Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

More cycling blogs

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Monday, August 30, 2004

I'm Baaa-aaack!

Well, that was interesting. A much needed weekend away even if I say so myself. Here's how it all unfolded:

Day 1
Friday was a public holiday on the Gold Coast -- for show day. Now I'm not all that interested in watching rednecks do redneck things (especially when I see it everyday on my commute anyway), so I headed out for a bit of a bike tour. I started off heading west toward Canungra, initially riding at 26-27km/h. Of course, that was foolhardy on a fully-loaded bike and I soon brought that to a stop -- even if it took *gasp* a flat tyre 20km in to bring me to my senses. I fixed that and continued on through the Gorge country in the Coomera valley. This is actually one of the more spectacular and most under-ridden rides in the entire country in my view.

West of Canungra the scenery declines somewhat, as we're out of the coastal ranges. I pressed on through Beaudesert, and on to Rathdowney (four magpie attacks in a 31km stretch, I think they're making up for lost time). After leaving Rathdowney I headed out on the Lions Tourist road toward the Border Ranges.

This road was originally constructed by the Lions club of Kyogle, and they know a thing or two about advertising. There are all sorts of warning signs about steep gradients and sharp/blind corners, before another sign proclaiming a donation box on the border for "road improvements".

Here the road twists and turns, climbs and descents through rolling hills which gradually get more and more rugged. I called it a day after 121.6km (and 1,045 metres of climbing) at a campground about 14km north of the NSW border. I was offered a free feed by some other campers who "would have heaps left over at the end". I'm not one to reject a free feed, so I tucked in.

Day 2
The second morning I woke up in a mist-shrouded valley, with a temperature of 5 degrees C (it would later hit 28 degrees C). I set off heading south on a steeply undulating road, before a final short sharp rise to the border (it was 12% average for the last kilometre). It was here that I was able to observe two completely different environments. On the Queensland side, the landscape was stark and yellow, while on the NSW side, the rainforest was in full glory. "Cut all the f***in' trees down in Queensland" was the checkpoint attendant's brief explanation.

On my arrival at the checkpoint I'd been greeted by a couple of German Shepherd dogs, who were apparently on duty. I leaned my bike against the fence and took a short walk to take a photo, while they assumed the guarding position in front of my bike. I guess this was one place I didn't need to worry about bike theft. This was followed by ups and downs through the forest, with a short stop at the Border Loop lookout. This is a stretch of railway on the main Sydney-Brisbane line where they actually built a loop to give the trains a saner gradient with which to climb the range.

From here it was pretty much all downhill into the valley through Gradys Creek, and toward Kyogle. Before arriving there, however, I had other business to attend to, in the shape of the Tooloom forest road. This is a rough, rocky dirt road that eventually climbs to 830 metres above sea-level through varying types of forest. The views from the plateau are awesome in places, but I have to admit to feeling "saved" on the sight of a water tank at the top.

The descent was basically as rough as guts, and I was forced to press the "spare' luggage straps into service for "keeping the load" together purposes. I basically descended at the same speed I had climbed, but this stretch of rainforest was beautiful. At the bottom I decided to make for Kyogle, not in my plans, but I was hoping for a feed of pasta. The last 20km or so into Kyogle were accompanied by some very promising black clouds, a gutsy headwind, and even a bit of lightning (which, sadly, fizzled into nothing, but did scare off a magpie who wanted to have a crack).

I reached the town, pitched my tent in the caravan park, then headed to the main street to grab a feed -- not the best pasta I've ever had, but it would do. Back at the campground I met a couple of German cycle-tourists, who had come from Nimbin, but cut the day short due to the heat (in "winter" no less!). They were heading for Gradys creek. I also got another free feed from one of the residents (I didn't even ask for it, but hey, it's impolite to refuse, right?). After 102km and 2,111 metres of climbing (including about 1,300 on dirt roads), I wasn't going to refuse anything.

Day 3
Woke up in Kyogle on a surprisingly chilly morning (4 degrees C), but looking forward to the trip back to the coast. I was still paying for yesterday in a big way. The first action after leaving Kyogle is the climb of the MacKellar Range -- it's actually done in two stretches, with a decent descent in the middle. More winding roads through beautiful countryside, does it get any better than this?Unfortunately, it was warming up a little quicker than I would have liked, 16 degrees C at the top of the range, before the screaming descent into Cawongla, and another climb out, this time the Nightcap Range.

This one is broken with a heap of ups and downs, but the countryside was still beautiful. Sadly, I was forced into using a film camera for this trip, so there weren't as many photos as I would have liked. At the top of the range I passed the Nimbin turnoff and joined the Repentance ride from just over a month ago -- again entranced by the sight of the Sphinx watching over Mt Burrell.

Signs along the road proclaim the Sphinx Rock Cafe, but it's not due to open until September 14, and that's assuming they can find the staff for it. The long gradual descent took me into the rainforest, and toward Uki (a charming village surrouned by rainforests with a good vibe), with a magpie landing on my shoulder for "comfort" along the way. Waterbottles have more than one purpose.

I committed a sin in Uki, passing by the best cafe in the world because it was a little early for lunch. By the time I reached Murwillumbah the temperature had risen to 31 degrees C, and there was nothing open in the town, should have stopped in Uki after all. I did manage to find a bakery open, then set off home on the more familiar roads now. Of course, there was only one way I was coming back -- the rainforests of Urliup providing some welcome relief from the baking canefields. I slowed a little to savour the last rainforest of the weekend, before returning to Bilambil, and suburbia.

The ocean at Kirra very nearly tempted me, it was just that enticing shade of blue that it sometimes gets down there. Probably should have dived in on reflection. Just how does salt water effect lycra?

So what reflections do I have? Well, a three day tour, with day three along a route that's been ridden before doesn't always bring a lot. I'm glad my tent performed well in the light rain on Friday night, but I really should learn to better remember the names of people I meet. Most of all I'm glad I listed to my grandmother and kept the film camera. At least now I'll have something by which to remember the last three days -- even if I still have one pic to use up before I get this film sorted.


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