I love coming across home grown creativity such as this humourous hedge clip in a garden in Mytleford, Victoria. Too good a photo oppertunity to miss, it prompted me to get off my bike. Mytleford, a 30km bike ride along the Murrey to Mountains Rail Trail from Bright, was our lunch destination.
The Rail Trail – this section at least – is a fabulous bike path for recreational riders who don’t want to puff too much. First stop, for morning coffee, is the Rail Trail Cafe at Porpunkah, barely a stone’s throw from Bright. (Six kilometres to be precise, though I am reluctant to admit we stopped so soon). Enjoying the sunshine alongside the regular serious riders, we soak up the local news. The trendy makeover of the hundred year old Porpunkah Hotel – rebranded the Punka Pub – is not popular with the locals: too posh they say.
It’s too early in the the day for wine tasting so we ride straight past Boynton’s Feathertop Winery. The trail takes us through lush green pastures, and stands of paperbarks in low lying areas that are now waterlogged after the recent flooding. There are quaint old timber tobacco kilns, a reminder of the days when the main farm crop in the Ovens Valley was tobacco. We come across huge trellises, wired and ready for hops. Eighteenth century English textile factories come to mind. These structures look like massive, contorted outdoor looms.
I giggle when I see Col dismount with bandy legs, swaggering stiffly at the Pumpkin Seeds shop just outside Mytleford. Any resemeblance to John Wayne is purely co-incidental. No doubt I look the same. The chocolate coated pumpkin seeds pepped us up, but we came away with some delicious ‘purely naked’ seeds and pumpkin seed oil; perfect for adding to a salad.
And so to lunch at Chakra which, according to a local rider, has the best coffee in the Ovens Valley. He cycles 60km most days for his fix. We are not disappointed. By the time we drop our bikes off at the friendly and knowledgeable team at Cycle Path Bike Hire, we are ready for a cleansing ale. The Bright Brewery beckons. Here’s to a great day on good bikes with friendly fellow travellers.