Bungendore Beer Ride

Words & Photos by Jim Robertson

5 minutes

The Bungendore Beer Ride (aka BBRAG) was born from the realisation that ‘not every ride has to hurt’ in distance, or effort, for those that ride regularly and yet is also a ride for those who may want to ‘give it a go’.

Started in late November 2020 and shared through my own local contacts of cyclists, I put the idea out there to ride a short local loop with the intention of carrying a beer to share post-ride. 

The timing seemed right, with Covid-19 group gathering restrictions lifting and a feeling that people needed to get out and socialise again, share stories and feel warmth from friendship. A couple of regulars got on-board for the first ride and away we went.

The Bungendore Beer Ride

The regular riders are generally the group who would ride at the weekends on longer routes, so a big intention for these rides was making it accessible for those that are new to group riding. Ensuring people that would like to join in on a group ride can do just that without feeling overwhelmed or out of depth.

From my very own experience, this has resulted in my wife SJ joining in on a group ride experience without the fear of going beyond her capability as she grows her own cycling ability and doesn’t have to feel like she’s being a burden on the group. An additional benefit of riding together is that we now pay a local for childminder to look after our children while we ride, adding to the overall wealth of the community.

And on it spins & grows.

Building Friendships and Keeping it Accessible

To keep the loop friendly and achievable for all, the route’s a little over 20km in total and covers a mixed-terrain loop of Bungendore’s streets, gravel, lanes and byways, even a little forest single-track brings many smiles.  

Many people didn’t realise the wealth of mixed riding available in Bungendore and it’s truly amazing what you find if you just get out on a bike. Keeping the route local, criss-crossing the town, makes it even more accessible as riders can easily get out on a bike and join in, then call it a day at any time and turn for home. Or, better still, head back to the Village Square where we start and finish to share in that post ride beer & banter.

At times some riders may miss the start due to other commitments but because the loop is fixed they just meet up and join in as we go. There is a real enjoyment making our way around town, chatting as we go, watching and listening to the sounds of the town as the day comes to a close. Friendships are formed. We are getting a few waves from people in their gardens as they start to recognise the friendly beer riders passing by. 

Ride What You Have

The ride takes place Every Thursday evening at 6.30pm and a full loop usually takes 1hr10min to 1hr 30mins. The pace is very much casual as no one gets dropped and as for lycra, this too is very much casual… wear what you like and bring what you ride.

The Ride does have a Strava Group (Bungendore Beer Ride) where members join and every ride gets posted with photos capturing the sights of the town and the joy of the ride. We also advertise the ride on the local Bungendore Facebook Community Page with posts to encourage all.  We have even been featured on Canberra ABC Radio morning show. Rider numbers are not huge, as not everyone can make every week, but I assure you the ride goes on, regardless of weather, temperatures or bike mechanicals… just grab something else from the shed. 

We’ve seen a pretty good mix of bikes on the ride ranging from Gravel, MTB, Touring, E-Bike, Hybrid, Fixie, BMX ! and even a Trials Bike !  Not recommended but if you’ve got the ability then bring it along!

From seedlings great Oaks will grow. The group ride and chat creates a platform to enable us to plan for other adventures. We often discuss longer weekend ventures, which has seen others take interest and join in… we have even had our first experience of BBRAG does BikePacking with a local ride out – camp out – ride back. An absolutely cracking little adventure, giving great opportunity to test rigs or introduce oneself to the world of BikePacking, with more sure to follow.

A couple of thoughts that stick with me… if I can get one person out on the group ride who wouldn’t normally be riding on a Thursday evening, or bring a smile to the face of someone less able to cycle as they view the photos on the local Community page posts, then for me, that’s worth every effort.

Thanks to Jim for sharing this story of the Bungendore Beer Ride, check out Jim’s instagram page for more information on the ride.