Cyclists tour Darling Downs for scenic adventure
A CHANCE encounter has been the catalyst for Darryl Baker to see plenty of the Queensland countryside from his bike seat.
The former Darling Downs resident was one of hundreds of cyclists taking part in this week's Cycle Queensland Darling Downs Loop Adventure Tour.
The massive group of riders started off in Toowoomba on Saturday and have visited Allora Warwick in the early stages of their 560km ride over nine days.
Riders move from Millmerran to Dalby today, pedalling the 91km stage before setting up camp for another night under the Darling Downs sky.
Mr Baker was a veteran of the annual Cycle Queensland event, which has been held across the state since its inception back in 2002.
Born in Warwick and having previously lived in Pratten and Toowoomba, the now Redcliffe resident stumbled across the event which sees cycling enthusiasts from near and far come together for a riding holiday at different regions across Queensland.
"We are in Redcliffe and the first ride Bicycle Queensland did was in 2002 and they camped in Redcliffe," he said. "We were just motivated by the whole camp.
"My first was in 2003. I rode from Warwick to Gympie with this group, Bicycle Queensland.
"It has taken me all over Queensland.
"It is just great. You are meeting new people all of the time. You are meeting in camp, on the road because it is not a race."
The Adventure Tour takes riders across the region and the big group of cyclists provide a financial boost to the towns along the way.
Community groups provide morning teas along the way while the towns where riders set up camp enjoy a considerably monetary windfall given hundreds of people visit.
This week's tour has also been a homecoming off sorts for Mr Baker.
"Coming from here, I have relatives here and I have been catching up with them all along the way," he said. "It has been a real journey for me."
He even ran into an old school friend who was painting the Leyburn Catholic Church.
The Darling Downs Adventure Tour will finish up in Toowoomba on Sunday.