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..

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Thursday, September 30, 2004


So last weekend I finally got around to booking the airfares for the tour in November. What's surprising at times like that is the feeling of excitement that comes from doing the most rudimentary, miniscule things that are connected with a tour. OK, maybe it's just me, but for some reason things like finding the right flight (i.e. one with a convenient time) don't feel like a chore. Quite the contrary. Now of course, the other fun part is poring over maps, trying to find alternative routes -- which road is likely to be the most scenic along the way? Which way should I go after I leave Bright (with a couple of days to spare)?

Other things will have to wait at least until I land in Melbourne -- which walk will I do at Wilson's Promontory (I've set aside a full day for that, so a 25-30km walk is not out of the question). Then, of course, there are the other things I'll discover along the way, the little bonuses that I don't yet know about. "The place without a postcard" is how I refer to them. And to think, I still haven't worked out the best way to travel from Melbourne airport to the city (or at least North Melbourne where my sister lives). I set off on November 13, and I really, truly can't wait. 43 days to go, but who's counting?

It's these thoughts that sustain us through the mundane and often frustrating activities of everyday life. Today was no exception on that score. Had a meeting with a particularly annoying client today. Still, the way they carry on, the fee on their job could be huge, so I might never have to deal with them again. I won't go into it in massive detail right now, but let me just say that if they are as informed as they seem to think they are about the tax laws and what they can get away with, why are they wasting time and money on an accountant?

Had a pretty pleasant ride home from work today though. Only a small number of idiots, which is good for the Gold Coast, and even managed to grab a decent photo over one of the canals. Unfortunately, we're getting closer to that stupid car race that they host here every year, so my views over the South Pacific are now obscured by advertising hoardings and temporary grandstands. Good job they don't extend to Broadbeach Waters.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

It's the little things...

Often it's the little things we notice along the way that make life memorable. Often they are things we don't notice, because we see them so often, but I wonder whether life would be what it is without them. I say this as I contemplate the moon setting over the canal earlier this morning.

Yes, something I have seen many times in the past, but something that still captures my attention. Often in the past I've stared at it for a few moments in wonderment at it's sheer beauty -- however, writing this blog has given me new incentive to share it with the world, and an appreciation of just how fortunate we all are to have things like this. To steal a quote from Queen: "We have a miracle on Earth, Mother Nature does it all for us..."

Today is apparently Ride to Work day for Bicycle Gold Coast. This year I'm giving it a miss, not as a "boycott" as such, but simply because I'm feeling a bit jaded of the whole thing. Sure, I'll miss out on the politicians' speeches, but I saw those last year. We have a different mayor on the Gold Coast now, but I suspect the speech will be the same. In fact, if previous years are any indication, they'll probably be talking up facilities that actively make riding to work harder, such as useless bike paths that go nowhere -- as if that's the only place cyclists are able to ride. No mention at all of training cyclists to use the road (which isn't really all that difficult) so they can actually go somewhere.

The ongoing "Would you really like it if cycling was more popular" thread over on bikeforums, plus the phone calls I took about the ride last week have made me question some of my own long-held views on this issue, and some of the policies of the group that I'm involved with. The dumbing down of facilities to suit the beginner cyclist who doesn't intend to ride more than 100 metres is something they seem to support, given that they've published numerous views from that group in their weekly Coastal Rider publication, yet none have even asked me for my views on anything. I did write an article for them last year, but even that was chopped up (and I didn't even criticise the holy bikepaths!), and the extract they told me they wanted to run from my tour of Tasmania journal didn't get an airing in the end.

Again, I'm not terribly concerned about "being published" but the recurring issue seems to be that they don't want any input from an experienced, transportational cyclist -- and rest assured that's the input I'm going to offer, because that's the perspective from which I view things. Cynical as this may sound, I'm really beginning to think that perhaps the whole Ride to Work day and Car-free Week (or whatever it was) seems to be something that's done by people just to draw attention to themselves, or give themselves something to talk about in the coffee shop later.

Either way, it seems there are one or two in the group who set their own agenda, and that's the end of it. I doubt my absence will even be noticed. I think I'll just concentrate on enjoying the little things from now on as I pedal along my journey, and those who want to ride around in circles in paths can do so.

Monday, September 27, 2004


It's not often this happens, but sometimes it does all the same. It stemmed as a result of last weekend's riding. Saturday wasn't really the issue here -- just a pleasant cruise through Tallebudgera Valley to warm up a little. And warm up it did! But more on that later. The wildflower season is apparently still in force out there.

I had been supposed to lead an O'Reilly's ride on Sunday, but received no enquiries about it. And I'm not sure this was a bad thing -- especially after last week's debacle. Oh yeah, I took another call about that one on Friday (almost a week after the ride had actually happened), this time from someone who didn't even have a bike! "But the rainforest part sounded so beautiful". Geez, no wonder Rowan got sick of running a cycle-touring business if this is what some people are like!

However, Sunday I felt like a ride along the Northern NSW coast, with a few gutsy hills around Mullumbimby thrown in to keep me company.

Yes, it was a beautiful day. I could have taken several more photos if I'd had the mind to do it (maybe next time). However, a couple of things weren't quite as planned. Firstly, the feed I had in Mullumbimby was a little too good. I now know all about over-eating on a ride such as this one! My stomach did plenty of grumbling, before I was able to burn some of it off on the Burringbar Range.

Then there was that headwind that sprung up. All the way back to the coast, and at times it was brutal! Still, it's not a challenge unless there's actually some doubt about whether you're capable of it. I think the heat was worse than the wind. Such a ride would have been owned three months ago, but now that the humidity's here, it's causing problems. I'd like to say I'll adjust to it, but I won't hold my breath for that one!

The final tally for the day was 222.5km, with 1882 metres of climbing. As I said, I'd been feeling pretty good about such a ride in the conditions, but I was brutally upstaged by Rowan (a friend of mine from Hobart), who decided to do a 300km ride -- and this only three days after dislocating a shoulder in a fall! Sometimes I just have to bow to the guts and determination of others -- maybe I'll have a crack at a 300 in the near future.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Editorial: How did we get to be so paranoid?

Today it's a question I have on my mind. It came with the emergence of a story this morning (, that the man formerly known as Cat Stevens was denied entry into the US for supposedly being a "terrorist threat", but apparently nobody knows why. It comes just as the "report suspicious activity" television commercials are being aired in Australia (just before an election interestingly, although they may have been on earlier, I don't watch a lot of television). Even on the bikeforums website the other day, someone was reporting the removal of a bicycle lock-up facility from a public building in the US because it was supposedly a "terrorist threat".

First of all, it's interesting that Cat Stevens happens to be a muslim. I wonder how much that had to do with it, I suspect the link is more than coincidental. Don't forget, this is a guy who not only condemned the Sept 11 terrorist attacks publicly, but also gave his own money to help the families of the victims -- hardly the act of a terrorist in waiting. The fact that he was allowed to board the flight in London in the first place indicates that any "suspicion" was not so well known. After all, aren't the UK supposed to be part of the so-called "Coalition of the Willing"? There's more to this than has been released by the security authotiries, but I doubt we'll ever know the real reason for what has happened here.

Then of course, back in Australia, the government plays an election trump card by asking people to report "suspicious activity" just before an election. Tell me this isn't a cynical political stunt? It wouldn't be the first time (remember the "A new tax system" ads back in 1998?). Has the world environment really changed all that much in the last couple of months to warrant a sudden re-airing of these commercials (at tax-payers' expense no less). To steal a quote from Michael Leunig: "Can I ring up and report that the world has lost it's marbles?"

What's really scary is this: the government would have obviously done their market research, just as any other political party with any resources would. They would know the impact this would have on the electorate (don't think they would be aired if they would jeapardise the government's election chances). They clearly feel that these commercials can worry voters enough to make them vote for the coalition, without questioning the timing of this. Not even the opposition seem moved to do that -- are they afraid of a voter backlash here?

So while everyone is running scared, and numerous people will be phoning the hotline to dob in their neighbour or whomever (and like that's going to do anything to stop organised and trained terrorists), nobody is questioning the issue on a fundamental level. I just want one question answered: Does being so paraniod about the rest of the world really serve a purpose? Does excluding people on the basis of their religion or racial appearance really do anything to prevent terrorism? Somehow, I suspect that all it really achieves is to create unnecessary hassles for innocent people trying to go about their business. Seems to me that if the terrorist organisations are at all skilled, they will be sitting back watching this, and simply find another decoy to smuggle into the country -- assuming they need to be there at all (after all, there are plenty of targets outside Australia or the US).

Still, if it wins election support for Bush or Howard, that's all that really matters, isn't it?

Friday, September 24, 2004

... And here endeth the lesson

The dawn of a new day (even if I don't photograph sunrises very well), and what lessons shall I take from it?

"We learn something new every day" or words to that effect. Sometimes it can be the reinforcement of an old lesson that we should have taken before. Another old saying: "if only..." If only I'd done this or hadn't done that. If only I'd taken a few extra moments when fixing that flat tyre this morning, but I'm getting ahead of myself (will that be tomorrow's lesson?).

I had decided to head for the usual Hinze Dam ride before work this morning, although I expect I'll be moving it to after work as soon as Martin gets the free time to join me. Once again it had been another beautiful morning, with a surprisingly red sunrise (what I was trying to photograph above). It just had to be Robina where the trouble struck. A nail straight into the tyre. Well, I inserted the spare tube hurriedly (now I was running late). A little too hurriedly as it turned out -- there appeared to be a problem with the rear axle (the second time ever, and the second in as many weeks).

Eventually I rigged it up well enough to ride home, now running fully 30 minutes late. There are times when a sligtly untidy apartment is a blessing -- that's if everything I need is on top of the pile. After throwing everything onto the old bike that I keep in the garage as a spare, and making my way to work (incredibly making it on time), I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I'd stared adversity in the face and owned it.

As the day went on, however, some of my delight faded. Another mechanical problem to deal with, and on the weekend where I wanted some serious km, too -- not to mention the financial implications. After work I take a trip to John's (the best bike shop on the Gold Coast), where I get John to have a quick look at it. Didn't I feel like an idiot? No axle problems at all, just a hasty re-assembly that led to a quick release spring going on the wrong way!

If only I'd taken a few moments to do the thing properly in that roadside repair, I wouldn't have had to make up 30 minutes on the way to work this morning. I wouldn't have had the embarrassment simply having something on the wrong way (although I'm told that happens to quite a few racers), and I wouldn't have had the stress of worrying about how much it was all going to cost.

So today's lesson was take a few moments to do things properly -- otherwise the consequences next time could be much worse.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

11 degrees, and the beast rages!

Well, it took a long time to get these bulbs to arrive, delayed by mis-directions, and non-directions in some cases, but they're here. Sunday night's effort may have been a little subdued, but last night I was back! Austinville was the setting, the same as it was last Sunday, and it felt good -- too good at times. The moonlight cast an some interesting shadows, creating some brilliant effects as the road followed the creek, which seemed to be specially lit up through the gap in the otherwise impenetrable rainforest. The dilemma posed by those rides when you feel exceptionally strong is whether you go with it and risk paying for it tomorrow, or hold it back and risk losing it. Last night I went with it, and got away with it beautifully! Even if I did sleep pretty well when I got back.

Of course, on the commute today, it just had to be school holidays. School holidays always seem to bring out these wonderfully brave and determined male specimens. The usual script seems to be a 20 or 30-something male tries to win the affection of some teenage girl in Surfers Paradise, and basically fails because his waistline is so much bigger than what's below it.

However, being the brave, determined soul that he is, he tries to compensate for his size deficiencies in that particular organ, by trying to pick a fight with a cyclist who's about 30-40kg lighter than he is (above the waistline at least).This guy was particularly brave as he only had about two or three friends on hand to protect him. What a shame he couldn't conclude that show of bravery by chasing me through the gridlock (not that he would have caught me anyway, but it would have given me a good laugh). What a frikken moron!

Well, they say it takes all kinds to make the world go around. However, I'm sure if we eliminated that kind we could make the world go around quite efficiently without too much extra effort.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

More than I could chew?

Sometimes time constriants prevent me from updating this as quickly as I might. Last Sunday came, and with it two more beautiful rides. The first being an early-morning trek to Austinville -- totally unplanned, but I had a big feed of spaghetti bolognese to burn off from the previous night. It was here that I was able to observe another dying breath from the winter wildflower wonderland that takes place annually in these parts, even if the temperatures could hardly be called winter.

And yet, they can add just that little bit of polish to another landscape.

And then came the evening ride (the day in between had been surprisingly uneventful) -- this one was planned, but it's just that nobody else had spoken to the one doing the planning (see my previous post on this issue below). It all started innocently enough with a twilight cruise down the coast.

Even over the climbs of Bilambil and Hogan's Rainforest (with the glow worms) it all seemed OK. The trouble was I ran out of juice viciously on The Pilgrim's Road in North Tumbulgum. I was even "out of the saddle" on the Urliup climb, which is sacrilege. By this stage, there were a few lightning strikes around, and these provided some inspiration. However, I know I should have packed a muesli bar to chomp on at Urliup in the rainforest.

The ride through the dirt road of Urliup at night is one of the most peaceful things imaginable. The tyres on the gravel and the occasional owl are the only things that can be heard. It's easy to think pleasant thoughts here, and just as well, as it's very easy to keep track of your thoughts here. The Bilambil climb on the return was a flashback to 1997, and the days when I used to really struggle with it, and the last 30km of suburbia just wouldn't pass -- save for the occasional blast of energy that came out of nowhere and would last for about a minute or so.

The arrival home coincided with a moderate case of diahorrea, which, thankfully, went away fairly quickly. I suspect it was just all that water I drank, and not enough solid foods. As I said, I should have brought that muesli bar along.

It was on this morning's commute that I got to renew and old acquaintence, well, we've been renewed a couple of times lately. I think she has a calming influence on me, as I seem to be able to relax when she's there, in a way I can't most of the time, and not worry about my riding speed(her pace is a little slower than mine in that respect). Of course, it might have been different if I'd actually been running late for work, but that just didn't seem to matter this morning.

I still don't think there's anything doing on the romance front there -- I don't think we've even introduced ourselves properly. And I'm not so sure that's what I want at the moment. I value having my weekends to myself right now. However, I know I'll be happy if our paths cross again tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 20, 2004


About six months ago I finally achieved something I'd been waiting for for about three years -- having had droughts, floods and landslides preventing me from doing so earlier. The walk of the Coomera Falls circuit at Lamington National Park is indeed spectacular and beautiful. I post these pictures here now as a reminder of it. In another couple of weeks I plan on a "dry season" visit to Lamington in order to sample a completely different environment. I'll post those pictures up here too, just to show the wide variety that Lamington truly offers.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Well wasn't that well done!

Just after lunchtime today I took a phone call from someone I'd never met or heard of before. "I'm just ringing to enquire about the ride that was in the paper today." Well, of course, it was understandable that if they read about a ride in the Courier Mail (assuming that was the paper in question), and see my phone number listed as the ride leader, that they might phone me about it. There was just one problem: nobody remembered to tell me.

A little bit of background here. I regularly lead rides for Bicycle Gold Coast, and a few of them have received a mention in the Courier Mail, probably due to the nature of the places that I like to ride. I normally don't have a problem with this. However, it's a little annoying when they 1) Get the date wrong (it's actually tomorrow night, hence I'm here typing this now); and 2) Don't tell me to expect any phone calls. I've actually been in and out today on various errands, and it's not inconceivable that I missed a call or two simply through not being aware that this had been published.

Coming on top of the other f*ck up with the ride calendar (i.e. putting me down to lead rides that I hadn't actually agreed to, then failing to delete them when I made this clear -- I don't know who's going to take them in my place, and nor do I care any longer), I have to say that I'm very close to just washing my hands of the whole situation.

I also have to ask just how stupid some people really are. Now the ride has been advertised as a 6pm start, with sections on dirt roads, and expected to take a couple of hours. It's fairly obvious it's going to be dark (and if it wasn't, the word "glow worm" in the title should be a giveaway), yet of the two calls that I took today, neither of them had lights, in fact, both seemed surprised when I mentioned the fact. Now even if someone's eyesight is good enough to find their way along narrow winding dirt roads in the moonlight (which will be non existent given the current phase of the moon in anycase), there is no way the moonlight is going to effectively penetrate the rainforest of Urliup Road. It's just not going to happen.

Perhaps I should be glad that this monumental cock-up occurred after all. On the forum this week I participated in a discussion asking whether we'd really like it if cycling were more popular. I have to say, after all this, I'm leaning toward agreeing with those who said "No".

Onto something slightly more positive now, I took a pleasant ride in Currumbin Valley this morning, enjoying near perfect temperatures (11 degrees C to 22 C), and the smells of the last of Queensland's winter wildflower wonderland. Sadly, my camera missed most of it this year due to mechanical problems, but that didn't stop me grabbing a couple of snaps this morning. The thing I like about the wildflower season is that the colours seem to be different every year. In 2001, purple was the dominant colour, 2002 it was yellow, last year it was red, and this year it's been pink.

That's not to say that red has had no influence at all.

Of course, the greens are always nice. This ride isn't actually as rugged as it looks in this shot, but it's still beautiful nonetheless.

Whatever happens, I'm going to to the Glow Worm ride myself tomorrow night, regardless. If anyone shows, good. If not, I'll still have a good time out there. Haven't been down Urliup for a couple of weeks, and I'm starting to miss it. Below is how it looks during the day -- imagine that rainforest closing in and being illuminated by a headlight! It's just amazing!

Friday, September 17, 2004

The joys of the commute -- and a new project

Often it's the little things that we miss on the voyage through life. On the Internet I've shared many pictures of places I've ridden, some including spectacular coastlines, tumbling waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, and places far from home. However, there are times when we overlook the things we see everyday. Often we take them for granted, but there are times when we should perhaps pause to explore their beauty a little further.

I speak of none other than my daily ride to and from work. I'm actually very fortunate to have a beach-side commute, to be able to hear the waves crashing, breathe the ocean spray, and just generally chill out (perhaps a contradiction in a Queensland summer, but the sea-breeze is always pleasant) after a long day at the office. Today I brought the camera along, and made a couple of very quick snaps on the evening ride home. Of course, I missed a spectacular sunset simply through being in the wrong place at the wrong time (the best of it was obscured by buildings). However, I did pass alongside the playground of the rich and famous.

For years, the South Pacific has been a regular companion to me. I've bathed in it, cycled and jogged alongside it, baked in the sun next to it, and paused near it for contemplation on many occasions. Again, it's obscured by buildings for large sections of the commute (thanks urban development), but for one, brief, moment every afternoon/evening at Narrowneck, I'm able to transcend all of that and just be there.

And to think, it wasn't even a particularly photogenic day. Now that I'm carrying my camera on the commute, I'm sure there will be better shots to come. Maybe last week's rainbows might come back again.

Of course, I also mentioned a new project. I've been observing the state of the 2005 wall calendars that are available in shops at the moment, and from what I can see, they all look pretty bland. I know they have pictures of some very beautiful places, but to me, they just look a little bit too much like the pictures that were used last year. What I intend to do, is design my own. This project will be themed on Tasmania, as I took a cycling tour there last year and fell in love with the place.

I have around 300 photos, from which to choose 12 that I intend to feature. After this, I take the layout to someone and get it published professionally, and hang it on the wall. If this works, I might make it an annual thing, and possibly have a different theme each year. I have plenty of local photos of the Gold Coast Hinterland to fall back on should I ever fall short. At this stage, it's very much in the embryonic stage, but I'll post the updates here as the project unfolds. Anyone chasing a sneak preview can check out, where the photos are currently available. I'll be interested to see how some of these look printed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Glorious Mee

A little late on this entry, but one hopes it might have been worth waiting for. Saturday was the day, one of my main goals for the year had been to do this ride in temperatures below 30 degrees Celcius. That aspect of it complied pretty well. The start was in temperatures of (incredibly) just 8 degrees, compared with 32 last year. The first act on this ride is the climb of Mt Nebo, with a small descent at the pass (which, contrary to the signs, is only about 440 metres above sea level), before the final assault of Mt Glorious (742 at it's highest point).

Following the ridge along for a while, the climbing and descending at various points on the range actually yield over 1,400 metres of climbing in total before the descent into the valley below.

It was here that the terrain changed to rolling hills rather than mountains, with much drier vegetation. It's also prime magpie territory.

The Hills rolled all the way to Kilcoy (another 50km away), with a couple of short sharp climbs just to make the legs do some work. In fact, those 50km yielded another 600 metres of climbing. The views of Lake Somerset were the reward.

After lunch in Kilcoy, the terrain became flatter and less interesting. It was also the scene of (surprisingly) the only magpie attack of the day. The temperature continued warming up through Woodforde and beyond, reaching 28 degrees C on the climb of Mt Mee. This climb is a killer. Although the average gradient is only 9%, it's the first km or so that does the damage, and coming after 150km and 2200 metres of climbing, it already has plenty of soreness and fatigue to work with. However, the reward for reaching the top is special.

Eventually this climb reaches the modest height of 540 metres, hugging the ridge, but yielding suprisingly little in the way of views, before the descent into Samford Valley, and a bushfire! The smoke here made breathing difficult at times, it was a matter of survival for another 40km or so, onto the outskirts of Brisbane. A couple of short sharp climbs here made the legs wake up a little bit. However, the weren't insurmountable (the biggest being 150 metres or so), and were soon eaten up, before the return to The Gap, and the chance to share tales of the ride.

I do, however, worry a little about the future of this ride. The caterers, while being excellent once again, seemed slightly less enthusiastic than in previous years. I'm wondering how long this will continue. Having said that, doing this ride self-supported would be an interesting challenge.

The ride from the Gap back to Fortitude Valley was pleasant enough. Traffic was a little light, as I waited for the throngs charging toward the Brisbane Broncos game (they got owned by Melbourne), to finish. Waterworks Road was pretty quiet. Fortitude Valley at night is a suprisingly pleasant ride. The ups and downs yield views over the city that are very pleasant. At the end, there was 232km of riding, and 3,304 metres of climbing for the day. Leaving me with that rare combination of elation and exhaustion that can only come under very special circumstances.

Friday, September 10, 2004

So if I could just remember to *bring* the camera

Something amazing transpired on the ride home last evening. The clouds from the day's rain were lifting, out across the South Pacific were two of the most massive rainbows I've ever seen. They were huge! As a bonus, their reflection of the remaining clouds produced one of the most spectacular skylines I've ever seen in these parts (or indeed, anywhere). Now if only I'd had the foresight to capture it! I have to admit, I worry a little about the camera on the ride to and from work. Perhaps unnecessarily.

Today was slightly less eventful, just a detour to the Spit on the way to work, and the chance to laugh at one horn-leaning moron on the way. I never thought driving could be more tiring than cycling, but the way this guy appeared to be huffing and puffing, perhaps it's a possibility. I'm really looking forward to Glorious Mee tomorrow. Hopefully my lack of spare bulbs in the lights won't matter (I usually finish that one in daylight anyway). The last point isn't my fault -- they were *supposed* to be forwarded on to Pacific Fair post office by the people at Mermaid Beach PO as per my phone call of a week ago. This didn't happen. I just hope some moron didn't decide to send them back to the company instead.

On another issue, I noticed in the news (i.e. what I hear each morning on Triple J), that Queensland has decided to instigate something of a "public smoking ban". As I understand, from next year, people will be banned from standing in doorways smoking (an extension of the current "no smoking inside" rule, which will now apply to pubs and clubs). Good Job I say! To be honest I get a little tired of hearing people whine about "smokers' rights" -- what about the rights of the rest of us not to have to put up with that crap everytime we go out?

The thing that most impresses me, however, is the decision to ban smoking on the beach. I just hope they enforce that one. There's nothing that annoys me more than finding cigarette butts litering somewhere that is supposed to be pleasant. If it seems like I'm singling out smokers, it's because they seem to be the worst offenders in this area. Many of them seem to perceive being generally inconsiderate to be a divine right. Now if we can just get them to go after those idiots who throw the things out car windows -- the bushfire season might not be quite such a scary prospect!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Approaching unnoticed...

Today is certainly my kind of day. Dark, grey and wet. In fact, I'd probably appreciate it if everyday was like this. Having said that, there have been times this week when it has described my mood perfectly. The aforementioned calamity on Springbrook, and $250 later, after all the new parts have been bought (OK, there were a few other things I needed that I got at the same time). Of course, that was followed by my home PC being infected with another virus, one that Norton apparently can't delete. Well, such is life.

Of course, unnoticed among all of this is the impeding Glorious Mee ride this Saturday. I registered some time ago, but seem to have forgotten all about it among all the other things going on. The statistics are impressive. 212km (230 for me riding to the start from Fortitude Valley), climbing Mt Nebo, Mt Glorious and Mt Mee. There are other rolling hills in between just to make things interesting. The good news is that temperatures look like being a bit cooler this year. 32 degrees C by the 6am start last year, reaching 39 during the ride!

This morning I headed out in the rain for a quick blast to Hinze Dam (yes, I know, $250 worth of new components in the rain!). I just love this weather. Once I escaped suburbia I could smell the last of the wattle season perfectly, mixed in with the eucalyptus, and even the lantana wasn't so bad, although that is still a bit of a serial pest in these parts. The effect was quite invigorating, inspiring me to push harder, although I paid for it on the commute to work. Sadly, I'm not expecting this rain to stay long. This is already the "wettest" September we've had since 1999.

Yesterday was a rare outing for the old bike, "the green machine" as I've now taken to calling it. Some conflicting thoughts there -- "this saddle feels funny", "IS that rear wheel alright?", and "How did I get 65,000km out of this thing?". Of course, when the rhythm kicks in and the muscles warm up, these thoughts disappear in the beauty of the ride (yesterday was wet, too). The commute was surprisingly fast at that point, according to my arrival time at work. On the way home I broke the brakes stopping at a red light. Sometimes the slowest traffic lights in the country are a benefit -- I was able to fix it before I got green. It will need to be looked at properly, but that will come in time. There are more important things approaching.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Glad that one's over.

The one saving grace:

I hate days like this. Seems everything I tried to do today just didn't want to work. The truth is, it all started so promisingly, a 5am start to take the bike up to Springbrook today. Still a bit of moisture around from yesterday's delightful rain, had an interesting conversation with another rider on the earlier parts of the climb, before ascending beyond, over the 1,000 metres climbed barrier up to Best of All Lookout. I didn't linger at the view, however, as the arrival of a tourist minibus took away my the ambience of the experience.

It was on the descent that the problems started. I seem to be having a recent run of flat tyres (ironically, I was just about to purchase a new rear tyre, would have done so yesterday had I got the time). A flat isn't normally a major drama, put the spare tube in, pump it up and off I go, 15 minutes max. This time, however, the spare had developed a hole from somewhere, the glue in my repair kit had dried out, and the pump decided not to work at all. Seems some of the bearings in the back wheel are screwed from the review I did this evening.

For a while I pondered my options, well, there weren't too many. I just had to walk. Of course, 40km from home up in the mountains, this isn't such an engaging proposition. The good news was that I had 963 metres of height to lose to get back to the coast. The other good news is that the scenery of Springbrook makes such a task reasonably bearable. After about 7km of walking (and about 300 metres lost), I found a phone and called a relative.

They were cool about it, but it was the embarrassment of being stranded that gets me. This hasn't happened for something like 100,000km or so. It's just so frustrating sometimes. Even if waiting here made it a little more bearable:

The weekend wasn't all bad though. As mentioned last week, I bought that CD from Art of Fighting. Now that is worth listening to more than once. It's one of those CD's that everyone should have a copy of -- for their own good. I know it maintained my sanity when the loose rear-wheel bearings on the bike were annoying me this evening. In fact, it's what I'm listening to right now as I get ready for bed. Bring on tomorrow!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The definition of irony

Well, I suppose there is some good news. In something that I'm sure hasn't happened very much before, Kodak actually honoured the warranty on my camera. It came back on Tuesday. Now if only I'd had it for the tour. Still, I can get the shots onto CD as soon as I get around to using up the last one. God Only knows when I'll do that -- where do I go to take just one picture?

Seems the cooler weather has returned temporarily, it got down to 9 degrees C on the pre-dawn ride this morning. That was nice, but I don't think it will be long. Still, as long as it waits until after Glorious Mee, I'm happy. Also got my holiday in Victoria approved by work later this year. That's at least something to look forward to. Now to get on with the fun (but not so urgent) business of refining the route. Sometimes planning a tour like that is almost as much fun as riding it.