Tour de Gorge ride through Pilliga Forest to benefit rescue helicopter

The wonders of the Pilliga Forest will go on show as a bike ride with a difference to help make a difference returns this year.

The annual Tour de Gorge will head out near Coonabarabran on September 1 and organisers are encouraging everyone to join the fun.

Riders may catch a glimpse of some rare wildlife as they view some spectacular bush scenery, and their pedal power is set to benefit the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager John Whittall said it was not a race, but was a great opportunity to see part of the Pilliga off the beaten track.

“Riders should come prepared with a mountain bike or a sturdy bike that can handle rough terrain,” he said.

We also time the bike ride to coincide with the emergence of a myriad of stunning wildflowers.

National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager John Whittall

“We are mixing it up a bit with a change of route this year that will see participants start from Pilliga Pottery then follow either a 50km or 12km route through Timmallallie National Park and Pilliga Nature Reserve.

"Riders get the opportunity to take in the remarkable bush scenery and may even spot some of the park's wildlife, including turquoise parrots, emus and wallabies.

"We also time the bike ride to coincide with the emergence of a myriad of stunning wildflowers.

"For those not feeling energetic there will be stalls and plenty to see at Pilliga Pottery on foot, while the riders have their adventure.”

The guided bike ride starts at 8.30am at Pilliga Pottery, Borambitty Road, Coonabarabran.

Riders should bring a bike in good working order, spare inner tubes, a helmet, snacks and plenty of water.

Mr Whittall said Tour de Gorge was for the whole family; however, participants were usually at least 10 years old and had some bike riding experience.

“Past participants with average riding experience have really enjoyed the unique ride, one said they had an emu running beside them at one point,” he said.

"Some parts can be a little steep and challenging, but people can take their time.

“We have a sweeper who picks up anyone who feels that they've had enough and there are two locations along the way to refill water bottles.”

Registration of $25 is required by emailing pfdc@environment.nsw.gov.au  or phoning the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre on (02) 6843 4011.