MelburnOut: Shifter Dan’s 40th Birthday Bush Bash – Day 01

“Aged many years in the wood”. How many years? Well, like everything in Straya, there’s a story for that. Daniel John Hale has seen his share of saddle time in the years he’s spent on Earth. An ex-pro mountain biker, owner of the Best Bike Shop in the World and one of the first solo riders to take on this particular area of Australian Bush, Dan’s no stranger to the wood.

Ten years ago, he did a similar ride to what we just completed this past weekend but instead of two days, it took him four. Rather than ride a mountain bike or a geared bike, he took his singlespeed Monster Cross. No GPS, no satellite phone and no idea where he was going, save for a map he bought on the side of the road. Later, he, Dave, Scooter and Andy began to tackle these rides annually. That’s 10 years in the wood of Upper Yarra, familiarizing themselves with the ‘bush, the many off-shooting tracks and trails.

Last year, a very similar ride changed me as a cyclist. It took the 215 pound me and slapped it around before spitting (i.e. shitting) it back out. I learned a lot in two long days, but left Melbourne wanting more. When I mentioned returning this year, Andy proposed me landing in for Dan’s 40th. As Andy put it, “we’ll do another ride”…

I’m now around 185 pounds and have been putting in serious saddle time, so the anxiety wasn’t as bad. Until he showed me the route. Day 01, 100 miles, 16,000′ of climbing. BUGGA!

A total of nine riders started, seven finished. Andy’s brother made it up the first climb before returning home and Scooter, one of the original badass couriers in Australia (and aforementioned Upper Yarra riders) only had time for Woods Point and back. That left Dan, Andy, Joe, Dave, Reuben, Mal and myself for the haul… Enclosed is the ride report for the first leg of this 26.6 MP/C* ride.

Check out a bunch of narrated photos in the Gallery!


See more information from this ride on my Garmin Connect.

*300 calories to a meat pie and I burned 8,000 calories on this ride, putting my MP to C calculation at 26.6 MP/C.

  • Fuck, yes!

  • trackosaurusrex

    Damn! Wish I was there!

  • Awesome stuff John, really REALLY great pics, some of the best you’ve posted id say. Nice work/ride!

  • Outstanding John.

  • Sean Curran

    awesome set, one of my favorites from you!

  • Simplicityofjoy

    pure awesomeness!

  • These are so good, those portraits are superb.

  • MF_A2

    Great post. It’s cool to see the progression of the site, your riding and photography this second time around. Inspiring stuff.

  • Seth Monstera

    Amazing photos man, looks like an awesome ride.

  • Anonymous

    Watching your evolution as a cyclist has truly inspired me to get up of my plump arse and ride more. You have come along way since your days as a Wrightsville Beach grommet. With all your documented travels via your website, it is obvious your perspective of the world; beyond cycling has matured.


  • great photos! you fellas need to come over to New Zealand for an adventure.

  • Truly fantastic work fella. You must have a REALLY good camera, right?

  • You can really see how much your skills as a photographer have improved in a year, too. I’ll be interested to see where you go in a year from now!

    One thing though: I understand all the data except for the MP/C calculation. Couldn’t quite figure that out…

    • *300 calories to a meat pie and I burned 8,000 calories on this ride, putting my MP to C calculation at 26.6 MP/C.

  • What can i even say dude… blown away.

  • Nothing but snow and bitter cold here in CO. Can’t wait for some fire road hunting!

  • Nick Valdes

    These are phenomenal and have me wanting out of snow. Out of curiosity, what’s your preferred method for toting the camera on rides of this nature?

    • I used a EVOC hydropack with my 5D just tossed in. Or had the camera around my shoulder as I was climbing / descending.

      • Nick Valdes

        Still loving the pancake?

        • I used it for everything you see here. It’s a great lens.

          • Nick Valdes

            Awesome…this set is great. Thanks for sharing.

  • Matt Mead

    Would love for you to do a post on your camera setup when your riding on trips like this and how you carry it and get easy access to it. Pretty Please!

    • Take camera, toss it into a small backpack. Pull out camera, take photo. ;-)

      Seriously though, that’s about as simple as it gets. Nothing special. Some where taken on the bike, while descending, which takes some getting used to. All the riding and shooting I’ve done in urban environments helped, making riding empty roads and shooting easier.

  • PNT

    superb ride and photos, thanks for inspiration.

  • Evan Rees

    congratulations on making me completly homesick! I’m a rider from Melbourne now living in Sweden and its awesome to see someone over in my home turf just loving it and caputuring it all along with caputuring the character of Melbourne and country Vic!!! soo good!! My only consolation is that its warming up here (finally) and it’s cooling off there! Hope Melbourne looks after you!

  • Glad you met Scoot. he’s a fucken legend. Black cocky spirit animal?!?

  • dgmtc

    Wow, this is all kinds of epic. I love how this (and other rides you’ve posted about) convey a sense of fun and comradery rather than testosterone-fueled competition you so often see on cycling sites. Very inspiring!

  • AfroKIDS!

    May I know the apps that you used to edit the photo? the one with two pictures