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

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

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

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

Crazy Guy on a Bike

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

Johns Cycles

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

St Kilda Cycles

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


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

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

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

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

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

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

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

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

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

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

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

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

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

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

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

What can I say? Just read it.

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

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

I am the king of inclement weather

Seems to be the latest attempt the weather has made to stop me. I rode to work this morning in a torrential downpour. Parts of the Gold Coast received as much as 500mm in 24 hours. However, with a little help from my altimeter (never expected to use it for this), I managed to find a path to work that was relatively free of flooding, and surprisingly free of traffic. Hence, I was able to laugh in the face of the weather. If you don't believe me, check this:

Surprising just how many of the car commuters in the office piked today after seeing the weather. I really didn't expect that to be the case, but then, it seems to be the western outer-lying areas (i.e. away from the coast) close to the foot of the mountains that tend to cop the worst of the flooding. I do hope the damage out there isn't too great, but in the mean time, I'm riding my bike like a kid in a lolly shop right at the moment.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


That's right, rain in the middle of the dry season. Almost unbelievable, but true. It certainly made my ride to work this morning a more pleasant experience. Most of the Gold Coast had rainfall totals of 50-100mm in the 24 hours to 9am this morning. Some places in the hinterland got even more -- Springbrook had 175mm (which has just decided where I'll go to brush up on the bushwalking skills this weekend), Tomewin and Tallebudgera Creek Dam each had 143. However, the unusual part of it is the time of year -- I can't ever recall seeing so much rain in June. The best part is, it's still raining!

I also note that Mark Latham has released a "tell all" book about what went on in the Labor party while he was leader. I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, it all seems a bit cynical now, and looks like a cheap way to boost sales of the book. On the other hand, I really believe there are some things that do need to be said on this subject (particularly the comment about Kim Beazley being a "do nothing" leader). After all, the fact that they've been in opposition for nine years should say something! Personally, I thought they sacrificed whatever Latham could have brought to them by trying to water him down. At the time I thought it was clear that the Latham who became leader, was nothing more that a lame, politically-correct version of the Latham who had been a shadow minister. Now they've gone the whole hog by re-appointing Beazley. As long as they keep doing that, Australian federal politics will have neither a change of government, nor a strong opposition.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Tonight I found my calling. Just lately my mid-week rides (apart from the daily commutes) have been done pre-dawn. However, this evening after riding home from work, I had a feeling that I really should get out for a ride tonight. I'm not sure where it came from, but it was definitely there, and I knew that if I didn't follow it, I would regret it for the rest of the evening. So I got on the bike and pedalled off, heading for Austinville on a wet and windy night.

Initially there seemed to be a lot of tension on the roads. One idiot decided to tailgate me for 2km -- not that this concerned me a great deal. If he wants to sit there all night I'm quite happy to let him do just that, and if it he gets upset or stressed about it, I'm quite happy to help him shorten his life that way, too. There were one or two others, but then, these only followed the group of morons I encountered on the way home from work -- a special team effort in stupidity that one. A car load of morons all trying to shout over the top of each other. Net result -- nobody had a clue what they were on about (I suspect they didn't either).

The ride started when I reached the valley. First of all there were the dense patches of mist, like giant ghosts at times. Then there were the glow worms -- there seemed to be thousands of them out this evening, even more than usual. After cutting through the forest, reaching the clearing (where the clouds overhead somehow managed to cast an entrancing and very slight light overhead), I turned and rode back into one of the most beautiful tropical downpours one could ever want to experience. This was something to totally redefine "pristine", then there was the scent of the rainforest, which took on it's own meaning entirely.

It was then I realised, this ride on this evening had been my calling. In future I'll trust my instincts more often.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

It took me long enough

A great ride today, 203km which was exactly what I needed. I suppose the question to come from this is just why it took me so long to venture out to the Albert River Valley in the first instance. Considering the number of other places I've visited -- some even further afield, the fact that I never got around to this one either as a day ride or a weekend trip defies logic. The early part of the ride revealed blooming wattle on the Canungra Gorge road.

Swiftly followed by fog patches to the west.

However, it was after passing through Laravale, south of Beaudesert, that the ride really started. The wind from the south was absolutely brutal, actually, the mid-ride change from South-west to South-east effectively meant headwinds for about 80% of it today. Out here there is absolutely no protection at all from the wind.

Eventually I turned it aside for long enough to reach the village of Hillview. Here I found some company, a couple of young women who were on a weekend tour, apparently training for cycle-Queensland later in the year. We ended up chatting for the next 35km or so back to Beaudesert (where they showed me the one decent eatery that town has), through some beautiful scenery, not expected in this part of the world.

One of them was more observant than I usually am, she spotted an echidna by the side of the road. I think he was in his defensive pose, head buried, with the spikes on the back positioned in such a way to deter predators. It's actually quite a surprise to see any wildlife at all in Queensland these days.

After a very nice lunch, I was faced with the ride home from Beaudesert into yet another headwind. At least I was able to make this ride reasonably hilly, so as to reduce the impact of the wind a little. Actually I seemed to get stronger as the ride went on, becoming inspired by the fact that the wind had thrown all it had at me, and still hadn't stopped me. In the last 5km or so I went right on the attack, handing out some stick of my own, really wanting to let the wind know that it had picked on the wrong guy.

This is actually the third long ride in recent times that the wind has done a switch half-way through and had two attempts at stopping me. One would think it might have learned it's lesson by now. Enjoy your oVVnage!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

All quiet

No entries for the last few days, largely because things have been pretty quiet here the last few days. I could talk about the pre-dawn ride yesterday, which was very nice, but hardly noteworthy. I am, however, planning an exploration of the Albert River Valley, a bit further afield to the west tomorrow. I don't have this month's 200km ride up yet. Of course, attempting to ride a 200km day ride every month of the year could be a little difficult, as at least one of them will probably require carrying a full touring load in New Zealand this November, but it's a noteworthy goal in anycase.

Speaking of New Zealand in November, I just received an e-mail from someone thinking of joining me on that tour. It could be the first time I've had any extended company on one of these tours -- and ironically, the last person to join me for a section of a tour (in Tasmania back in 2003) was a New Zealander! I'm actually close to confirming the dates of that tour -- October 29 to December 4. I'll need to square that away with work in the near future.

Oh yeah, tomorrow I also plan to clear 11,000km for the year to date, and I just flicked through another journal at crazy guy on a bike which has provided some further ride ideas for coming weekends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Isn't the moon a wonderful thing? It was a chilly pre-dawn ride this morning, a quick 50km or so before work, brightened by a big glow to the west. The full moon was about to set, but at the time I rode for Little Nerang Dam, it created a brilliant landscape. The way it lit up the trees out there was just beautiful, the glow off Little Nerang Creek as I passed it by, the silhouette of Springbrook and the surrounding mountains was truly a sight to behold.

Fast forward 13 hours or so. Now I was riding home from work, Surfers Paradise was it's usual insane self. However, passing Narrowneck, watching the glow of the now rising moon on the South Pacific was again, stunning. Somehow it seemed to outshine all the other rubbish that was going on. If only I'd taken the time this morning to grab my camera on the way out.

In other news:

  • Apparently a Sydney Newspaper has decided to fill in the gaps on a slow news day with another whine about cyclists. I won't dignify them by digging up a link to post here, but I note that this seems to be happening more and more often these days, and I'm almost certain that the reaction of many cycling groups to these stories is the main reason. Usually the response is to flood the mailbox of the media outlet in question with a heap of letters or e-mails trying to correct their thinking. Effectively all we're doing is giving them the attention they crave. I wonder how many editors rub their hands together with glee when this happens, and start plotting the next one. Wouldn't we be better off to simply let the story die and be done with it?

  • Triple J has the Friday F*ckwit. Now Lifecycle brings you the Wednesday Wanker. This week it goes to Gold Coast mobile phone salesman Ron Bakir (a.k.a Crazy Ron). For those who are unaware, the man who makes the most annoying TV ads in the country, also gained a lot of publicity by putting up some money to fund the legal costs of Schapelle Corby, the Gold Coast woman who was accused of smuggling drugs into Bali. Now he apparently wants his money back (funny how he didn't mention that when he was getting the publicity a few weeks back). I was always of the opinion that doing someone a favour was exactly that. In other words, you don't ask for something in return. Perhaps this tosser saw it as a "business transaction" from the outset, well perhaps he should have made that clear from the outset, rather than trying to claim the moral high ground and free publicity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The man in the brown shirt

Regular readers of this blog who are aware of my posting history at places like bikeforums and one or two other sites might be wondering why there have been so few posts about cycling advocacy or related philosophies here in the time I've been keeping this blog. After all, on other sites I've probably authored thousands of posts on these topics in the last five years, and although not as often these days as I once did, I still occasionally wade on on the bike-qld mailing list. The reason for this is simple. There are a number of myths/urban legends which seem to have been accepted as "truth" in these areas -- even by many cycling advocates who really should know better.

I've realised both on internet forums and public meetings that attempting to rail against these is often about as useful as bashing one's head against the proverbial brick wall. Hence I rarely wade into such discussions at any level anymore, unless it's to kill some idle time that I have hanging around. However, I still hold the opinions, and this blog provides a place where I can display them for anyone who's interested. Consequently, I intend to write a series of articles in which I hope to "bust" a few of these myths, and I'll find a permanent place somewhere on this page for a link. I am under no illusions that this will stop people from subscribing to them, but hopefully it will give the more enlightened readers of the world something to think about.
* * * * *

Imagine this situation: A man wearing a brown shirt is walking down the street, he is being heckled and abused, sometimes even threatened by the occasional passer-by. Eventually he reaches his destination and enquires about the heckling. He is told that only a week previously, another man wearing a brown shirt had committed a horrible crime, and consequently given "a bad name" to anyone else who wears a brown shirt. Sound nonsensical? Now change the facts slightly. Suppose the man is riding a bicycle, and he is told that he is being abused because someone else riding a bicycle had run a red light earlier in the day. Now you have a situation that is played out on public roadways in cities and towns all over the country every single day. Or at least, we're told that it happens. Certainly the abuse and heckling of people who ride bicycles on public roads occur, but can we be so sure about the real reason for it?

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard cyclists say that "Cyclists who break the laws on the road are a problem because they give us all a bad name and make things worse for me when I ride". It's this quote that I have issues with. I'm not suggesting or condoning that anybody break the law when cycling, and I generally follow the road rules myself all of the time (not that it stops the abuse of course). However, this quote suggests that cyclists should only follow the law in order to enhance their reputation, offering no mention of following the law because it might just be the right thing to do. Consequently, it must therefore suggest that if breaking the law is going to impress a particular observer present at the time, we should follow that course of action. This is clearly absurd.

The comment is also quite condescending to the motoring public when you think about it, because it suggests that they are unable to distinguish between the cyclists who break the law and those who don't. After all, if they are able to make this distinction, they would surely save their ire for the law breakers exclusively, and those who follow the law would be spared of the heckling. Clearly this isn't the case, otherwise comments such as the above would appear a lot less frequently than they do.

Let's also consider another point: The average cyclist/motorist interaction in traffic lasts for less than three seconds (excluding time spent waiting at red lights, but then, this probably doesn't apply to the law breakers supposedly giving us a bad name). In short, if an individual cyclist is going to change someone's perception of cyclists as a group, they will generally have less than three seconds to reverse a life time of conditioning, including various prejudices gained from their upbringing. This is about as likely as an ant trying to turn around a herd of elephants, it's not going to happen. If you want proof of this, try changing your own fundamental life-long beliefs within a period of three seconds. Imagine how difficult it must be to change the beliefs of someone else in that timeframe, especially using an indirect method such as an exhibition of behaviour. Sure, over the course of a number of years it could happen if they somehow manage to exclude other influences, but not within the next three seconds.

The fact that people still seem content to draw these conclusions raises the big question: if someone you've never met before shouts abuse at you from a distance and then speeds away a second later, how do you know what their reasoning is? How do you know that they're annoyed at what another cyclist did (or whether that cyclist even exists)? For all any of us know, this person may just have a problem with cyclists which is a result of what they were taught during their upbringing. For all we know, this person might just have problems coping with their own life, and simply feels the need bully someone else in an attempt to hide the fact (and let's face it, someone who shouts abuse and then drives off really fast is nothing more than a cowardly bully).

The only real fact we have in this case is that the driver shouting the abuse in a public is guilty of behaviour that is anti-social and illegal in most places (oh the irony!). We can't say what their motivation for doing so is. Speculating on this point is futile, and to be truthful, unnecessary. Those claiming to represent the interests of cyclists who are really interested in eliminating this behaviour should be focusing on the source of the behaviour, rather than what might be a possible cause. In other words, they should be lobbying the government to apply stricter penalties for this behaviour. After all, the "reason" for the behaviour doesn't change the legality of the situation -- after all, aren't we all taught as children that two wrongs don't make a right?

A lot of cyclists seem to have been caught up in the old-fashioned "blame the victim" rubbish, which is be trotted out everytime someone from a minority group is on the receiving end of less than civil behaviour. After all, the media present it so often that even many respected cycling advocates appear to have been caught up in it. It appears to be so widespread that an immediate solution is unlikely, however, there is something that all of us can do. As cyclists we need to call situations on the basis of what we observe, not on what we're told is "logical". Stop looking for excuses for abusive motorists or anyone else who persists with this rubbish and acknowledge it for what it is -- socially unacceptable behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated if the target was anybody else. There is no reason for society to tolerate it in this instance either.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Alright, it's official!

Now I will have to start believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the possibility that Elvis might just be alive and living in Kempsey. The Gold Coast appears to be actually getting a winter this year. Granted, it's only two days old yet, but that's still two more than last year (or the year before that). It wasn't enough that temperatures dropped to freezing yesterday morning, today produced some more low temperatures. Actually, the night itself wasn't overly cold, overcast as it was. However, the day time temperatures simply didn't increase.

Today's ride was a century in the Tweed Valley, a very nice ride incidentally. Most of the day was ridden in temperatures of 11-14 degrees C, with a maximum of 16. In fact, it was only 13 when I got home at 1.40pm. The ride itself was great, opening with the climb of Tomewin.

Followed by the ups and downs through imposing scenery to Tyalgum.

Realising the nature of the day, I decided to capture some different forest types with the pictures in the back country. This is the part of the ride that really is amazing -- the sheer variety of flora species that exist in Mebbin National Park and surrounds.

I detoured after Stokers Siding, wanting a slightly hillier route. It was a little louder that I would have liked -- given the parade of literally hundreds of motorcycles travelling in the opposite direction. It's also worth mentioning the headwind that I was dealing with riding home, it actually got quite strong in the vicinity of Murwillumbah, and again on the coast. Still, I seem to be improving in that area, which is encouraging.

At present I'm still pulling up a little sore from these longer rides as I adjust to the bigger gearing on this bike, but there are definitely signs of improvement here as well. I had been a little demoralised in the short term after the double-century crash from a few weeks ago, but the tour last weekend seems to have fixed that. Today I really felt good, better than on a any century since March.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Where did these come from?

First of all, some quick web surfing the other night revealed that another blog, cfsmtb, is currently linking to this page. Actually, that blog has quite a few interesting cycling tidbits from Melbourne, and would be quite an interesting read for anyone with a spare few minutes. I should probably take this opportunity to ask if there are any other cycling bloggers out there who have linked to this page and want me to reciprocate.

Something else I'm wondering, is who managed to snap this picture of Dubya in this particular pose?

Someone as cynical as myself might suggest that it's entirely appropriate, given one or two polices that have surfaced in that particular part of the world in recent years.

OMG, it's... COLD!

Absolutely unbelievable! After a particularly warm start to "winter" (even by our standards), where nightime temperatures rarely fell below 16 degrees C, we've had a cold snap. It's actually taken a little adjustment, I've started using leg warmers when cycling for the first time this year. Yesterday morning it was quick hills before work and a temperature that dropped to 4 degrees C at one stage. This morning I headed out for a quick 70km or so around Austinville and Little Nerang Dam, and this time the temperature actually dropped to freezing, 0 degrees! I haven't seen frost for a long time:

It was, however, a chance to assess some of the equipment I'll be using in New Zealand later in the year, where it's likely to be as cold, and wet! The Assos jacket gets five and a half stars (incidentally, I read a review for a Sarah Blasko CD that gave a the same number of stars), it's proven to be $250 very well spent and actually kept my chest and upper body generally very warm. The gloves I bought in Melbourne last year did their job adequately (i.e. I could still operate the brakes and shift the gears), but I'd have liked the fingers to be a little warmer. My feet and ears froze, so I need to look at other options there.

What is also impressive about this area is the way other things flourish, even when the temperature drops to unusually low levels. One would think that when things get that cold, tropical plants might struggle to survive -- especially when combined with record low levels of rainfall as we've experienced in recent months. Not so apparently, as these pictures testify:

Incidentally, yesterday's ride put me over 70,000 metres of climbing for 2005. A century (100 miles) of climbing for 2005 is still possible, but I'll need to move things along a bit quicker than I've been doing. Hopefully riding a century tomorrow will help.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

See this is where arrogance works!

Perhaps it's arrogance, perhaps it's just confidence, I really don't know. However, cycling home from work the other night, winding my way through the usual chaos on the streets of the Gold Coast at that time of night, something occurred to me. I treat traffic with almost total disdain these days. Don't get the wrong idea from this statement, I don't run red lights or break the law in any way. It's just that when I'm picking my way through gridlock, even in situations where I have to make multiple lane changes to get the gaps as they appear, I seem to be able to do it instinctively.

I'm not sure where I learned this skill, perhaps it was just something taught by experience over a period of time, but I seem to have mastered it pretty well. These days I seem to have considerably fewer close calls with cars than I once did -- it used to be almost daily, but now they seem to be rare. Or perhaps that's the confidence of experience again, because I also seem to know how to react to those close calls when they do happen, and thus I rarely get flustered by them. I've no reason to believe that Gold Coast drivers have suddenly become more skilled.

There is actually a point to this story: fear of traffic is largely redundant. All fear really does is prevent an individual from performing to their ability in a given situation. By transcending the fear of traffic, I have become much more proficient at riding in traffic because I'm now free to concentrate on dealing with the traffic situation as it presents itself. I am no longer constrained by the fear of what might (but in reality probably won't) happen. Even if it does happen, my mind is free to focus on it when it does, because it's not worrying about all of the other things that didn't happen in that situation.

When I reach this stage, I discover bliss, a form of utopia almost. Cycling is now a stress free experience. Sure, there are surprises along the way, sometimes things happen that I don't expect, but with a clear mind to focus, I can usually see them early -- often spotting them well before they actually happen. This is the key to safe, stress-free cycling, the ability to focus on the task at hand exclusively. Why we're taught to be fearful of traffic I have no idea.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Yes, it's true. This was what came out of last weekend, well, actually it came some time ago, but for some reason I wasn't truly aware of it until Saturday. It all began on a dark and stormy night in November 2001, when I was camping at Mt Barney (one of the best campgrounds in Queensland). Of course, being dark, stormy, but still very warm, I didn't do anything about the water that was coming into my tent during the night, rather I just went back to sleep instead of fixing it. The next morning saw me hauling a very wet (and very heavy) sleeping bag, as well as the rest of my camping equipment up the very steep climb that led to Queen Mary Falls, on what was by then a blisteringly hot day. Needless to say I had some problems.

Almost four years later... By now I have learned and grown since that day. No longer the impoverished student using hauling 15-year-old camping equipment on my tours, I have also ventured forth, riding some of the biggest climbs in the country. In 2002 it was a double-crossing the Grampians in a single day, and a century in the Adelaide Hills. In 2003, it was Mt Wellington and just about everything else in Tasmania (including the dirt climb of Jacob's Ladder), often two or three passes in a day there. In 2004 it was some of the biggest passes in the country, Mt Hotham, Mt Buffalo.

So by June 11 2005, I was ready to return to Queen Mary Falls for the final quest. Just one week after taking a clear four minutes off my previous best time on Springbrook. There was just one problem, this climb is still extremely steep. I probably didn't help my cause by stocking up on food a little too enthusiastically at the farmers' market at Boonah. Even so, this climb still delivered one heck of a shock. The gradient is simply brutal! Not only steep, but everytime it appears as though some relief will come in the shape of a false flat, it kicks again, equally brutally (sometimes even more so). I battled on manfully, but eventually had to pause for a rest, if only to avoid vomiting. I managed to pedal the length of it without walking, so I didn't get owned, but I'm not about to claim victory either.

I have no isolated this climb as the toughest in the entire country. It is this climb which has always been my true nemesis, regardless of what might have been conquered in the meantime. It is this climb where I shall become a man, on the day I truly own it.

But gee, I'd love a crack at it without carrying all that touring gear.


Well those who read the comments to an earlier post will be aware of this, thanks to Gonesh9. Actually, this one is pretty harmless compared to an earlier tagging, so here goes:

1. Total amount of music on computer?
None I think. Oh, wait, there are a couple of Richard Ashcroft tracks that I downloaded a little while ago -- just as soon as I can find them. Probably no more than 20MB.

2. CD you last bought?
I bought Prelusive from Sarah Blasko last week, although that was just a little-known six track EP from a couple of years ago. Oh yeah, the Midnight Oil DVD that I referred to in a previous post includes a CD.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Those to come -- The Shins.

4. 5 songs you often listen to, or which mean a lot to you?
Ask me this question next week, and the results are likely to be different, but for now:

Cinders -- Sarah Blasko. I don't know why, but this is just a beautiful song. The melody, the arrangement and her stunning voice, it's difficult to describe, but it's almost like being transported to another time and another place.

20 Years -- Something for Kate. Actually, you could also consider De ja vu, Man Made Horse or one or two others from them. A lot of their songs really reflect my view on life, on the fact that what I want from life tends to differ from what society says I should want. I tend to bond with this expression.

Impossible -- The Screaming Jets. This is one of the most inspiring songs to listen to if things in your life aren't going as planned.

Dreamworld -- Midnight Oil. Another band that could probably supply all five, but this one in particular. This is a song about the loss of a place, one I can slowly relate to as the urban sprawl of the Gold Coast gradually increases, swallowing up formerly nice areas.

Wind of Change -- Scorpions. Written about political change in Europe in the early '90s, but still seems to have a meaning today.

Well, those are my five. I've had to exclude quite a few others to come up with them, but there they are. Ask me again next week and I may well have five different ones!

Now I'm supposed to chase up five people, but I'm too lazy, and pyramid schemes don't work. Therefore, I'm only chasing up two people. Ms Mittens and Rodney, enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2005

... And I have returned

Yes, I have returned from my search for the lost winter, without finding one. I did, however, find some stunning scenery along the way, and I also found my nemesis. Having previously slaughtered some of the biggest climbs in the country (Mt Hotham, Mt Buffalo, everything in Tasmania, a century in the Adelaide Hills, a double-crossing of the Grampians in a single day etc etc), I can categorically say that none of them come anywhere near the difficulty of the climb to Queen Mary Falls to the west of here. The gradient on that one is Brutal, and that's just the start!

Having said that, I'd love a crack at it without carrying a full touring load, or without getting quite so enthusiastic when it comes to stocking up on fruit at the farmers' market at Boonah. More on that later. I have decided to prepare a full journal over at, rather than try to upload 45 photos here in one hit. I'll post the link to the journal when I get around to preparing it.

Also interesting to note: At some point on Sunday, I managed to ride my 10,000th kilometre of 2005. I think it was somewhere between Legume and Urbenville, but perhaps I'll work it out exactly later on. Right now, here's a sneak preview of what can be expected when I get the full ride report prepared:

Friday, June 10, 2005


Tomorrow is the start of the long-weekend, meaning I'm loading up the camping gear onto my bike and heading for the hills. It's been a funny last couple of days. The last couple of rides I've done have been a little sluggish, although the ride home from work this evening saw me recapture some form. Perhaps my body just instinctively went into taper mode -- we shall see. I was also feeling a little nervous earlier this evening, but not now. Just the act of packing everything that I wanted to take (which takes a surprisingly long time, even though I don't carry much on these trips) caused the excitement to build.

Incidentally, scroll a little way down the page and you'll see that I've added links to a couple of tours I've done in the past. I'll have to find a space for these weekend escapes too. See you all on Monday.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Austinville -- almost like going home again

Apparently police in this part of the world decided to "blitz" speeding and driving drunk this week with the long weekend coming up. The results would probably shock people in many parts of the world, but really won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows the Gold Coast. The speeding "blitz" netted several people travelling in excess of 200km/h. The "blitz" on driving drunk was even scarier -- around 50% of the people they tested were more than double the legal limit, and many of those were too drunk to even stand up. That might seem scary to some people, but as I said, after 10 years on the Gold Coast, it reveals nothing I didn't already know.

The number of idiots on the roads this evening seems to indicate that this "blitz" will have to be a lot longer than a week to have any serious effect, although I seriously believe that any effect of what has been done will largely be negated by the pussified legal system in place in Queensland, which doesn't seem to take offences like these seriously.

So it was with some relief that I made good of a promise of last week and returned to Austinville this evening, in a bid to escape the rat race for a while -- even if only for an hour or so. Tonight it was even better, the rainforest was dotted with little pockets of mist, which looked like ghosts under a headlight, then toward the end of the road the glow worms came out in a brilliant display of colour to welcome me. It almost felt like "coming home".

Well now, just look at that!

First time I check into crazy guy on a bike for ages, and just look who has the featured journal this week! This is fully seven months after actually riding the tour. As if I wasn't already having enough trouble concentrating on life generally before the "in search of the lost winter" tour this weekend. You know, I still haven't decided where I'm going to go after Queen Mary Falls.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The will of God, or a cop out?

Alright, it's time to get a little controversial, albeit hopefully without anybody taking this one too personally. There was a post over on Bike Journal a little while ago referring to peak oil and possible future shortages. Actually, from memory the thread had died a little while ago, but came back last week (as old threads sometimes do), with one or two opinions basically expressing the opinion that "Christ controls history" and attempting to place less emphasis on the effects of our own actions in terms of their effect on the world in which we live. Without wishing to insult anybody's beliefs in this post, to me it all sounded like a bit of a cop out.

Think about this, each of us individually has the power to change the world in which we live every single day, even if it's only in small ways. The way I react to an abusive motorist when cycling home from work can change the world for that moment by determining whether the confrontation escalates into something serious that could drag other people into it (possibly even the police), or whether it ends harmlessly.

I remember walking at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania a couple of years ago, and hearing a call for help from another walker who had managed to get themselves lost. Here I am faced with a choice -- do I go and offer my assistance? Or do I simply leave it to "the will of God" as to whether this person will receive the assistance they require, and walk on? As it happened, I chose the former option, and assisted this person in finding their way. In a sense, I changed the world at that moment. It mightn't have meant much to someone on the other side of the world at the time, but it appeared to mean a lot to the person I helped. Of course, somebody else may have come along 10 minutes later and done the same thing, but on the other hand, perhaps they felt that yet somebody else would come along.

While the examples I give above may seem relatively benign, it should be put into perspective -- for they also represent changes that can be brought about by one individual without a great deal of effort. Just imagine the forces that the human race could harness if it ever collectively decided to change the world. I genuinely believe that if there were enough will to do it, things like famine and war (and yes, even peak oil) could be completely eradicated from the face of the planet within a few days. Of course, it's doubtful whether there is truly enough genuine goodwill in the world to bring this about (despite the "feel good" speeches from certain politicians), but that doesn't suggest to me that people can't deal with this -- merely that many of them simply don't want to.

It's also worth remembering, that if God (whatever we perceive Him to be, or whatever name we use to refer to him) wanted to interfere, he could. If everything we read about God is true, he has the power to obliterate all of the world's problems in a nanosecond. Yet he does not, instead he has sent us to inhabit the world. This suggests to me that we have a purpose, a reason for being. It also suggests to me that we have to deal with the consequences of our actions in this life.

In short, people have choices to make about how they affect this world. I will have to deal with the consequences of my reactions to that hostile motorist that I encounter, the same way that we, as a society, will have to deal with the consequences of our use of natural resources. Neither God, nor any other deity is going to come along and fix things up for us. Oh, and one other thing, how did you change the world today?

The magical music land

I would just like to say that all is well in the world of music at the moment. At the weekend I finally got off my backside and actually bought Midnight Oil's Best of Both Worlds DVD -- which served only to reaffirm my belief that they are simply the best live band ever to exist.

In a completely different vein, but perhaps slightly more befitting of the magical tag, I booked the tickets to go and see the amazingly talented and beautiful Sarah Blasko in Brisbane. The show may not be for another two months, but I was not going to miss out this time under any circumstances.

Short battery life

Yesterday morning I woke up still feeling the effects of the fast climb of Springbrook the previous day, but still wanting more. The venue chosen for the morning ride was Numinbah Valley, a little further west, a slightly longer ride (129km), with plenty of climbing of it's own -- albeit more undulating, up and down that the constant climb of Springbrook. It was a chilly start -- down to 7 degrees C (the coldest morning of the year so far), with the early ups and downs near Advancetown Lake providing nice views of some of the clouds lifting.

After the ups and downs comes a forested section, before the road opens up into Numinbah Valley itself, normally with expansive views of the surrounding mountains, but not so this morning due to the mist across the valley.

It's here where the photo essay ends, due to the short life of the batteries that came with that camera a couple of weeks ago. Normally I can get quite good battery life through not using the LCD -- often over 100 photos without even seeing the "low battery" warning. To run out this early in the piece offers cause for concern, although perhaps one should not expect too much from batteries that were sitting on a store shelf for an indeterminate period of time. Perhaps I'll get better life out of the rechargeables that I bought. I hope so. It might be just as well it went now -- given that I have a tour coming up next weekend.

The rest of the ride was still beautiful, as it always is down there. The 10km leading up to the NSW border through that Valley are some of the most spectacular in the entire country, and the John Hogan rainforest on the return is always a special experience. I was able to pull out a surprisingly strong finish too -- keeping the ride under five hours -- with four seconds to spare.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I'll never understand this

There are several aspects of the "car culture" that I just don't understand, but this one stands out above all of the others. This morning saw me head to Springbrook for a quick climb up the big mountain of the area.

What staggered me was on my arrival at the top, someone in a car had just driven up the mountain. However, on their arrival at the summit, they then turned around and went straight back to wherever it is they came from, without even getting out for long enough to take in the sights of this part of Springbrook. What seems strange to me about this, is that somebody would go to all this trouble, then pass up the opportunity of a quick stroll through world-heritage listed rainforest...

... to take in one of the best views in the entire country. I'm also wondering what all those clouds were doing "down there" when they're supposed to be in the sky.

I shouldn't complain. I'm not sure I like being disturbed when taking in sights like this.

P.S. This morning I took four minutes off my previous best time riding up the mountain.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Flu vaccinations

There's some scuttlebut going around the office I work in that they're planning to get a doctor in and give everyone 'flu vaccinations for the winter. Apparently it's supposed to "eliminate" sick days. Perhaps we'll all get lucky, being in Queensland, there's no guarantee (not even a probability) that winter will get here at all. Seriously, what is the point? Are people really taking that many sick days? And are that many of them really due to the 'flu? I know that the total number of sick days I've had over the last three years is still in single figures, and the majority of those were down to food poisoning and/or giardia. In fact, I don't think I've had a "winter" illness since 1998.

I've made it clear that I'm not at all interested in this. As far as I'm concerned, if I want a vaccination against anything in particular, I'll obtain it from a medical professional of my own choice. I'll be opting out, but I'm still wondering just how this idea came about. Considering the cost of getting a doctor to come along and do this, and considering that there's on guarantee that people will be taking any fewer sick days, is it likely to be worth it?

Something like this happening now suddenly puts a whole new perspective on just where the current changes to industrial relations
laws could lead. In the meantime, I'll look after my health in my own way thank you.