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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.

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

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Redneck Espanol
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Treadly and me
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Crowlie
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Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
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Geo's big adventure
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Spinopsys
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Industry Outsider
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Tweed Coast Treadly
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A cyclist's life in Tenerife
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Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
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I'm not drunk enough for this
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BikeHacks
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Mozam's cycling adventures
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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.

2 Comments:

Anonymous MsMittens said...

Oh man. Super suckage. :( I dunno. After the first two near falls I might have started walking my bike (the wuss that I am) until reaching "real" road. Might also want to find out who the construction crew is. Did they not put out warning signs that it might be slippery for two-wheeled vehicles? I know they do that here in Canada, partially for liability but also just for safety. Speed tends to be hugely decreased.

8:36 pm  
Blogger Chris L said...

From all accounts, that road is equally slippery for four-wheeled vehicles right at the moment. From all accounts, they were actually spraying water on it while it was raining!

BTW, there's nothing wrong with wusses. It was Douglas Adams who said "discretion is the better part of valour, and cowardice is the better part of discretion, hence he valiantly hid in the bushes". Or words to that effect. :)

7:42 pm  

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