Epic test ready at last

Ron Colman on a training ride. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d397926
Ron Colman on a training ride. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d397926

An avid off-road cyclist, Mr Colman started riding along Munda Biddi nearly 10 years ago when it was still in its first stage, stretching 332km from Mundaring to Collie.

In 2006 he joined up with the Munda Biddi Foundation supporters to get the trail extended to Jarrahwood, and then to its final point in Albany ” a distance of 1000km.

‘I had been riding the trail for a while, and I took an interest in it and realised that it wasn’t progressing fast,’ Mr Colman said.

‘I went up to the foundation office one day and said, ‘what’s the deal, when’s the next section going to be open?’ So I just got involved in the board, along with other people who were asking the same questions.

‘It’s been a long time coming. The whole trail basically has been about 12 years in construction, from 2001 until now.

‘It will certainly be the longest continuous purpose-built off-road trail in the world, so it has its own place.’

Mr Colman said long-distance riding had its own challenges and rewards.

‘It’s really about kitting yourself out properly to be able to ride 40 to 50 kilometres off-road on a gravel surface for a day,’ he said.

Mr Colman said usually there were different groups along the route.

‘You roll up and you’ll have people riding north to south and others riding south to north, and they’ll talk about the sections they’ve ridden and they’ll give you advice, and share their riding history.

‘You meet people you’d never have the opportunity to meet, and everyone’s quite open and welcoming.’

The trail opens this Sunday.

Mr Colman will lead one of the first teams to tackle the entire stretch. Others will compete in relay teams.