goanna. And, naturally, there were many variety of birds from the very early morning to sunset: Kookaburras, galahs, lorikeets, cockatoos, willy wagtails and many more.

Other things to see

Dandalup Dam While some of the trail is through national park, most is state forest and water catchment protection area. The vary bad state of Perth's water supply was demonstrated by North Dandalup Reservoir, which we estimated to be at no more than 25% capacity. Lake C Y O'connor, which we had seen from the plane, seemed similarly depleted.

Conveyor Belt A more unusual sight was the Alcoa conveyor belt which transports ore from the mining area just east of the trail towards the coast. Much of the water protection area around Lake Banksiadale (not touched by the Munda Biddi, although there is a camping area at South Dandalup Dam) is being mined. While we had lunch at a little stream coming out of that area, an Alcoa employee showed up to check the water monitoring station there.


Trudy & Gernot


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