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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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Australia's Greatest Export

In my life, there aren't too many regrets. However, one that lingered was that in 2001, I had the chance to see Midnight Oil play live, and didn't take it. I guess I figured that the opportunity would come again some time soon. History shows, of course, that it didn't. However, thanks to Wave-Aid (the Tsunami Relief gig) and Triple J, I was able to relieve some of that regret by listening to their reunion performance. Musically, they absolutely creamed every other act there, including some that were quite good -- and this from a band that hadn't played together in three years! However, there is so much more to Midnight Oil than this.

There have been a number of singers, musicians and bands who have made their living on the old "singing about Australia" line -- many of them have been country singers (John Williamson, Slim Dusty and Rolf Harris come to mind), and some short-lived rock bands back in the 1980's. However, none of them managed to do it in the way Midnight Oil did. The key difference being that the Oils covered all the bases, and believe me, not all of them were pretty.

Growing up in the 1980's and early 1990's as I did, I was able to witness quite a few changes in both lifestyle and the landscape; I had witnessed The rich get richer, The poor get the Picture, doing so in a country town, I had realised that The old world is not as safe with the new world closing in. However, our elected representatives didn't seem to care: everything's set, everything's fine, you've just gotta stand in line. Other times, I've seen beautiful landscapes threatened by reckless development: your dreamworld is just about to end.

Indeed, it's surprising how late I came to Midnight Oil, it was 1990 and Blue Sky Mine before I really discovered them -- although upon hearing their earlier records, I realised they had already been entrenched in my psychology for a long time. However, it was the video clip to Blue Sky Mine that really stuck with me -- coming from the working class background that I did. Here was someone prepared to stand up for the workers risking their lives in a mine while the suits raked in the fruits of their labour, not caring about those making it happen, or indeed the surrounding landscape; the company takes what the company wants, and nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground.

In time, of course, they would open my eyes to other issues; we've seen US Forces give the nod when market movements call the shots. We've seen the genocide committed against the aborignal people of Australia, how white man came, took everything. I found it quite ironic from the country that refuses to offer so much as an apology for this, to "celebrate" the aboriginal culture at the Sydney Olympics back in 2000. Of course, it was the Oils, during the closing ceremony, who sent out the message that so many of us wanted to convey, but didn't have the means.

It wasn't the first time they sent out such a message, who could forget their hit and run concert in front of the Exxon building in New York back in 1990? Indeed, last night they mentioned "our friends in Timor", then sung the following:

Now we don't live with an absent master; we don't live on an island divided, don't want my kids to grow up in shame; in a country with a different name

However, it wasn't always doom and gloom. Songs such as In the Valley, Capricornia and Surf's up Tonight (just to name a few), showcase some of the beauty that this country has to offer. Sometimes it's the sense of escapism (and much of their earlier work seemed to be themed on this), sometimes it's just the feeling that comes from the place without a postcard. Either way, often after listening to some of these songs, I have the temptation to jump on the bike and just go, accompanied only by the Stars of Warburton.

Ultimately, it was the combination of these messages that identifies them, sets them apart from pretty much every other musical act ever produced by this country, or indeed the world. It also tells us that if we do things right, there is a future, and a positive one: In the end the rain comes down, and washes clean the streets of a blue-sky town.

However, there is one thing that cannot be denied, whatever that future holds: Forget about your cheap "souvenirs" at those stupid Duty-Free stores in Surfers, if you want a real taste of Australia, of my country, right or wrong, just pick up a Midnight Oil CD, and turn the volume up to 11.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Fruit salad and icecream appreciation post

What can I say? It was hot out there today -- too hot. Yesterday I'd had a slight fever, but it appeared to have cleared up this morning, perhaps it had not. I set off regardless, initially through the beautiful gorge country between the Gold Coast and Canungra -- this is one of the most underrated rides in the entire country in my view. Actually, it was quite a pleasant start to the ride, the temperatures weren't even all that oppressive!

After Canungra the scenery changes dramatically -- I don't know whether it's the mountains of the Beechmont Range and Mt Tamborine, or because it's been cleared, but it always seems drier -- and somehow wilder -- out here. Although, Today it was surprisingly green.

Now it was warming up, through the towns of Beaudesert and Jimboomba in ever increasing temperatures, clearing 30 degrees C quite early on, before doubling back on Camp Cable road and heading for Mt Tamborine -- it was here that the problems started. On the early part of that climb (around an 8% gradient), the heat really got to me -- I had no power, my heart rate was jumping on even the slightest effort. My legs wanted to work, but the heat just wouldn't let the rest of the machinery function. I ate a muesli bar, and had to fight to keep it from coming straight back up. Eventually I reached the rainforest on the higher part of the mountain, and was quite relieved to grab a couple of pictures.

There hasn't been that volume of water coming over Curtis Falls in years -- although I don't venture to Tamborine that often these days. At the top I found a place selling fruit salad -- good, something I knew I'd be able to keep down. I was asked "do you want icecream with that, or are you too healthy?" Icecream is healthy on a day like this! Actually, Tamborine offers some breathtaking views from the top.

The descent came and passed quickly, and I was back in the lowlands before too much longer. Great, back in the heat again -- only now I had mechanical issues, and the smaller gears on the middle chain-ring were slipping -- meaning I couldn't attack Wongawallan* as I would have liked. I pressed on through the heat, struggling across the relentless hills all the way to Nerang, just concentrating on a high cadence and efficient pedalling in this heat.

At Nerang the temperatures seemed a little cooler momentarily, could it be that it might be cooler on the coast? After negotiating a surprising piece of gridlock, I discovered the answer to that question in the negative. It was 35 degrees C on the Coast, and about 169% humidity. About 3km from home I found a convenience store, and bought some cold water with which to wash down my last muesli bar -- the heat had been that oppressive that I wasn't expecting to make it home without doing so (despite the fact that I'd already covered 165km in those conditions).

Now I'm left wondering what the problem was. I've dealt with hotter before, and the slight fever -- even if it was still there, appeared relatively benign. I'm not sure it was the "bonk" in the conventional sense -- my legs felt fine, and I still had the mental faculties to successfully spot and predict the rat-runners when I got back to the Coast, but for some reason I just didn't cope with the heat at all.

I am sure of one thing -- next time I'm given the option to take a different day off work for a public holiday, I'll check the weather forecast and pick the one with the lower temperatures!

* Wongawallan is a range east of Mt Tamborine. It's not massively high (only 130 metres above sea level), but coming just after Tamborine it can cause a problem. The way to deal with it normally is to just attack it from the outset -- take it as a personal affront that such a range would dare get in your way, and tear it apart. Make the entire Earth tremble in fear at the thought of being hit by shrapnel from your tearing of Wongawallan to pieces. Don't defeat it, own it 169%, why settle for victory when fatal ownage is so much better? Victory is for wet, wishy-washy losers!

Time for bed I think.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fess up time!

Come on, admit it. When you're riding along, and you see a police officer on the side of the road with a radar-gun, you give the bike a little extra kick of speed just to show off! Well, at least I do. Trouble is, it only ever seems to happen when I'm going into a headwind. Combine that with the fact that the cop "fired" just as I was beginning my acceleration, and I only recorded 27km/h on the gun today.

I know I can do better.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Words are inadequate

For a number of years, Springbrook has been one of my favourite destinations for getting away, be it for a few hours, or the whole day. It was a big challenge in my earlier years as a serious cyclist. As I improved it became a quick ride to fill in on days when I didn't have time to do 200km+ efforts. I've even described it as "only" Springbrook at times recently -- this is clearly a mistake. Firstly, because the climb is still a challenging one, and secondly, because it can turn on days like this one at any time. Even before the climb started, it was "on" today.

As I got higher on the mountain, I encountered a cow who would only move when a camera was pointed in his (her) direction.

And ran into hills that might well be green, given that this place claims the second highest rainfall on mainland Australia.

However, it was up at Goomoolahra where things got really interesting. Here, mere words are inadequate, I'll just let what I saw speak for itself...

However, not everything today was pristine and beautiful. It seems the developers have discovered the place -- an old farm has been subdivided and covered in trailer parks. There are other dwellings that weren't there on my last visit. While the National Park is protected, the surrounding areas on the escarpment are vulnerable, and South Queensland has the fastest rate of land clearing in the world -- which isn't a promising fact. It also seems that the new arrivals on the mountain have brought all of the anti-cyclist bigotry up from the coast.

For all of that though, I was still smiling on the descent. Springbrook remains capable of turning on days like this one at anytime, it's power remains. While I have plans to leave the Gold Coast at the end of 2006, I will still treasure my time on this mountain, and it will be one of the things that I genuinely miss when I move on. I'm sure I'll shed tears on my last ride of the mountain.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Morning jaunt

There isn't really as much to say about today as I would like. However, last night's sunset deserves an honourable mention.

I did manage an early morning jaunt into Tallebudgera Valley, which, of course, follows the notorious 22% climb on Trees Road, although the views just before the forested descent are worth the effort.

Occasionally when venturing to places like this, places I visited often in the past, but less so these days, there are things that come to mind, things that I had somehow forgotten about. The amount of rainforest along this route was just one. The thing is, I'm not sure why I stopped coming down here regularly -- I guess I just lost focus on it in relation to other things going on in my life.

Today has to focus on this ride, because the rest of the day was relatively uninteresting and consisted of a major clean up of my apartment.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Emotional blackmail won't work

This Saturday there is an election to elect a new councillor for Division 14 of the Gold Coast City Council, to replace the previous incumbent, who apparently passed away back in November (I was away interstate at the time and didn't hear about it). Linda Carmody from Bicycle Gold Coast is standing as a candidate, and decided to approach me to hand out those annoying 'how to vote' cards at a polling booth somewhere. Of course, the first I heard of it was last night, and I declined because I already have plans for this weekend.

It seems my answer didn't go down all that well, as the reply I received was (in these words) "This was a chance to really do something for cycling," (incidentally, I have some very different ideas on what that will require, but that's for another post, and not really relevant to this); "Thank you for being so frank with me that I don't have your support." Of course, the obvious reply would have been "thanks for letting me know in advance that you required my help this weekend, so that I had plenty of time to think of an excuse", but I didn't bother to push the issue as I had more important things to do than start an argument.

This isn't really a rant against Linda as such, even though we have different ideas on what will benefit cycling, she's probably better than the majority of other candidates, many of whom have decidedly anti-cycling agendas (regardless of what they say at Ride to Work Day). It just annoys me when people resort to this sort of "persuasion" rather than simply asking me slightly earlier in the piece so that I didn't go and make plans for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Conservatives, cowards and canetoads

Three things that are not my favourite in this world, but I digress. The first lot had their say mid-morning. I had to go and see a client today -- a five minute walk from my office, so I walked. I returned after the appointment to find the (not totally unexpected) "get a taxi" e-mail in my inbox. This does, of course, follow on from this issue from last month. I'm not expecting to hear any more about this one, but quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of the attitude that people in this part of the world have to the fact that I use a bike for transport.

I've made a choice that is quite legitimate in the eyes of the law, extremely economical and certainly more efficient if my travel times are any indication. Yet it seems that in this most conservative of Australian cities that anything which even suggests in the most vague manner that there are other alternatives to the motor car are somehow seen as taboo. For God's Sake people, it's a bicycle, why is this a f*cking problem? As I said when the issue arose, there's something I'm not being told here, but to be honest that isn't my concern. However, if this continues to be an issue, I will walk. I think the Manic Street Preachers best summed it up with these people: "So lazy, lazy, lazy, chuck down all the pills; Needing to remember, how and why to live."

The second was more amusing than anything else -- the number of people in the aforementioned motor cars who also have problems with bicycles, but also lack the guts to specify their problem to my face. Like the jerk in Southport who yelled out some unintelligible gibberish out his window as he "sped" off. Of course, when I caught and passed him and his mate in the gridlock a few minutes later (something I did effortlessly, despite the headwind), they were strangely silent.

Didn't stop the next moron, however. A surfie kid leaning out the car window, this time I was able to make out what he said, just as he was able to make-out the shape of my middle finger*. Then, of course, he started screaming even more, pounding the car door, and generally making a spectacle of himself. Just when I needed a good laugh. The really funny part was that he kept it up for the 2km or so that I managed to keep him in sight. Again, lacking the balls to say it to my face, but from the protection of a big car, with plenty of side-streets he can accelerate down if I get too close (not that I bothered). Still, if morons can make me laugh like this, I mightn't move away after all.

It was after work that I encountered the canetoads, but this was part of something positive for a change. Martin and I headed to The Spit for a couple of laps of night-time singletrack heaven, with a couple of detours out along the breakwall with waves crashing around us -- and plenty of ocean spray in the air. Now this was pleasant, and surprisingly taxing in that headwind. The wind had deposited a lot of sand on the track, which made for a few interesting moments (and filled my shoes). Indeed, I managed to pull off one or two dramatic saves out there. A great night all in all.

Monday, January 17, 2005


Well, there goes my attempt for the worst, most lame pun of 2005. I reckon I'm in with a chance with that effort. It's a play on words from yesterday's ride with Martin, and another couple of new routes discovered. We met up at North Burleigh and headed south over Bilambil (and a view over a patch of land soon to be developed one suggests)

... and through the John Hogan rainforest toward Murwillumbah.

We skipped around the town on Cane Road (just how does it get this name?)

... and it was here the ride began. The climb over the Condong range on Reserve Creek Road toward Pottsville, then doubling back across the Burringbar range on Cudgera Creek Road, then into the town of Burringbar for some much needed fluids (it was HOT out there!). These were beautiful climbs, winding through green hills and the occasional patch of forest, sometimes over banana plantations in the higher areas.

After this it was a short flat, then the climb of the Burringbar Range on the old Highway, then at the top, it was time to deviate once more, on a rough dirt road through Mooball National Park. This area has only recently been declared National Park (having been State Forest prior), and hence there are any number of fire trails through (now) protected forest to be explored. A lot of ups and downs and some great views to be had up here. I may be spending more time here in the future.

Not sure if Martin will appreciate this picture, but in fairness, I did have to take it in a hurry.

After descending a steep, rough road, we eventually made our way back to Murwillumbah in the heat (now 34 degrees C), again skirting the town on Cane Road, and again returning via Urliup for a bit more dirt, and another chance to cool off by the stream. The water didn't seem quite as clean today as last time, but it was still quite drinkable.

Today was a bit of a role reversal in a certain sense -- it was Martin who was determined to ride a century -- not that I was exactly arguing with the notion. I finished with 166km at day's end, so that goal was fulfilled. That's no. 3 on the road to 25 this year -- and they've all been challenging with plenty of climbing (at 1600 metres, this was the "flattest" so far).

It seems like a sin to dwell on the negatives here, but I actually came up with a couple. The first was losing a pump from my frame on the Hogan's Road descent (and a good pump at that). Sadly, I now also owe Martin a ham and cheese roll, because I got owned in the altitude guessing competition. Actually, I misunderstood that one -- I thought he was trying to guess air-pressure induced error at the current altitide on the reading at that moment, and was going to confirm it with a topographic map later. Still, that might even make me even more dense. Perhaps I'll just stick with the "it was to guess the highest point of the ride" theory (which was just over 240 metres incidentally).

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Keep telling me what I can't do...

Someone said I couldn't do this:

And just to show it wasn't a fluke, here's another:

Yep, sometime ago on bikeforums, someone told me that it was impossible to successfully photograph a rainbow -- something about the lighting and camera's shutter I think, I can't quite recall the technical explanation now as it was some months ago. Either way, I've done it. The scene was Currumbin Valley this morning on a very pleasant day, albeit a little more humid than I would like. I actually met up with a group of riders that I did O'Reilly's with back in June. They ride a little faster than I'd perhaps like. It isn't that I can't keep up with them (I dropped all but the fastest of their group on O'Reilly's), it's just that their pace doesn't always allow time to appreciate the scenery. Still, it's nice to have someone to talk to occasionally.

Not all about the ride was perfect. I managed to break a gear cable this morning. I think it's been on the way out for some time, but I was hoping it would last a bit longer (maybe another week or so). Of course, I went down to Johns (my LBS), and they had the replacement, but they didn't have the time to fit it for me. Well, I guess I had to learn sooner or later. I think I did a reasonable job fitting it myself once I figured out what I was doing, and it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. It's not quite shifting perfectly, but I think that's because some of the cogs on the rear cluster are getting worn (they need to be replaced, but I'm trying to hold off until I'm a bit wealthier to do that). Either way, it's more than adequate.

I'm off to explore some new roads around the Condong Range (Tweed Coast Hinterland) tomorrow. This is a goal I set for 2005 -- to keep discovering new places to ride. New horizons, new sceneries. I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow, but it should be interesting one way or another. With a bit of luck I can shoot for century no.3 as well. I guess now all that remains, is for someone to tell me what this ship was doing off the coast of Surfers Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Jets!

"Well ain't it like being impossible,
but there aint no harm in trying".

After my last post, these words were just what I needed. Whatever happened to The Screaming Jets?

Over it!

Do you ever get the feeling that it's all a waste of time? That everything you do is pissing into the wind? Right at the moment I have that feeling in regard to riding my bike on the Gold Coast. Yesterday was bad enough with it's horn-honking, fist-shaking, kerb-squeezing morons. One tosspot had a really good go in Sufferer's Parasite. It's just as well I was riding well away from it and therefore gave myself a little space to play with -- I mightn't be here to type this otherwise. It may or may not have been deliberate on his part, that's probably a 50/50 call, he may have just been totally incompetent. Either way, I've since given some more thought to moving my commute permanently to use Bundall Road. Personally I prefer riding by the sea, but that may not be an option later in the day when the morons come out to play.

Then today I rode past another cyclist who had crashed. Another "incident" with a driver -- although I don't know much about what really happened here. All I really got to see of it was a driver full of excuses trying to blame everyone and everything else they could think of. Granted, they stayed to offer assistance, but I can't help thinking that's because leaving the scene of an "accident" is a prosecutable offence.

It's probably just as well that I'm able to enjoy riding in spite of all this. All in all I enjoy my lifestyle, but I'm left wondering whether the Gold Coast is really the place to pursue it anymore. A friend of mine in Hobart just had a wonderful ride around Tasmania -- and I know from my own tour down there that I could handle that. I guess it's just a matter of plucking up the guts to leave my job and situation here and just go for it. I also feel a little guilty about bringing the benefits of cycling, namely cleaner air and enhanced traffic flow (it wasn't cyclists causing that gridlock on the Sundale Bridge today) to people that simply don't deserve them. I've half a mind just to dismiss the whole city contemptuously and leave them to it -- after all, what difference am I really making here, in the tide of ignorance and resentment that cyclists have to deal with everyday?

On the other hand, I'm set to meet Martin for an Austinville ride tomorrow night, and I know that after heading for the rainforests for an evening -- or even only an hour, I will suddenly feel much happier about my lot. Of course, how long that happiness lasts is open to question, but would life really be perfect anywhere else?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


No, it's not the end of this blog (although time constraints lately... oh forget it!). I have, however, effectively said goodbye to a website that has used up a lot of my time over the last almost five years. It was in April 2000 that I originally registered for the bikeforums site that links on the left of this page (although I can't speculate on how much longer it will be there). In that time I've watched the site grow from a few posts a week to thousands of posts a day. Indeed, I was even made a moderator in December 2002 (God, was it that long ago?). However, there have also been other changes on the site that have been less benign.

I've often heard it said that on-line communities tend to follow the path of real-life communities. I guess you could argue that this has rung true here as well. The issue here has been the steadily declining civility between members on the forum over the last couple of years, but the last six-nine months in particular. My favourite times on this site came back in 2001, when my last year at university was particularly intense. I used to love letting off steam on the forums, having a few laughs with the other members, most of whom I called my friends, discussing just about any topic relating to cycling we felt like. Even in May 2003, when I had a bike stolen, I still appreciated the sense of community that the place offered. Even people with whom I disagreed on many issues could still offer a shoulder to cry on if you needed it. One guy even offered financial support to help me purchase a replacement!

These days, however, it's more about the arguments that simply an on-line place to hang out. Trolling, the use of multiple user-names to indicate "support", flaming of those who disagree, editing posts for content after "losing" the argument, cliques forming in different sections of the site, it's all happening, and while none of this bothers me overly, the problem is that I'm not about to expend time sifting through thousands of posts/day to read through it. I just have better things to do.

Now of course, some might be saying at this point "why don't you do something about it, you're a moderator?". Well, the fact is, there's only so much administrators or moderators can do on a site like that one. For one thing, nobody can read every post on a forum like that. For another, the sheer number of posts that would need to be removed or edited would almost certainly bring accusations of "censorship" and so on. Ultimately, I think a community needs to be self-moderating to a large extent, and when an on-line community reaches a certain size, this is not going to happen. Consequently, it's time for me to move on.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

One perfect day

What can be said about today, other than beautiful, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

"It's a place I've been before, a place some say I should go more,
but every journey just leads me to far away" -- Sarah Blasko.

It had been six months since my last visit to O'Reilly's, the western gateway to the magnificent Lamington National Park. I excused myself from a Binna Burra ride with Martin because I knew this was the day I had to return. For most of the last six months I've been exploring new roads or trails in the Tweed Valley, and following dreams in other parts of the country, but in doing so I may have neglected one of the great rides of my recent past.

After escaping suburbia (which doesn't take as long when you're heading west), I rode through the magnificient, forested and very green gorge country to the town of Canungra. This is where the ride starts. Ups and downs southward bound into a headwind (which kept the temperature to a very pleasant 21 degrees C to date), before starting the climb...

It's a long, gradual winding climb up to Kamarun lookout, a spur on the eastern edge of the range

Surrounded by beautiful rainforests

Which occasionally give way to stunning mountain views.

The temperature at the top was a beautiful 17 degrees C. The only downside is the long, gradual, winding descent -- especially as my brake pads are close to the scrap heap. I'll be putting on the new ones I bought this week. Descending to Canungra bakery, and climbing out of the town after re-fueling, but this ride wasn't over yet. I headed back toward the Gold Coast through Clagiraba, where there is one steep bugger of a hill. This hill always takes a lot out of me, but today it was inspiring as much as draining, now I had 1,900 metres of climbing on the altimeter, and I wanted to really make a statement with this ride.

A deviation to Hinze Dam, where Gold Coast cyclists go looking for quick hills followed, then a southerly procession through the ups and downs, into that monster of a wind, which couldn't get me because of the hills. Mudgeeraba, then (alas) Robina -- finally the wind got a chance on the first flat, treeless stretch of road for virtually the whole day. It took a shot, I took a shot back, then negotatiated the multitude of roundabouts to get out of there.

Beyond that, there is little to tell. I took some suburban detours to make the ride into an imperial century (number two this month already), but they were neither here nor there. I now felt unstoppable. Even now I still have that feeling of elation that only comes from a special day in the saddle. One perfect day? Maybe I'll try for a few more. Either way, I know I'll have to return to O'Reillys soon.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Request granted, but who was the last out of the state?

Whomever it was obviously forgot to turn the lights out. I went to Myer at Pacific Fair today (I still had a gift voucher from Christmas) and ended up buying three items -- a shirt, a CD and a calendar. I ended up having to take each one to a different checkout (remember, this is all within the same store), because apparently if you take an item to any other checkout within the store, the machine "goes spacko", or words to that effect. Now just why can't items at a store all be on the same computer program? This situation defeats the whole purpose of having "conveniently located" checkouts, does it not?

I have a new home on the Internet.
Bikejournal (reminds me that I need to update the links section on this page in the near future, maybe tomorrow?). Regular followers of my ramblings over at bikeforums will note that in recent times, my ramblings have dissipated somewhat. Let's just, for the moment (because I don't have time to type out a massive rant right at the moment), say that I have certain issues with the direction in which that forum is heading. Bikejournal seems a much friendlier place right at the moment, and the lower level of traffic that it has makes it easier for someone with my schedule to keep up with things.

I even managed a pleasant ride this morning, down the coast, taking in the pleasant currumbin estuary...

And then out into the valley at Piggabeen (the southern one)...

I guess the concern out here, like so many other rides, will be urban development. Already some of the land around this road has been sold off...

... so perhaps it's one that I'll need to make the most of while it lasts. Maybe I'll do a few night rides down there when I get my hub-generator light.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Now can we turn the heat down please?

Now it's getting ridiculous. Riding through Southport and Surfers today, I got a first hand look at just how the heat seems to be affecting the brains of the population of this place. Cars lined up five-wide on a two lane road, people charging through intersections without looking, the air full of humidity and bushfire smoke. All in all not a very good day, and hence I'm here typing this instead of riding.

Then, of course, there are the usual symptoms of living in Queensland generally. We've had two power failures since the new year already. Just how this has happened is beyond me, as there have been no storms or extreme weather conditions. What I would like explained is just how this happens with modern-day technology? I'm guessing the excuse will be the usual one about a heap of air conditioners being turned on at one time, but surely this should be expected in this climate (even at 4.30 am, when the last one took place).

Last one out of the state turn the lights out.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Turning up the heat

The first three months of this summer haven't been too bad, but in the last couple of days it seems to have decided to make up for it. So it was yesterday, although a start of just 20 degrees C gave no indication of what was to follow. After sitting out due to sunburn on January 1, I really wanted to get a decent ride in, so I headed South, initially down the Tweed Coast.

The ride was almost over before it begun. On 10km a ute driver indicates one way, then turns the other, I'm forced to pull off a save to avoid a collision. Strangely, I'm more upset with myself than anyone else, upset that I fell for a trick I've seen many, many times in the past. Undeterred, I continue south, a little quicker now. Sadly, suburbia seems to be expanding down here, it now takes 45km to get clear of it, but at least the long drag is still worth it.

By the time I head inland at the southern end of that stretch of coastline, I can feel the temperature warming up quite quickly, it now hits 32 degrees C climbing the ridge behind Mullumbimby toward The Crystal Castle. This really is a beautiful area, and is the main justification behind heading this way. Here, I remind myself that I really must do the repentence ride through to Nimbin soon. Maybe when it cools down a little.

The loop returns to Mullumbimby at the bottom of the valley. I think I finally figured out what the name "urliup" (possibly an aboriginal name) actually means. Picture this: You're on a long ride (225km), it's hot, and you've got a headwind (which does nothing to cool you down, despite it blowing directly onto your perspiration). After lunching at Mullumbimby (where it's 34 degrees C and about 169% humidity), there is a decent climb, not so bad on a cool day, but when lunch is trying to settle on a hot day, it's a little taxing.

you pass through Mooball (34 degrees), Burringbar (35) and Murwillumbah (34), relentless hills all the way.

After Murwillumbah for about 4-5km it's flat -- no vegetation apart from sugar cane, totally exposed to that wind which is strengthening (and didn't really start blowing until you turned around to head into it). At this point you have around 175km in your legs.Then you hit a 2km, 135 metre climb toward Urliup. Your pedalling style has suffered a little after the plains, but it's over relatively quickly. Now you're descending through pristine rainforest on a narrow, deserted dirt road. You're already cooling off.

At the bottom, you find a place where two cool, pristine rainforest streams meet. The temperature here is a full 6 degrees cooler than Murwillumbah, despite being only about 7-8km away. Here, you can splash yourself with the water to cool off, heck, it's even so pristine you can drink straight from the streams. I did, and it was at this moment, that I realised, that Urliup must surely be an aboriginal word for "relief". After the inspiration of this place, the headwind and the heat suddenly seemed inconsequential.

I managed to push home through the headwind up the coast, and maintain an "on the computer" average speed of 24km/h. Not bad under the circumstances. It wouldn't be the Gold Coast without at least one moment of madness. Some silly cow driving straight across the bikelane (even after I've made eye-contact). Fortunately my reactions after 223km are still pretty good, as is my ability to judge others, and my cynicism. The situation is avoided, and I make it home in one piece. Just as well I discarded the text book instructions of "use the bike lane" and "make eye contact with drivers" years ago.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Holiday mode

After finishing up work for the year almost two weeks ago, today I finally got into the holiday mode of doing nothing for most of the day. It was actually the first time in ages that I've done that, and to be honest I think doing nothing is overrated. All it really does is create anxiety about the things I could (should?) be doing instead. Perhaps we need days like this occasionally, but personally I'm not sure it's a good thing. Maybe I should have found some housework or something that needed doing.

I did get an early morning ride to Springbrook (sort of) with Martin. That was pleasant. Finally got to see my ultra-efficient new tyres in action today. They made quite a difference, although it was more noticeable on the descents than anywhere else. This ride basically had to be completed early so I could get indoors and give my sunburn from the previous day a chance to heal. Still, it was pleasant while I was there. One of these days I need to spend an entire day up at Springbrook.