Riding Brisbane Valley Rail Trail With Kids

Bicycle Queensland’s Chair and Director, Rachel Nolan has ridden the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail each year end to end across four days since her son was four years old, he is now seven. Below is Rachel’s guide on how to ride the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail!

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail 

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is Australia’s longest rail trail running 161km from Yarraman in the South Burnett to Wulkuraka on the outskirts of Ipswich.  The full trail opened in 2018, with the full history available here.

The trail is generally dirt with concrete sections, however it can be comfortably ridden with fairly basic riding ability.

The Logistics 

To get to the start of the trail, we use the shuttle service provided by Out There Cycling (book online, around $80 per person Wulkuraka to Yarraman). The bus picks us up at the trail head and takes around 90 mins to get to the other end at Yarraman.

We live in Ipswich so we ride from home to the start but if you’re coming from elsewhere, you could get a very early train to Wulkuraka and ride the less than 1km to the trail head at Grace Street, Wulkuraka or you could leave your car in the carpark there.  I’ve heard people have done this for days with no problem.

Day 1 : Yarraman to Linville

I’ve done this ride just with my son, with my parents and with friends. It’s always been with people who have pretty reasonable fitness but varying levels of technical bike ability. We aim to ride about 40km a day, which I think is enough for my son on a tagalong.

The first day is glorious, Yarraman to Blackbutt is through open, rolling country with lots of grass trees. We stop for a sausage roll at the Blackbutt Bakery, then roll the downhill section to Linville. In Linville we stay at Linville Country Cottage which is not cheap but very pleasant. There’s also accommodation at the fantastic Linville Hotel, which is where we go for dinner.

Day 2 : Linville to Toogoolawah

The biggest hills (not that big) and the cool tunnel are on Day 2!

We have breakfast before leaving, then have great coffee at Kai Lounge in Moore, lunch at Harlin (pub or service station) and make it to Toogoolawah by early afternoon. The Toogoolawah Exchange Hotel is a brilliant, unadulterated country pub (about $80 per room per night). This time we arrived on cattle sale day so we checked that out in the afternoon.

Day 3 : Toogoolwah to Coominya

After breakfast at the Hav’A Chat cafe, we ride to Esk where there’s a great new coffee roastery right next to the trail. There’s a long gentle hill up Mount Hallen from Esk, some steep gullies (you can walk), then a fast 10km burn into Coominya.

We always stay at Bellevue Homestead and it is an extraordinary experience.  The homestead dates from the 1840s and is a remarkable colonial building with warm and generous owners. There are great pub meals at the Coominya Hotel. Coominya is tiny so if you can’t get that accommodation, you can go on another 12km and stay in Lowood.

Day 4 : Coominya to Ipswich

A great roll downhill out of Coominya to the Lockyer Valley bridge, a trestle bridge which the current state government restored for the rail trail. At Fernvale we have a sausage roll (coffee and slice for adults), then 23km back to the trail head in Ipswich. Each day we finish riding by early afternoon so there’s lots of beer, nap or reading time in the afternoon.

Costs and booking

The only real key to logistics is to work out how far you want to ride each day and book around that. The Department of Transport and Main Roads (which own and maintain the trail) provides a reasonable website here. The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association has a really good website which has a super useful distance calculator.

For us, over four days, it can take a bit of organisation to get accommodation available on the right nights.  For this trip, I wanted to go on the Anzac Day or Labour Day long weekends but left booking too late so we ended up on the Ipswich Show Holiday long weekend.

With 5 people (4 adults, one child) the trip this time cost:
DayTotal costCost per person
1 – Shuttle$400$80
1 – Linville Cottage$500 (includes breakfast makings)$100
2 – Toogoolawah Exchange Hotel$85 room for 2$45
3 – Bellevue Homestead$290 (including cooked breakfast)$60
Meals (estimate of 3 pub dinners, 4 café or bakery lunches and 1 breakfast) $180
TOTAL $465
Bike set up 

I take my son on a WeeRide tagalong (99 Bikes $285), which I tow behind my carbon fibre hardtail MTB.  My friend Jim who we rode with this time, rides an aluminium hardtail MTB and my parents have e-bikes.

I take spare tubes for both bikes (two for me, one for the tagalong), tyre levers, a hand pump, an Allen key set and a bike lock.  You could get away without the lock if all your accommodation has lock up bike storage (and you’re going to stop for lunch with your bike in sight).

It’s worth doing a bike service before leaving. The one time I was busy and didn’t, I had both a bike shoe blowout and a broken pedal. It was all a bit of a disaster, although Out There Cycling (who run a bike shop in Moore) bailed me out with flat pedals.


Having done a lot of bushwalking, I am massively uptight about weight. I also get a sore back if my pack is too tightly packed (pulling back my shoulders) or too heavy. In my case, I’m carrying the gear for both my son and I so the basic rule I’m following is two sets of bike gear (in case it rains), one set of evening clothes (including warm stuff) and that’s it.

Because of my back pain, this year I bought a Zefal handlebar pack (about $100, 99 Bikes). I put the heavy stuff (tubes, lock, shoes) in it and it was total gold.

Packing list (including what we were wearing):
• 2 knicks
• 2 jerseys
• 2 sports bras
• 1 set sun sleeves
• 1 bike rain jacket 
• Bike shoes
• Helmet 
• (I only wore one set of bike gear so next year might ditch the second)
• Light pants
• Thermal tights 
• Thermal top 
• Puffer jacket 
• 2 pairs undies 
• Light slip on shoes
• 2 pairs shorts
• 2 long sleeved shirts
• 2 x undies 
• 2 x singlets
• Rain jacket 
• 1 jumper
• 1 pair fleece tracksuit pants 
• PJs (not strictly necessary)
• 1 pair sandals
• 1 pair sneakers
• Moisturiser (tiny tube)
• Toothbrushes, toothpaste 
• Comb (brush is too big)
• Sunscreen
• Pawpaw ointment (which is just as good as chamois cream, and does lips as well!)
• A bag of snakes and a couple of gels
• Water bottle (I use a short bike one because I’m often filling up in bathrooms and the tall ones don’t fit)

The Conclusion 

I cannot tell you how much I love the BVRT and am thrilled that in Ipswich (and to a lesser extent, our satellite city of Brisbane) it’s just right there. I can be working, stressed and caught up in my “stuff” but it’s great to know the BVRT is a whole other world, and it’s 2km from my house. I do admit to an extra pleasure because it was largely built when I was in government and I just think we did a damn good thing!

Riding it each year with my son has been a total joy. At first, when he was three, he went on a Mac Ride (a top tube seat) with my father. At four, we got the tagalong and while he’s getting heavier, he also pedals more now.  I reckon he’ll make the transition to riding himself on his own bike when he’s about nine or ten– but we’ll see.

Each year, we enjoy different things and each year, there are more people on the trail, the coffee gets better and the spirit around it improves as it’s increasingly discovered. The first year, the logistics took a bit of working out (which is why I’ve written this, and I also recommended the website mentioned) but now that I’ve worked it out, it’s easy and a joy that’s right there.

My goals as a parent are pretty simple. I want my son to feel loved, to be intellectually curious and to have the confidence to go out in the world, including the outdoors. I feel certain that riding the BVRT together is giving us all of those things!

Discover more of Australia’s longest rail trail here!

Requesting End-of-Trip Facilities From Your Employer

What are end of trip facilities?

End-of-trip facilities are amenities provided by employers to help their employees freshen up after riding, walking, or running to work. They typically include showers, change rooms, secure bike parking, and other amenities that encourage active travel.

How to ask for End-of-Trip Facilities from Your Employer?

As more people opt to actively commute to work, it’s become increasingly important for workplaces to provide end-of-trip facilities. They can make a significant difference in the daily commute of employees. If you actively commute and your workplace doesn’t have end-of-trip facilities, here are some suggestions on how to ask your employer.

  1. Do your research. Find out what other workplaces in your area offer end-of-trip facilities, and what the benefits are for both employees and the employer. This information can help make your case and demonstrate the importance of these facilities.
  2. Be clear about the benefits when approaching your employer. Not only do end-of-trip facilities make it easier for employees to actively commute to work, they also improve employee health and well-being, reduce carbon emissions, and even save money on parking and transportation costs.
  3. Choose the right time. Choose a time when your employer is likely to be receptive to your request, such as during a review or performance appraisal. Alternatively, you could schedule a meeting with your employer specifically to discuss this topic.
  4. One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the need for end-of-trip facilities is to explain your own experience as an active commuter. Share the challenges you face when arriving at work sweaty and in need of a shower, or when struggling to find a secure place to park your bike.
  5. Provide solutions when asking for end-of-trip facilities. For example, suggest specific facilities that would be most beneficial to you and your colleagues, or offer to help with the implementation of these facilities.
  6. Stay positive. Frame the discussion as an opportunity for your employer to improve the workplace and make it more accommodating for active commuters. Emphasize the benefits for everyone, rather than simply focusing on your own needs.
Benefits of active commuting:
  • Increased staff wellbeing
  • Higher productivity
  • Improved corporate image
  • Reduced demand for car parking

If your workplace doesn’t currently provide end-of-trip facilities, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for them. By doing your research, being clear about the benefits, choosing the right time, explaining your own experience, providing solutions, and staying positive, you can make a convincing case for why these facilities are important and why they should be implemented.

Own your home five years sooner by riding to work

Bicycle Queensland members don’t need convincing about the benefits of bike riding. We’re all getting fitter and having fun while saving the planet by lowering our carbon footprints. According to a 2021 article in The Conversation, riding a bike is 10 times better for the planet than buying an e-vehicle.

But one aspect that isn’t often highlighted, but can be a major factor for people making the switch to riding to work is that: riding a bike is the cheapest time-effective way to travel for distances up to 10km. But what does it cost to ride your bike to work?

We did some maths … but we would be keen to have Bicycle Queensland members check our work. We reckon that if you’re careful, commuting by bike costs less than $20 per week, or less than $900 per year. We’ve based this on buying a commuting bike for $1000, and spending $400 on accessories to make your bike more commute-friendly. And because you’re frugal, you’re keeping this bike for five years, sounds reasonable to us.

Cost of commuting by car versus bike

Compare this with the average cost of transport for households in Brisbane, which is a whopping $458 per week. Yes, you read that right.

So let’s say that 25% of trips made are to work. That’s way too low by the way, but let’s say that. The average weekly cost of car transport in Brisbane is $398 (that’s the total cost of transport, minus public transport fares). So let’s just use a quarter of that cost $99, and take those trips by bike instead. Suddenly we are saving $80 per week.

Let’s consider using the additional $80 per week in a way that could greatly benefit us, such as putting it towards our home loan. An extra $80 per week on the average home loan repayment equates to owning your home five years sooner!

Of course the assumptions in this article can be challenged. But you do your maths and let us know what you might have saved by riding your bike to work?

Our Director of Advocacy has been riding to work for 38 years. On 2022 figures this has saved his household $146,000. He just hopes nobody asks him what he did with this money. It can’t all have gone on Campag hubs and lunches.

Queensland’s Best Post Ride Coffee Shops

As much as we all love riding, it’s well documented that sometimes before we start, we are already thinking about the coffee at the end! For two-wheeled coffee drinkers, the first sip after a long ride is rewarding! We were determined to hunt down Queensland’s top bike-friendly cafes. So we asked our members what their favourite post-ride coffee spots were, and here are the results.

Musette | Bowen Hills
Voted top post ride cafe in Brisbane by our members! This gem is hidden inside CAMS Cycling Collective.

Cheeky Bean | West End
Cracking Colombian coffee and shockingly bad humour, with an ever changing array of naughty snacks! Dog friendly as well!

Cadence Cafe | Nerang
Situated at the back of the bike shop ‘Just Ride’. This cafe has a laid back atmosphere and provides a nice place for a catch up after a bike ride.

Bean Beat | Hervey Bay
A lovely, locally-owned, family-run cafe devoted to serving fantastic, home-made food by the beach side.

Cafe in the Mountains | Mt Nebo
Nestled in the forest with stunning views while you eat, and drink your coffee. 

The Gardens Club | Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
The Gardens Club occupies the heritage listed curator’s cottage in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, hosting a cafe.

Baked at Ancora | Tweed Heads
Where classic Parisian bakery meets cheeky waterside picnics.

Cafe Scooterini | Coolangatta
Enjoy a post ride beverage and meal by the beachside at this cosy cafe.

River City Coffee Roasters | Ormiston
River City Coffee Roasters was born from a desire to create amazing coffee, and share it with the public.

Water Drop Teahouse | Chung Tian Temple Underwood
The Teahouse provides tranquil and comfortable surroundings to relax with light vegetarian meals and refreshments.

Preece’s at the Jetty | Redcliffe 
Modern Australian dishes in a large, long-standing restaurant with pavement seating & bay views.

Lokal + Co | West End
A neighbourhood eatery and bar with a Nordic influence.

Hey Joe Coffee + Co | East Brisbane
An eatery with contemporary Australian cafe service and London-inspired aesthetics.

Drift Coffee Company | Scarborough
Dog friendly, seaside, organic coffee & eats.

Swift espresso | Paddington
A great place to relax and connect in Paddington over great coffee and a flavour-packed menu.

QRoasters | Stafford
Coffee is QRoasters passion and craft! 

Cruise down to your favourite coffee shop and tag Bicycle Queensland, so we can stay up to date with the best cafes in QLD. We are sure there is more great coffee shops out there, so if we have missed your favourite let us know! 

If you haven’t already, join the Bicycle Queensland family here.

Enjoy your riding and COFFEE! 

What are the benefits of riding to work and how can you make it easier?

Sustainability is understandably a hot topic just now, with governments, businesses and individuals all seeking ways to create a greener future for us all. Commuting became a distant memory for millions of workers during the pandemic, but now, with lots of people making a return to the office, this is the perfect time to reset and adopt better, healthier habits.

Riding to work is nothing new, but more employers and employees are waking up to its benefits. Not only can riding benefit the individual’s health and wellbeing, it’ll also help to protect the local environment. Employers may even stand to benefit, with riding shown to have a positive impact on brain power and productivity. 

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of riding to work in greater detail, and highlight a few ways you can make bike commuting even easier.

What are the benefits of riding to work? 
  • Improve physical fitness and mental health. We’re all aware that riding is a great way to help keep your body fit and healthy, but did you know it can also help to support your mental wellbeing, too? One study reveals that riding is the second best form of exercise for a lower mental health burden, just behind participating in team sports.  
  • Improve productivity. Riding has been shown to improve brain function, with it increasing blood flow to the brain by 28% compared to resting, according to one study. As a result, this can help you to arrive at work in a more positive frame of mind, and help to improve productivity throughout the day. 
  • Helps the environment. If you’re passionate about sustainability, riding is a great way to play your part and help create a greener local environment. By replacing a car for a bike, not only will you be saving on harmful emissions, but if more people chose to cycle, it’d reduce congestion on roads, helping to cut pollution even further. 
How to make riding easier 
  • Use an e-bike. E-bikes are gaining popularity across the country, particularly since the 2012 legislation was passed which introduced guidelines around using e-bikes, in line with European standards. An e-bike works like a traditional bicycle, but offers the added thrust of a battery-powered motor, to take some of the strain out of your commute. Read more about e-bikes here.
  • Be organised! Riding to work will generally take a little longer than public transport or a car, meaning you’ll have to be organised to give yourself as much breathing room in the morning as possible. Be sure to pack up anything you need the night before, and also leave heavy items at the office where possible, to save you carrying them on your commute. You should also make sure to pack some food for the office, to give you the energy for that evening ride home.
  • Make use of company facilities. You’ll want to arrive at your desk feeling and looking fresh, so particularly after a longer ride in, you’ll likely want to have a wash and get into a change of clothes. If your office doesn’t already cater for active travel, ask your employer whether it would be possible to invest in some equipment and facilities to encourage more people to ride to work. Or, see if there is a local end of trip facility, where your employer could arrange for employees to make use of the changing facilities.

Even small changes like some showers and changing rooms can go a long way. It’s also helpful to consider how or where you’ll keep your bike during the day. Employers should look to include some safe storage facilities on-site, to give their pedalling personnel peace of mind that their bike will be secure during the day.

To sum up

In this post, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to exploring the potential benefits of riding to and from work. It may seem like a major lifestyle change, particularly if you’ve been driving or getting public transport for many years. But why not try riding just one or two days a week at first, before building yourself up to a bigger commitment? You’ll likely feel the benefits almost immediately.

Article by Ross Hansen

Interested in becoming a BQ member? Sign up!