A group of tough bikers has been informally meeting at Byron Bay lighthouse at dawn every summer solstice for several years to ride as far west as they can before the sun sets.
It’s not an organised event, but around 100 riders turn up and take on the challenge of riding the longest day of the year, often making it as far as South Australia and covering most of the distance on dirt.
These are hardened jockeys.
Me, I’m a bit more of a soft jock.
So on Friday (June 21) I’m going to tackle a similar trip, but on the winter solstice which is the shortest day of the year. Ten-and-a-half hours in total.
I’m also going to take it easy, stick to the tar (mainly because my review bike is a Moto Guzzi Griso – pictured) and stop frequently to see the sites, sample the coffees and maybe have an afternoon nap along the way.
I had invited all my best mates, but only one is showing up.
Dean Kelly is the only one tough enough, dumb enough and with a boss that lets him go on a Friday.
Deano will be riding his trusty Suzuki DL650 V-Strom freedom machine. We’ll head down to the Middle Pub in Mullumbimby tomorrow evening so we can get to the lighthouse by 6.35am on Friday when the sun pokes up over the horizon.
Anyone out there want to tag along? We’ll meet you at the lighthouse at dawn on Friday.
The plan then is to find a nice warm coffee shop for a big brekky.
After that, we’ll basically follow the Bruxner Highway to Goondiwindi, taking it quite easy on the twisty highway as rain has been forecast.
We then pass through Tenterfield where the maximum is expected to stay in the single digits.
Sunset is at 4.55pm.
I’m not sure what time we will arrive in Goondiwindi, but if there is enough light left after a day’s meandering through the Central Highlands, we may press on to the north as far as Miles or Taroom, although I’m a bit worried about riding through that area at dusk with the roos in plague proportions at the moment because of all the rain.
Also, there is the fabulous Queensland Hotel in Gundy that serves possibly the best steak in the Sunshine State.
Another reason for not continuing west is that Deano has to be back at 4pm on Saturday for a family function. Me, I’ll probably continue north on Saturday toward Biloela and head home Sunday.
Since I’ll be away from home this will be my first attempt to blog on the run.
Not sure how successful that will be, but please follow Deano and me as we try to ride all day … on the shortest day of the year.
And, again, anyone who is free is invited to tag along. But this is NOT an organised ride, ok?
Footnote: In the Gregorian calendar the June solstice dates vary. For example, it was on June 20 in 2012 and falls on June 21 at 6.35am in 2013. A June 22 solstice will not occur until June 22, 2203. The last time there was a June 22 solstice, was in 1971.