We go down under to Australia on a weekend bikecamp with Pepper aka Book Bike Brew. Pepper pedals on bike adventures around the world, finding fun-fillment in trails, friends, and puns. Read more in this guest post about Peppers weekend gourmet-food-infused bike adventure below with photos from @gourmetbikecc.
Prepare yourself for a magical culinary tour through the majestic forests of Warburton, Victoria down under in sunny Australia. A few weekends ago my highly organised pal Ed Liew invited myself and our friends Brody and Jimmy on a two night bicycle adventure with a theme to remember: gourmet food made with our trusty camp stoves. As they say when making campfire puns, it was lit.
On the first day I found myself explaining “trail names” as the bike shop I work for, Commuter Cycles, just hosted a rad slide show night where some of our Aussie mates had gone and done the Appalachian Trail in the States. They came back and explained to us the importance of earning a trail name along the way, and we decided to uphold this tradition on our ride along a spectacular route called Acheron Way. I wore my trusty Bedrock Cairn sandals for the ride and they did not disappoint. The Cairn (and all the Bedrocks really) are perfect for bike touring because you can stomp straight into river crossings without taking your cycling shoes off, and the little rubber side wing thingies plus adjustable rear heel strap mean you don’t slide around at all while pedalling.
Pepper (Trail Name Moose): an adventure cyclist hailing from Denver, Colorado and currently living in Melbourne. Adventure Wagon of Choice: Surly Disc Trucker.
Ed (Trail Name Chef): chief instigator, organiser of the ride, and main food master. Ed is a fantastic photographer and loves to “max load” his touring bike with epic film cameras and incredible meals. Adventure Wagon of Choice: Soma Wolverine.
Brody (Trail Name Nugget): phenomenal tattoo artist and cyclist. Brody is a strong climber on the bike and is exceptional at drawing. Brody created the new image used for our bike shop’s postcards, patches and bidons. Adventure Wagon of Choice: Surly Straggler.
Jimmy (Trail Name Titanium Banjo): Jimmy was the primary non-complainer and good mood bringer of the group. An absolute packhorse, Jimmy was able to carry fantastic quantities of camping equipment and whiskey and although he was on a bike that had recently been *mostly* refurbished and creatively loaded he never once uttered a single complaint even when visibly uncomfortable. Jimmy also plays several entertaining instruments although was unable to carry them on this particular ride as more attention was given to ridiculously heavy and impractical (yet delicious) food items. Adventure Wagon of Choice: Shogun Alpine GT.
Ed absolutely outdid himself and brought us all special olive bread with prosciutto, marinated green grapes with feta and olives, sea salt kettle chips, avocado, and incredible sausage and yellow tomato chutney purchased from a farm stand we passed on the drive up. Snacks were provided by each rider and shared amongst the group. A huge highlight for me was Japanese Mochi and salty seaweed brought by Brody. Dinner was a Northern Style Chinese Noodle Soup which Ed whipped out upon arrival at Anderson Mill camp.
Ed provided most of the snacks and meals for the trip and he especially put forth some effort with his Day 1 planning as most of that weight would be eaten and therefore not carried the rest of the ride. We drove to the start of the route in Warburton, Victoria, and he proceeded to unpack the unbelievable picnic lunch mentioned above (enough food for four people) at the start of the famous O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail which was the beginning of the ride.
All up in the three days we cycled about 150km (just under 100 miles) on winding gravel roads through Warburton, Victoria to Marysville, Victoria and back. I asked the group, “water we waiting for?!” and added a little bit to the route to see a waterfall nearby on the second day. We had absolutely perfect weather and were very *eggcited* as we avoided most of the Easter traffic as lots of people avoid driving the gravel roads.
Our only real obstacle were leeches which we found difficult to avoid as we stopped in the grass on the side of the road to snack! I was pretty lucky I had my Bedrocks on for the ride as I was quickly able to spot leeches before they attached themselves whereas the other riders had to periodically scoop a finger around the ring of their socks and boots! All in all the weekend was a great success. 10/10 would ride with the Gourmet Bike Camping Club again. You can find more of Ed’s images and menu items on Instagram if you search @gourmetbikecc.
**UPDATE** since the time of this ride I upgraded to the Bedrock Cairn 3D Adventure sandals and they are impressing me even more than the first pair I’ve been touring in for some time now! The soles are much stiffer and the foot grip detail on the bed makes your toes grip comfortably when pedalling. All in all they’re the perfect biketouring sandal.