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Dryandra Woodlands Adventure

In May, 18 WATCAC members and friends headed down to Dryandra Woodlands, 165 km south east of Perth, for a fabulous long weekend exploring the trails, single track and roads in the area. The Lions Club of Narrogin run the tiny 1920’s former forestry settlement, Lions Dryandra Village.  This cottage accommodation and education centre is meticulously hosted by Lisa and John. Our group spread out over several cottages ensuring comfortable sleeping arrangements.  Sue and Connie set up the long table in the aptly named Wallaby cottage which became the hub of our non-riding activities.

On arrival, the numerous approaches to Dryandra had been matched by our numerous car loads and no consensus could be reached on the best.  James claimed the woollens shop via Williams was the way to go, Jennifer claimed the coffee at Bannister was irresistible while Rob claimed the lowest carbon footprint and hence the high moral ground, via the Wandering shortcut.

James and Jenny were first out on the trails collecting valuable intel on a couple of the local sites, thus ensuring an “easy start” for the first bunch ride of the weekend.  The Wallaby group rode south and west along the woodland boundary fire trail to a local highpoint, putting our knobby tyre traction to the test on a couple of the hills and turns.  Only one bike conquered ‘big hill’ successfully and they shall remain nameless, following the unstated rule that what goes down (or up) at Dryandra stays at Dryandra.  Meanwhile the more experienced Possum team struck out in various directions, gathering more intel for subsequent group rides on the Sunday.

For most of our blind and vision impaired participants trail bike riding was a new experience. They were soon discovering all the fun, bumps, scrapes that bush riding has to offer, exciting yet peaceful. New tandem pilot Chris was settling into the conditions very well, having grown up on dirt trails as a youngster.

Over the next few days we settled into a contrasting routine consisting primarily of riding and eating. Or was that eating and riding? Most of us seemed content with this arrangement, particularly as we were sampling the generosity of Sue and Connie’s kitchen.  We mixed in a range of fire trail, gravel road, single track and tar seal, not to mention soup, massaman curry, nachos bean con carne, gourmet croissant toasties and freshly brewed coffee.  By this stage you’re thinking “How did I miss this?”

While exploring the local geography, we also explored several rider combinations to provide a range of experiences for everyone.  Among the cycling fraternity we did note a couple of cycling cop-outs, but alas under the Dryandra convention we are bound to reveal no more.

Not content with the outstanding riding conditions and lovely weather, our most hyperactive member, James, set up a game of Finska, Norway’s whacky version of skittles.  The rules were duly adapted to suit the participants and with the rattle of a tin of mints, play-on was called.  The largest contest proved to be between the cheese board and the Finska field but suffice to say that our sighted players faired quite poorly with their eyes closed.  This mediocre performance was particularly apparent pitched against some of the State’s blind cricketing legends.  But alas under the Dryandra convention we are bound to secrecy once more.

A big shout out to Connie and Sue for keeping us so well fed, to James and Jenny, Jennifer and David, Rob and Juliann for helping transport bikes, to James for his energetic piloting, to David for helping keep us safe, to new members Chris and Ivy and all our participants for having a go and making it fun and finally to Rob, Jo and Sue on the organising committee for pulling it all together.


Dryandra Woodlands Adventure (direct link)


A sighted and VI tandem pair accelerate up a gravel trail to maintain momentum.  A spray of dirt, a little artistic licence, is shown coming from the back wheel.
This dual suspension Ventana had a good work out on the Dryandra gravel, with a little extra gravel thrown in for fun!


Nine cyclists with four tandems are standing between young white-barked wandoo trees with a view of the woodlands and farmlands in the background.
A rest stop at one of the old hill top fire lookouts.


Four tandems and a single bike are riding side by side towards the camera, along the gravel road that runs through the Dryandra settlement.  The long shadows and rugged up riders indicate it was an early start.
Off for another ride!


Two tandems have paused at the crest of a gravel trail, their riders remain straddling the bikes while one responds to messages on their phone.
A hilltop with phone signal made an irresistible stop so our riders could remain connected to the outside world.


The photo shot from a drone shows four tandems and a single bike riding head to tail from left to right along a firm surfaced fire trail, backed by tall Eucalypt woodland and clear blue sky.
Fire trails like this one provided delightful riding along the edge of timbered areas and through the woodlands.