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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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's been too long

Do you ever go somewhere you've not been for a while and get the feeling that you've been away too long? Tonight was the first night ride to Austinville for weeks (I was doing it every Tuesday at one point). When I was hammering along in the darkness, taking in the pristine rainforest air, pedalling toward the glow worms, I just had a feeling that I should take time out to do this more often. I think I'll have to find a way.

Incidentally, tomorrow is the first day of "winter" officially. My Winter will only be about three days long, but it's actually getting close. The annual Queen's Birthday Weekend Darling Downs ride is just around the corner. This is a little long-weekend tour that I do at this time each year, which allows me a complete change of scenery and a chance to keep the fires burning as it's still five months to my NZ tour. In 2003 it actually got very, very cold up there, as it tends to be about the only part of Queensland that experiences a real winter. Last year wasn't quite so cold, but I have reason to suspect that this year is going to freeze, which reminds me that I need to get some new leg warmers, and possibly some warmer socks than I currently have.

Either way, it's getting close, and perhaps I'll spend some time this weekend poring over a map or two. This is, of course, a pointless exercise, as any planned route will almost certainly be changed when I actually go to ride it, but it's a pointless exercise that I enjoy nonetheless.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

All of them - GONE!

And you thought you had weird politicians! Late last week the entire Tweed Shire Council were sacked amid accusations of corruption. Because I'm in good old isolationist Queensland, it sometimes takes news like this a few days to cross the border from NSW, even though the administrative centre for the Tweed Shire Council is no more than 30km away. Of course, corruption in politics is nothing new, but what I find interesting about this story was that it involved the entire council. Normally enquiries of this nature focus on one or two politicians at a time, in this case they're saying that everyone on the council is tainted -- and this is apparently just the beginning. Well, let's look on the bright side, it could effectively delay any council plans to pave or seal Urliup Road.

Further news came in the form of this story which suggests that the source of the fraud centres around the councillors effectively lying about their allegiances in the lead up to their election. They claimed to be "independent" candidates (as if that means anything anymore), when they were actually funded by a group of developers en masse. I seem to recall my sister telling me about something similar happening in Melbourne in the lead up to their elections last year. The outcome there was slightly different, as the man challenging for the job of Mayor, who ran eight "stooge" candidates (i.e. candidates who claimed to be representing other interests, but all supported him), ended up getting owned hard by incumbent John So.

Now that this sort of thing has spread to the Tweed Shire in Northern NSW, one wonders just how many other areas are similarly tainted. Perhaps this explains why I generally only treat politics as an object of ridicule these days, and spend more time riding my bike and enjoying the outside world.

Pre-dawn chill

So yesterday was to be the first century ride on the Hybrid, starting with the sunrise at the mouth of Tallebudgera creek. The Coolamon century as I call this (because much of it follows the Coolamon road near Mullumbimby) at first heads down the coast, through some very pleasant mangroves.

I don't know how much longer the mangroves will be there, given the rapid explosion of suburbia on the Tweed Coast. Still, being on the NSW side, there's a chance some of them might be preserved. The ride then heads inland through Mullumbimby, before climbing toward the Crystal Castle. This is the section that really makes this ride, sweeping views on both sides of the range, first toward the coast:

... and also the mountains...

... and that would forget the flowers that are always blooming in these parts.

The return from this route takes the old highway, through the Burringbar range and surrounding hills. The punishing hills that come in the 145-165km section are what makes this ride a challenge. The range itself is just a rhythm ride, but the ones that follow have stiffer gradients, particularly the last brutal pinch before descending into Murwillumbah.

After Murwillumbah, it was time to test the new bike on a dirt road -- for this, Urliup was always going to be the only choice.

All in all a satisfying ride -- 222.5km, although I'm still adjusting to some slightly different gearing, and have pulled up a little sore today. It was interesting to note at Burleigh Heads a car sticker: "God Save Schapelle". If one was naive enough to believe the media, it might come as a surprise that it was the only one I saw all day. We can only hope God or the Indonesian judges weren't watching as they promptly ran straight through a red light.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Things we miss

I've been using this blog to document various rides for around nine months or so. However, my ride to work hasn't always received a lot of coverage in relation to some of the other places I ride. Of course, the reason for this is no secret -- I ride to work only for practical reasons. I certainly wouldn't go through Surfers Paradise five days a week if I was choosing my destination, and I've never claimed to ride to work for any reason other than that it's simply the best option. However, occasionally, the ride to work produces moments that make it worthwhile.

One of these occurred on Monday, courtesy of the South Pacific Ocean and a moon-rise. It was indeed beautiful to behold, and for once it was dark enough that I got to see it in all it's glory, the beach here wasn't it's usual crowded self. Of course, I don't generally carry the camera on my ride to work (for the reasons mentioned above), and so all I could do was vow to take that picture the next night, if it was still there. Well, sure enough, it was even better on the Tuesday, right on the horizon of the ocean, with that reddish tinge that it gets as it rises, before it really gets into the sky. Unfortunately, my camera wasn't -- this is what happens when you leave the house in a rush.

The last two nights the moonrise wasn't there (or at least not when I passed through). Tonight the ride was back to it's usual urban, boring run, only punctuated by the behaviour of the hooning jerks who seem to be attracted to the Gold Coast for some reason (probably because they get ridiculed everywhere else in the world). Still, it was good while it lasted. Maybe I'll try again next month.

Waiting for inspiration

You know, you can wait for inspiration until the cows come home. What is it about procrastination that attracts beef?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Almost, but not quite, unnoticed

In the light of other things that have happened, I completely forgot to mention that I picked up a new set of wheels last Friday. It's funny how it came about in some ways. The double-century attempt, apart from the crash, also taught me just how inefficient a MTB really is for riding these sorts of distances. Indeed, already it's hard to believe that I've ridden 13 imperial centuries this year on one. Even before the crash I'd been planning to upgrade to something a little more efficient.

The trouble is, of course, that I still have to deal with Queensland "roads" -- meaning that unless I want to be somewhat limited, a full-on road bike is somewhat out of the question (don't see too many of them down Urliup way). It was then that John at my LBS suggested that a Hybrid. These aren't that common here in Australia, but used more widely in Europe if I understand correctly. I have to admit, it was a pretty good sales job, but not being an impulse buyer, I consulted with Martin, my regular riding partner, who concurred that it would be a good idea.

Then it was a matter of saving some money for the purchase, which I had managed up until blowing it all in an expensive crash. I decided to get the bike anyway, and after a couple of test rides, it seems to be worth every cent. The efficiency here is so much better, that I didn't even realise I had the saddle height totally wrong on the "test" ride last Saturday. An early 97km jaunt into the mountains of the Hinterland.

Suffice to say, the saddle height issue has been largely corrected (albeit not quite perfect just yet), and now the ride is smoother than ever. I'm looking forward to testing this baby out on a century (or two) this weekend. I have to say that so far I've been surprised by the sheer magnitude of the difference in efficiency, but it does explain why I struggle so much in the heat of summers here. Right now though, I'm still wondering how I managed 291km in 38 degree (Celsius) heat on one blistering February day on that old MTB.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Banned word

This is bordering on the ridiculous actually. At my place of employment, there is an element of "censorship" with regard to what you're allowed to view over the Internet. Now with things like porn which might offend people who might walk past your computer at lunch time, this is probably fair enough. However, it came to my attention last Friday that this particular page "contains a banned word". Believe me, the last thing I want to do is offend anyone (unless of course... Oh forget it!), and I think I've been fairly careful with the language I use on this page.

A quick perusal of the page this morning suggests the "banned word" might be contained in the phrase "If I could be a bum" in this post. Now isn't that going just a little too far? Does anyone else have these "filters" when viewing the Internet from their place of employment during their lunchbreak?


Warning: Dial-up users beware.

After crashing 284km into a double-century attempt, smashing (among other things), a camera, I had thought for a moment that the pictures taken that day were basically lost forever. It's then somewhat surprising just how robust a small, thin, memory card can be to survive such wreckage and deliver the following:

The good news is that it saves me having to spend $70 on a memory card for the new camera, despite being told by the salesman that I would have to do just that. All the little lies they tell you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Never rains, it pours!

So my finances right now are taking a battering, with a new camera, a new E6 headlight, a new bike etc etc. Now I read that my goddess, Sarah Blasko will be putting in an appearance at the Splendour in the grass music festival at Byron Bay. It's actually quite an impressive line up including Mercury Rev, the Finn Brothers, Ryan Adams and a few others. Perhaps it's probably just as well it's sold out over two months in advance. I'm not so sure I really should be spending another $125 right now! Still, I'm hoping I'll get the chance to see Sarah Blasko again.

Incidentally, tomorrow is probably the last ride I will ever to on "The Green Machine" -- the old MTB that basically gave me mobility and saved me enough in transport costs to pay for my education a few years back. It will be relegated to third string after tomorrow's ride to work, meaning that it's unlikely to ever get a look in again. I just hope I get time to write something a little more fitting about it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


There have been a couple of consequences of my misfortune from last Saturday. First of all, the destruction of my camera means that there are now no pictures on the front page of this blog for the first time in as long as I can remember (those who want photographic enticements can flick through the archives). Another was that I actually had to get a bus to work the first two days of this week. Now that was an experience in itself.

First of all, public transport in these parts (the train to Brisbane being the exception), is notoriously unreliable. This is an even bigger problem for me, given that I'm used to going virtually everywhere under my own steam. Having to suddenly rely on the time somebody else is going to show up is surprisingly stressful. Then, of course, on a bus you're also susceptible to traffic jams. Thankfully it's all been relatively benign this week (glad I didn't attempt it in the school holidays), but it's still a big step down from being immune to traffic jams on my bike.

Let's also not forget the environment of the bus itself. I'm referring to what one experiences once they board. Many years ago, someone on the old bicycleforum site compared a suburban train to a public urinal, and the same comparison can be expanded to a suburban bus. Everyone generally stares at the floor, or their lap, or out the window if they're sitting on that side, anything to avoid looking at each other. There seems to be a genuine fear that the other person might actually talk to them. This isn't so bad if you have something to read, but I forgot to bring a book the second day. Then you've got the idiots who want to argue with the bus driver about where the bus is actually going (actually, they may have a point, the bus driver managed to miss my stop on the way to work on Tuesday). The few people on the bus who do engage in conversation (i.e. those who already know each other) insist on doing so at the top of their voice, as if anybody in the next suburb really cares what they have to say.

I could go on and on, suffice to say that I was glad to get back on the bike this morning. Right now I'm only riding to work, not much, but hopefully I can build for the weekend. On the bike I'm free to look at whatever I like, the bike offers me the reliability that public transport does not, it offers me the peace that people yelling at each other do not, in short, it lets me live! And as I move closer to acquiring a new steed, I make yet another vow to be more careful, to never have to subject myself to those other consequences in the future. Of course, I've made that vow before.

Hello, my name is "Chris"...

... And I'm a bikeaholic. I'm not quite sure how this came about, but it's clearly a serious problem. You see, this extends beyond the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle. If I go two days without riding, I start to get edgy, frustrated, unable to sit still. This is what I'm experiencing right now as a result of crashing recently, but even that doesn't deter me. Quite the opposite in fact.

There is, of course another side to this in that it could end up costing me some serious money, too. You see, up until then, I had my eye on a new bike (details of which I will reveal a little later, suffice to say that it's more efficient and faster than my current steed), and had just about saved up the cash to make the purchase. Then this happened, it should have been the end of that idea, given the expenses incurred. But you know what? I think I'm going to put it on the credit card and get it regardless.

I hope you can all understand my addiction, and please remember that I'm not asking for sympathy here, just understanding.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Regular readers of this page (both of you) will be aware that I was the innocent victim of a tagging last week from Ms Mittens. So I have to pick five occupations from below, before adding my own.

If I could be an accountant (Chris L)
If I could be a professional photographer (Chris L)
If I could be a tour guide (Chris L)
If I could be a king's toe nail picker (Chris L -- time to get creative!)
If I could be a bum. (Chris L)
If I could be a Red Cross representative (MsMittens)
If I could be a soldier (MsMittens)
If I could be a peacekeeper (MsMittens)
If I could be a store owner (MsMittens)
If I could be a security risk analyst (MsMittens)
If I could be an explorer (MsMittens)
If I could be a bike courier (MsMittens)
If I could be a dictator (MsMittens)
If I could be a gynecologist
If I could be a proctologist (dtrini)
If I could be a physiotherapist (dtrini)
If I could be an ophthalmologist (dtrini)
If I could be a polinctor (dtrini)
If I could be a courtesan (Penny)
If I could be a cruise director (Penny - c'mon, what did you expect?)
If I could be an automotive designer (Penny)
If I could be a UN representative (Penny)
If I could be a professional mudwrestler (Penny)
If I could be a psychic(Kristin)
If I could be a politician(Kristin)
If I could be an inventor(Kristin)
If I could be a quality control tech for M&Ms (Kristin)
If I could be a statistician (cricket)
If I could be a veterinarian (cricket)
If I could be a crash-test dummy (cricket)
If I could be a pilot (cricket)
If I could be a NASCAR driver(cricket)
If I could be a music executive (The Man In The Middle)
If I could be a grandparent(The Man In The Middle)
If I could be a computer hacker(The Man In The Middle)
If I could be a professional basketball player(The Man In The Middle)
If I could be a Customer Service Representative(The Man In The Middle)
If I could be an artist
If I could be a marketing director
If I could be a nanny
If I could be a psychic
If I could be an emergency medical technician
If I could be a firefighter
If I could be a designer
If I could be a policeman/woman
If I could be a teacher
If I could be a scientist
If I could be a farmer
If I could be a musician
If I could be a doctor
If I could be a painter
If I could be a gardener
If I could be a missionary
If I could be a chef
If I could be an architect
If I could be a linguist
If I could be a librarian
If I could be an athlete
If I could be a lawyer
If I could be an innkeeper
If I could be a professor
If I could be a writer
If I could be a llama-rider(by Ogre)
If I could be a bonnie pirate(By Teach)
If I could be a servicemember(By Jeremy)
If I could be a business owner(By Blue 944)
If I could be an actor(By Blue 944)
If I could be an agent(By KelBel)
If I could be video game designer(By KelBel)
If I could be a comic book artist(By Stoli)
If I could be a hooker(By Pollo Loco)
If I could be a crack addict(by Elizabeth)
If I could be a porn star(by Elizabeth)
If I could be a mime(by Garrison)
If I could be a domestic engineer(by Rick)
If I could be a chimney sweep(by laine)
If I could be a masseuse(by laine)
If I could be a taxi driver(by Brian)
If I could be a priest(by Brian)
If I could be the Sherrif Of Nottingham(Karen)
If I could be a dancer(Karen)
If I could be Santa Claus(Karen)
If I could be on a reality TV show(Dawn)
If I could be a magician(Dawn)
If I could be a rich man
If I could be perfect
If I could be a comedian

If I could be a tour guide, I'd love to show off some of the places I regularly get to cycle through in this part of the world. Just once, I'd like to be able to share the experience with someone.

If I could be an explorer, I'd like to go and explore The Moon or Mars some day. Most places on this planet have been discovered (not that I'm not keen to explore those too!), but just to be able to visit a whole alien world (or more than one), the possibilities are mind-boggling!

If I could be a writer, I'd love to write cycling guide-books about the places I ride. Ideally what I'd like to do is reveal enough about an area to entice people to visit it, let them know what to expect in some respects, but save a few surprises, too.

If I could be a professional photographer, I'd put out a calendar with shots I've taken in various places, but unlike a lot of the other wall calendars (which use shots of the same things every year), I'd visit somewhere different each year, and focus on a different environment.

If I could be a priest, I'd point out to the followers of whatever religion it was (and this applies to all of them equally), that "Thou shalt not kill" still applies even if you're facing someone from another country with a slightly different belief system.

So there it is. Hopefully I haven't bored you all too much with it. Now to Tag somebody else so I can get some sleep tonight! Mariposo is probably the only link on this page not to have been tagged at some point! You're it!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Thank you Tweed Shire Council!

The whole point to yesterday was to ride a double-century -- 200 miles/322km. Initially I headed west through the gorge country toward Canungra, starting slowly (as usual) before I was able to clear suburbia, then picking up pace as I hit the hills. At one stage I even saw a rainbow on the horizon through the gorge -- I'll never know if that photo worked (more on that later). West of Canungra, the terrain changes, the grass turns yellow west of the Beechmont range/Mt Tamborine After passing through Beaudesert, turning south and heading toward the Macpherson range.

The terrain south of Beaudesert is dead flat, and this was a problem. 15km south of Beaudesert, just before Rathdowney, the wind changed from benign to brutal in the space of a split-second. With almost no vegetation out here for protection, this had the capacity to be devastating, the only relief coming in the form of some small hills near Rathdowney. Further south it strengthened again, now I was down to 18km/h, and that was hard work. The scenery here started becoming more dramatic, views of Mt Lindesay, Mt Barney, Mt Ernest and one or two others. Finally the road started to climb, and the vegetation started to increase. Now it was a beautiful ride winding through the hills, particularly circling Mt Lindesay, views opening up around every corner. I'll be back here again.

Crossing the border into NSW, I entered the forests, still climbing a little at first, cresting, then a long gradual descent toward Kyogle. Now the southerly wind had dropped off, just before it would be useful! I completed the first 161km inside 7 hours (by one minute!), and continued south toward Kyogle. Along the way I stopped at the Wiangaree store, the woman at the shop was "sorry" she didn't have a hammock for me to rest on -- perhaps that's a good thing, I mightn't have woken up!

After leaving Kyogle I started the first of the climbs, the Mackellar range. This is a beautiful climb, and a quick gaze to the north from the summit revealed Mt Lindesay peeking over the summit in the distance. The most amusing sight on the climb was a bunch of kids in a car shouting incomprehensibles in an attempt to draw a reaction from me -- apparently their parents never told them the story of "the boy who cried wolf". After cresting this climb, it's a screaming, forested descent into Cawongla, then immediately starting another climb, the Nightcap range. Getting closer to home, the familiar landmarks such as Mt Warning, Mt Burrell, The Sphinx and later Springbrook coming into view. Some steep sections here challenged the legs, but they seemed to end quickly, and I was descending into the Tweed Valley.

Pausing for food by a waterfall (and another photo I'll never see), moving toward Uki in fading light, back onto familiar roads, Stoker's Siding, another short, sharp climb, skirting Murwillumbah on Cane Road. Before I knew it I was back on the Pilgrim's Road, nearly home. It was along this stretch that disaster struck in a big way. For some reason the Tweed Shire Council have decided this road needs some 'work', and hence there was a patch of dirt where there normally would not be. Ordinarily this wouldn't worry me, but somehow they found a way to make this patch of dirt more slippery than any other (including the track across Tomewin last week in the rain!).

As well as being slippery, there are big lines of gravel sticking up out of the road surface running lengthways on the road, meaning one "mistake" on the slippery surface and you're in trouble. I've since been told that a lot of the locals in this area try to avoid driving there because it's been so bad since the work started. I pulled off two saves before going down the third time around. All this happened in the space of about two kilometres! When I got up I found the E6 headlight was destroyed, and my right knee was covered in blood. I've since discovered that my camera no longer works either.

Stuck out here without a decent headlight, and with a rapidly swelling knee, I found a house with a light on, and asked to use their phone to call someone to get me out of this. These people were very nice to me, not only letting me use their phone, but also bandaging my knee and even letting me try some of their home made soup (which was delicious). So the double-century attempt ended at 284.9km, with no photos to show for what (up until then) had been a memorable day, and possibly as much as $1,500 out of pocket should I decide to replace everything that was damaged.

Suffice to say, I'm not happy.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The exam

Well, it's finally over, the CPA exam was yesterday. Basically I'm glad to see the back of it, some free (relatively speaking) time at last! As far as the exam itself goes, it was harder than I was expecting. Normally with exams the moment itself is considerably less of a problem than the preparation and stress leading up to it. That wasn't the case yesterday. Just finishing was a struggle. I think I did enough to get through it (i.e. pass), but to be honest I'd been hoping for better going in. I'll know the results in a month or so.

I did manage to get a quick 40km in before work this morning. A very pleasant morning. The only problem being that I was silly enough to consider a jacket in temperatures of 15 degrees C! Suffice to say I took it off long before the finish. It's not often I have multiple days off the bike these days, and it did feel a little strange. Nevertheless, this weekend I start making up for lost time.

I see from a comment in a previous post that I've been "tagged". More on that later (i.e. after I go and look up the meaning of it!).

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Bludget

The Australian federal budget has been handed down for another year, and as far as I'm aware, it contained no real surprises. A whole heap of tax cuts aimed at making the wealthy better off, and those are being funded by reducing benefits for disadvantaged members of society such as the disabled and single parents. However, what's most disappointing out of all this is the reaction of the opposition. The Labor Party, which purports to represent the people supposedly at the "lower end" of the scale, seems more interested in arguing over who should get the tax cuts, rather than doing anything to assist those who are truly going to suffer at the hands of this budget. I can only presume they seem to have jumped on the media-driven bandwagon in this country of trying to put down the genuinely disadvantaged members of our society.

Contrary to seemingly popular belief, not everyone who's on unemployment benefits, a disability pension or a single-parent pension is there simply because they don't want to work. Indeed, my own mother used to walk 6km a day to clean hotel rooms for $6/hour to "work", and still had to rely partly on a benefit to raise my sister and I because the "wages" just weren't enough to live on at the time (even then we were still basically living on the poverty line). Heaven help anybody who happens to be in this position right now.

The basic fact of the matter is, there are still not enough jobs in the nation for every adult of working age. While it's all well and good to encourage people to look for work, this is a fact we should never lose sight of. In the case of the disabled and single parents, there are often other hurdles to be overcome such as the blatant discrimination which is still alive and thriving in this country. This is something that can't and won't be simply weeded out with anti-discrimination laws (as they are impossible to police), but rather than acknowledge the above issues and attempt to find solutions within that framework, the cultural way in this country right at the moment seems to be based on simply apportioning blame on whoever is the easiest to blame.

Something else that didn't escape my attention out of this bludget (but did fail to surprise me). Another $56 million to build a training centre somewhere in Europe for more elite athletes, but bugger all for education to assist people who want to become doctors or scientists or other professions that might actually make a positive contribution to the world in which we live. Yet more populist policy no doubt. It's a pity that these professions don't award gold medals, then they might start to get the recognition they deserve.

Still, the saddest part about this whole situation is that none of the above surprised me.


Well, that's the last two days effectively wasted preparing for a CPA exam tomorrow. Well, I did manage a quick 50km ride last night, which reminded me that I'm actually still alive, because I wouldn't have realised it ploughing through all that insipid rubbish. I'll be glad when that's over. I've resolved to actually do something with my apartment when I get some time. At the moment it's in something of a disgraceful state (even allowing for the fact that it's inhabited by a single male), which hardly befits the location or the amount I'm paying to rent it. The way I see it, I've taken around 1,400 pictures of various things on my travels in the last 18 months, yet none of them adorn the walls. I think it's time I fixed that.

Oh yeah, there was one reasonably amusing thing to come out of today, right now there is a guest "speaker" in the Queensland parliament because the regular speaker is in trouble over some overseas travel expenses (slightly old story). It seems the replacement didn't waste any time making an impression, this time with some rather interesting interpretations of "inappropriate language". Apparently the phrase "stuff up" is inappropriate for use in that context (Premier Peter Beattie had some fun later with the media --- "I made a stuff up by using the word 'stuff up' "). If that wasn't bad enough, apparently the term "hypocrisy" is inappropriate, as indeed is the expression "double-standard" (no, I'm not making any of this up).

Only in Queensland.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Flat out

Yesterday I was riding through the Garden of Eden itself, this evening I was fixing a flat tyre outside a carpark in Southport on a street commonly used by rat-running hoons. You can't get a bigger contrast than that (well, except for maybe cleaning assorted rubbish of your drivetrain while listening to the sweet sounds of Sarah Blasko). The sensation of walking out of your office at the end of the day for the ride home and finding a flat tyre is a unique one, and I would say worse than picking one up during the ride itself. It's that feeling that you're finally free, the day is finally done, and now... oh, hang on, it's not over yet.

Then there's the ride home. I never seem to be quite sure that the spare tube is holding air in the immediate aftermath of fixing a flat. I'm always somehow expecting it to start deflating again. Of course, I was feeling this again this evening, magnified by the fact that I had a headwind, but not one strong enough for me to really give it much thought. I kept thinking the 1-2km/h below the morning's speed was due to a slow deflation in the tyre (it wasn't). Then of course, I warmed up, and started pedalling harder because I didn't want to believe that the tyre was deflating (it wasn't). It's a ridiculous situation, but it seems to happen everytime I get a flat tyre.

I do, however, need a new hand pump. This was the first time I've used this one, and it just wasn't up to scratch. Enough inflation to limp home from work, but it won't be nearly sufficent when I have to re-inflate both tyres after taking the bike on a plane later this year.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Garden of Eden

Walk through Eden's Garden and then
Wonder as you go....
-- Midnight Oil.

I awoke this morning to the sound of rain and buffeting wind. I decided to ride anyway, and just wear a spray jacket for some reason. The strength of the wind at dawn (when it's normally at it's weakest) surprised me, but this is where it becomes liberating. When the wind is so strong that attaining a decent average speed is just about impossible, one tends not to focus on such things, and instead concentrates on just enjoying the ride. It was in the vicinity of 50-60km/h on that early stretch down the coast, so I just accepted what it was doing to my speed, and enjoyed the scenery.

With the showers still falling lightly, it was over Bilambil and onto Urliup road, in the mud! This actually wasn't so bad, again, once covered in the mud to the point of no longer caring about it. The scenery was already warming up.

Winding through the rainforest on the dirt, almost totally encased in mud, over the "summit", down into the Tweed Valley briefly, before the climb of Tomewin, where I would follow "the track" along the NSW/Qld border. This promised to be interesting, with the rocky sections wet, and probably slippery. First, however, there was the small matter of a detour that I hadn't taken in three years, Garden of Eden road, a western detour along the southern side of the ridge. This was one of those "why did I wait so long?" rides. The scenery here is stunning. It's a short detour, and a dead end, meaning a return on the same route, but it's definitely worth it.

After the return, and more covering in mud, it was over to Glengarrie "road", the track I'd come here to follow. It really is an entrancing ride, through the dense forest, the occasional mountain views, the old shacks on the mountain that have been here for years and somehow survived the wild weather these parts get occasionally. Today I'm focused on the wildflowers that are blooming up right now, and the shapes being thrown around by the clouds.

The slippery rocks provide some interesting moments early, but I soon find my rhythm here. It's a matter of timing one's bursts, putting in a huge effort on the uphill slippery parts, then relaxing on the in between parts in order to recover for the next huge effort. The top is reached soon, and it's a muddy descent toward Bilambil punctuated by a couple of climbs and some really nastily positioned intersections, before the final screaming descent into Bilambil and back into suburbia. At least I'll have a tailwind for the ride home.

There is a final tale to tell here. After an extremely invigorating ride, I'm pedalling through suburbia pondering the task of somehow cleaning the mud and dirt off the bike, figuring that the occasional light rain that's falling is having no effect on this whatsoever. Then at Burleigh Heads, some 7km from home, the heavens open up and a huge downpour makes it's presence felt. Now most of the mud and dirt has been washed away, and the rain was just beautiful. A fitting end to a memorable morning!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Rain's latest creation

Posts that have appeared both here and on other blogs recently have questioned just why so many consider rain to be "bad weather". Indeed, in my last entry I showed one of the stunningly beautiful creations that was derived purely as a function of rain. This morning I was able to show case some more on the ride out to Currumbin Valley. The amount of rain that appears to have fallen here since Monday night was quite a surprise, given that not a lot had fallen on the coast. However, with scenery like this, I wasn't about to complain.

As I said, this is what rain creates, and this is why rain is good weather.

The only down side is the frustration that I won't be getting a big ride this week, due to the fact that I have a CPA exam on Thursday, and need to undertake final preparations. Perhaps I'll head for Tomewin tomorrow (the southern end) and follow the track along the Border Ridge. That's a ride I haven't done for quite a while (last November actually). I'll just see how things pan out.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

So just where did this come from?

A rarity this morning, only the second time in 2005 that I've felt the need to wear arm-warmers on a ride. It was the pre-dawn circuit of Hinze Dam in the hinterland (the place where I go for quick hills), and it had really been a beautiful morning. The only possible downside had been my ability to arrive everywhere just after it had rained, meaning that I missed the pleasure of riding in the rain, but still managed to get myself covered in the usual rubbish that accumulates on Queensland "roads" at this time. However, it was right at the end of the ride, getting ready for work, that I chanced a glance out the back door and found this:

This truly has to be one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen across that canal (and that includes all those sunsets), not one, but two rainbows! Sometimes I wonder how I can live here. I managed to drag myself away from it for the ride to work, but chancing the occasional glance at the notoriously slow traffic lights I encountered, and it was still there! Even when I got to Southport, right at the end, waiting at an intersection for an extended period, a quick glance over my shoulder, and it was still there! It was nice to be followed around by two rainbows throughout the morning. It added some colour to a normally dull and emotion-less commute.

Now where did they say the pot of gold was?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A nice night for the first projectile of the year

Perhaps a strange title this evening, but it seemed like an apt description of last night's ride. Someone threw a fast food container at me and missed (well, Queenslanders aren't known for their competence). Not normally a noteworthy event on the Gold Coast, except that it was the first one for the year -- in May! It hasn't taken that long since 2001. At first there was a mild disappointment that I allowed it to distract me and failed to get some registration details, but these days I'm too cynical to expect much to come of it. In anycase, I found some hills a bit later on and that always makes me feel better.

I suppose the one good point was that it happened closer to here...

... than to here.

It wasn't long after this that the sun went down, and the wind picked up as I headed down Currumbin Valley in the darkness, in an increasingly deserted atmosphere. IBy now the incident had been completely forgotten as I enjoyed an inspiringly windy evening. Indeed, it came as something of a surprise to encounter someone asking for directions to Murwillumbah. Giving the directions was easy enough, but just what he was expecting to find open down there, I have no idea.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Last night I didn't get very much sleep, thanks largely to my new neighbours (I've since formulated plans to deal with them, which involve Manic Street Preachers CD's and a time early enough to be really inconvenient). I woke up this morning feeling lethargic, tired, all the usual symptoms. Then I got on the bike and headed for Numinbah Valley, almost sleepwalking through suburbia, over Highland Park, into the foothills of the Beechmont Range, past Hinze Dam. All of a sudden everything changed. I felt renewed as the road twisted and turned, climbed and descended spectacularly. This is the road I christened the Wild Colonial Road, largely due to scenery like this:

Then I headed for the southern end of the valley, having second thoughts about wearing red if nothing else, but it wasn't quite a road block.

Beyond this, the southern end of Numinbah Valley, as the road gradually climbs toward the Macpherson Range is one of the most spectacular rides in the country. I've taken so many photos of these mountains it isn't funny anymore.

Having been rejuvenated and inspired by the sheer beauty of this part of the world, I prepared for the screaming descent into New South Wales, and the Tweed Valley. One of these days I'll do this ride in reverse, just for a slightly different perspective.

Dream Job

There was an entry on The Journey recently referring to dream jobs. It got me thinking a little. One question asked was "are you 'working for the man'?" It got me thinking a little about my current situation (something I've thought about a bit recently in anycase). As it stands, I'm very much "working for the man", but I think that may be a blessing as much as a curse.

I've considered other jobs -- someone over at the long distance forum once suggested I should try writing professionally. Well, I do enjoy writing ride reports and other things in this blog when I have the time, but to do it professionally? A number of issues come to mind here. Firstly, does it have enough interest to generate an income? Perhaps not if the counter stats (when it was actually working) were any indication. Then there is the monotony of it. As things currently stand, I can choose whether or not to write on any particular day, if I don't feel like writing, I just don't. I'd hate to have to do it day after day, I suspect some of the inspiration would disappear.

There are also times I've thought about being a cycle-tour guide. Indeed, one of my principle reasons for setting up this page initially was the opportunity to share some of the wonderful places I ride with the world, what could be better than doing that for a living, right? On the other hand, I also think of some of the other things that would go along with such a job, dealing with clashing personalities in the group, with people who turned up totally unprepared and want to blame the "ride leader" for it, trying to cater for different ability levels. I actually experienced some of these things on a smaller scale when organising some rides for Bicycle Gold Coast, and while it was bearable on that scale, to do it day after day, relying on it for a living could cause me to lose my enthusiasm very quickly.

Sometimes I think it's better for a job to just be a job, and leave the leisure activities to be just that. Enjoy them when time permits, and don't over complicate things. After all, beyond simply "making a living", it's the means to enjoy these activities which motivates us to work in the first place.


Am I the only one who always seems to get discounts whenever I visit my LBS? I've just bought some new bike shoes (pedals to follow next week) -- another 10% off. Actually, I get the impression that Macca's trying to sell me a new bike, and to be honest I'm actually thinking about it. I've been doing 200km+ rides on my MTB because I feel as though I need to be able to cope with Queensland "roads", and I don't mind heading down the odd dirt road along the way. The issue here is that my MTB is basically set up with relatively skinny slick tyres anyway, and I'm wondering whether a hybrid couldn't do that job just as well, and be more efficient on the road.

That needs to be weighed up against whether I could get my Schmidt Hub Dynamo to work on a wheel with a slightly different size, and whether I could get it in my spanky airline bag. In anycase, I'm just about filing that into the "after New Zealand" category of my life right now.