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How Not to Spend Good Friday!

Matt had sent out an email to see if anyone was interested in riding to Wisemans Ferry then out to Windsor and home on Good Friday. I accepted but no one else showed any interest. The route data for this proposed ride, including the detour along Singleton Road, is available in the Routes section of this website, but as you read on, you'll discover that that was not actually where we went. After bringing up the map for our weekend rides, you should move the mouse over the red line that passes through Wiseman's Ferry, in order to highlight this particular route.

Upon telling Margaret, I was told, “But we have people coming for lunch on Friday!”.
I replied, “I thought they were coming for dinner. We'll be leaving at seven, so I should be able to make it back by twelve”. The ride is around 120 kilometres.
Margaret (in a bit of a huff): “I'd prefer you didn't but do what you want.”

I was a bit late getting away on Friday morning, causing me to forget to take any food; I only just remembered my water. I met up with Matt a few minutes later than the agreed time and continued up Old Northern Road. The traffic was light and, once beyond the range of our regular rides, there was usually a good and generous shoulder.

Along this segment of the ride, Matt says: “When we get to Wisemans Ferry I want to turn right and explore that road for a few kilometres”. I'm thinking that I was on a tight schedule as it was.

When we met up at Hawkins Lookout (Matt had stretched a lead of a kilometre by this stage), I indicated my concern. Matt replied, “That's alright, we won't go to Windsor, instead we'll go up Cliftonville Road to Sackville Ferry Road and return via Wisemans Ferry Road. I'll get you back in time; I need to get back myself.”

So we went along Singleton Road for that “few kilometres”. This is a most picturesque ride along the Hawkesbury River, as is the ride along River Road, but here there are farms here rather than cabins and caravan parks. Ten or so kilometres later I tell Matt, “We should turn around soon if I'm to get back in time.”

Matt: “We'll go for another kilometre then turn back.”

Two and a half kilometres later we encounter the end of the tarred surface, so, after Matt consults his Edge 800, we return along Singleton Road. Along the way Matt advises, “I need to stop in Wisemans Ferry to refill my water bottle, then I want to stop at that place in Leets Vale.”

I'm seeing my chances of getting back on time diminishing rapidly. As I come over the hump into Wisemans Ferry, I see Matt on his bike pointed to Wisemans Ferry. I signal to Matt that I'm headed along River Road, figuring that Matt, after replenishing his water, will be able to catch me up. That was the last I saw of Matt for that ride. So far I had covered around seventy kilometres.

I reached Lower Portland, where Cliftonville Road meets River Road, and turned up it. After around seven kilometres, I reached Sackville Ferry Road and turned left into it, then a few kilometres later I turned right into Wisemans Ferry Road. By this time I had covered around a hundred kilometres, and had refilled my second water bottle at a closed cafe along Sackville Ferry Road.

I was expecting the road to be reasonably flat for a couple of kilometres before descending past Riverside Oaks. After about nine kilometres of undulating road without any sign of the descent, I realised that I was fast running out of legs, so I decided to phone for help. This was around eleven-thirty.

Margaret: “Yes.” Obviously still not happy with me.
Greg: “Can you send Jessica to pick me up on Wisemans Ferry Road?”
Margaret: “No, Sarah has already arrived. I'll come and get you.”
Greg: “Come along Pitt Town Road and Millers Road.”

I then continued on, passing through Canoelands, Forest Glen, and into Glenorie, surprised that the towns that dotted Old Northern Road also reached across to Wisemans Ferry Road; they must be wide towns! Once I had reached Glenorie, at around 117 kilometres, I was done in. I rang Margaret.

Greg: “I'm on the outskirts of Glenorie and stopped. Where are you?”
Margaret: “I'm heading down Millers Road now.”

At this stage I was sitting under a tree, finishing off the third bottle of water. I had the bicycle propped against a post where I'd hoped that it would be obvious. Sometime later, when I thought that sufficient time had passed for Margaret to have reached me I phone her again.

Greg: “Where are you now?”
Margaret: “South Maroota.”
Greg: “That's up near Sackville Ferry Road. You've gone too far.”
Margaret: “Are you sure that you're not on Old Northern Road?”
Greg: “I came out of Sackville Ferry Road and turned right. I have to be on Wisemans Ferry Road.”
Margaret: “Are you sure you didn't turn left?”
Greg: “Yes I'm sure. You just must have missed me. Turn back.”

Margaret then hung up on me or else the connection dropped out. Sometime later Margaret phones me.

Margaret: “I've reached Old Northern Road, and you were nowhere along Wisemans Ferry Road.”
Greg: “I told you to turn around.”
Margaret: “Are you sure you're not on Old Northern Road?”
Greg: “I'm sure. You've just missed me. Come back and get me. You have to come through Canoelands and Forest Glen, then just as you get into Glenorie, look for me.”
Margaret: “But those towns are along Old Northern Road.”
Greg: “They're along Wisemans Ferry Road too. I should know; I've just ridden through them!”

By this time I was having a sense of deja vu, remembering the time that I was left soaking wet in Glossop, England because Margaret had gotten the agreed town wrong, then proceeded to get lost in Manchester, before reaching me an hour and a half later.

After more time had passed, I rang Margaret again.

Greg: “Where are you now?”
Margaret: “I'm passing Longneck Lagoon, heading to Windsor.”
Greg: “What?!!! You've missed me again! I told you that I was in Glenorie! What are you doing heading for Windsor?”
Margaret: “You weren't anywhere along Wisemans Ferry Road.”

By this stage I was starting to seriously consider the possibility that one or other of us had somehow stepped into a parallel universe.

Greg: “Well just go home. I'll see you there sometime this evening.”

This was said in a state of utter confusion and frustration. Margaret heard it as the self-pitying cry of a lost puppy dog.

Margaret: “I think that you are on Old Northern Road.”
Greg: “I can't be. I came up Cliftonville Road to Sackville Ferry Road then turned right into Wisemans Ferry Road.”
Margaret: “I've passed Cliftonville Road; it meets Wisemans Ferry Road!”

The penny dropped! Bloody Matt!

Margaret: “Do you know where Dural Pitt Town Road goes?”
Greg: “Not any more, I don't!”
Margaret: “I'll come and get you on Old Northern Road.”

By this time some life had returned to my legs, so I hopped back on the bike. After coming over the rise, I saw the Glenorie Rural Fire Brigade and finally realised where I was. Soon I got another call from Margaret.

Margaret: “I'm at Cattai Ridge Road and Old Northern Road, which way should I turn?”
Greg: “Left.”
Margaret: “North?”
Greg: “Yes, North.” Not that my north-south is any more reliable than my left-right.

The car finally appears. From the time Margaret gets out until half the way home I'm subjected to an ear-bashing.

Margaret: “That sign at Wisemans Ferry Road and Old Northern Road says ‘OLD NORTHERN ROAD’ right across the top!”
Greg: “But I knew where I was, I was more interested in reading the distance to Dural.”
Margaret: “I've driven over a hundred kilometres trying to find you ...”

My only excuse is that I was probably not at my best as I was nearing exhaustion.

We finally arrived home at one-thirty. I unhitched the bike as Margaret went inside. When I arrived inside Margaret was relating the saga and everyone was laughing.

Greg: “So, Margaret has finally seen the funny side!”
Elizabeth: “No, we're all laughing; Margaret still isn't.”

Those who remained behind