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My Munda Biddi New knee - big tree

In June 2018 I spent nine days on the Munda Biddi and covered a bit less than half. It was great. South to north was the way I tackled it. I say “tackled it” rather than “planned it”, because the planning was pretty sketchy.

I don’t mean I was foolhardy; my bike was prepped and my gear was good. I took a tent and used it. I was also carrying stuff like a medium format film camera and iPad for writing, which I used too. But I was slow. Slow probably for three reasons:

1). I was carrying rather a lot of shit.

2). I was still breaking in my new artificial knee.

3). I enjoyed being slow and looking at the amazing country.

I’m from South Australia and the bottom end of WA was entirely new to me. The coastline around Albany and Denmark blew me away. First days on the trail I was in heaven.

There’s also another reason I did not plan too much. Riding the Mawson in SA, some trips in Vietnam and Japan, a couple of the Eurovelos in France and Spain and now a chunk of the Munda Biddi I have observed that all trails have their own personalities. It is something I feel is difficult to put in to words, but until you experience them in person it is really difficult to know what you’re in for. You need to leave room in the plans for local conditions

To try to sum it up though, the Munda Biddi is plush. It is very well signposted. If you get to an intersection and can’t see a sign, there’s an 80 percent chance you’ve missed a turn. I didn’t come across any bits that weren’t rideable on a solid fork tourer with panniers. The huts (that I saw) were great. There is water.

My learning curve was: rain is your friend. In riding the Mawson in SA I feared the rain because it would turn sections of the track to unridable wheelclogging shitholes that should be banished to hell. On the Munda Biddi though, the rain settled the pea-gravel and the sand and made them smooth and welcoming. I purred over sandy sections that would probably have made me cry in summer. Likewise when the track got drier in my last few days I started to have to be careful on the pea-gravel, which is not as much fun as treating it with disdain.

The storms did get me though. I did not have storms while I was riding, but recent weather had brought down lots of trees and saplings, particularly on the close single track sections. Instead of averaging 10+kph for the day is was more like 6kph on a bad day. Nothing wrong with that in itself but 50km changes from “what will I do in the arvo?” To “will I make it in before dark?” And I was riding in winter solstice, so the days were short.

What I will remember most, I think, is the majesty of the giant trees and the untouched beauty of the country around Mt Frankland and the Frankland river. I had never seen trees like that, and they were possessed of such power that it really was quite a spiritual experience being totally alone for three days travelling through their piece of the earth.

The more I rode the stronger I became, and so by the time I arrived in Manjimup I didn’t mind at all that I had to pack it all in and get up to Perth. The trail and the trees had done their work.

Created By
David Hume
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