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, August 30, 2005

Nature's special effects

Regular movie viewers (one of which, I am not) often talk about "special effects" as being high points of films. It seems that sometimes those little tricks they play with the lighting are more highly regarded than the storyline itself. However, sitting through a weak storyline isn't necessary if you can get on a bike with a high-powered headlight (such as an E6) on a misty night. So it happened for me this evening a few miles to the west on a jaunt to Little Nerang Dam. First of all it was the sight of the dense mist being illuminated by the light, but then the mist decided to move in waves, the visual effect of this piece of illumination is probably beyond any description I can provide, but try to imagine these waves of light coming at you while you're riding through a canyon and you get some idea.

Then on the way back, shortly after leaving the canyon and returning to the city, the lights over the horizon were lighting up the clouds in the sky, creating all kinds of weird and wonderful patterns. I would have liked to have gone further, but time constraints intervened. Still, a long night ride isn't far away.

Incidentally, I seem to be finding some form after a shaky start to the month. I should get over 1,800km for the month of August after tomorrow night's ride. In anycase, I now have 14,868km for the year to date, and 104,013 metres of climbing.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Endorphins? Those need to be watched

Another day, another huge southerly wind. Actually, it was a relatively late decision as to what I was going to do today, given that I couldn't quite decide where to ride. In the end I headed up over Springbrook, down into Numinbah Valley, and headed south from there. This may not have been a smart move in some respects. Southerlies are notorious here for funneling between Springbrook and Mt Hobwee and blasting in brutally. Today was no exception, and I was glad to hit the climb at the southern end of the valley, leading up to the Macpherson Range.

After this it was out toward Tyalgum, more climbs, more wind brutality, but a score to settle. The wildflowers out here were beautiful today, and plentiful.

Darting back to Uki, then Stokers Siding, then turning south once again. Here I was really struggling in this wind. It seemed to be only getting stronger, and I needed some relief. It came in the shape of the climb over the Burringbar Range. That got the endorphins going, all of a sudden I felt unstoppable. The trouble was, I was now nearing the lunch stop at the Moo Moo Cafe -- now here's the dilemma. All of a sudden I'm feeling invincible, but I know that if I don't stop for a meal here, I'll pay for it.

The food here is actually surprisingly good, and after a very nice meal, and another layer of sunscreen, I'm off again. This time over to the Tweed Coast, turning north, finally with the wind, but it takes me some time to start turning over the big gears, that's the hangover from the ride against the wind from earlier. Having been in the mountains earlier, I'm now taking in the scent of ocean spray, and some delightful coastal vistas.

This all comes to an end just after the above shot it taken, and now I'm heading in land again, over the Condong Range, down to Murwillumbah (or Cane Road at least), then heading north for the climb over Tomewin, which is probably the most difficult of the day. More gear problems basically force me to attack it, which I do painfully, but eventually making it over the top. After the big finger pointing exercise, and a screaming descent, I'm left to finish of the ride with a tailwind, which is uneventful apart from the fact that I can still pull out a big attack in Palm Beach, and still sprint for the lights just before they change.

All in all a memorable day, the western descent from Springbrook doesn't seem as steep as I remember it (I last did it in 2000), and as brutal as the southerly was, it did keep temperatures down, which is just the way I like it. I have a three-day tour coming up next weekend, with a destination still to be confirmed. I'll just see what I feel like at the time I guess.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Windy morning

I'm not entirely sure where this came from. There have been some southerly winds blowing quite strongly here, but they don't often stay that way for long. It actually looked like dying down on Thursday, but it seems to have come back with renewed vigour in recent days. I'm certainly not complaining, anything that keeps the temperature down is a good thing as far as I'm concerned, and the wind seems to be doing that effectively, but it can make cycling interesting.

So it was this morning as I set off for a quick 68km or so in the hinterland early. Initially against it, and seemingly taking forever, but it's always surprising to discover the sheer scale of the difference it can make to one's average speed, which can seem very ordinary going against the wind, but can often rebound powerfully in the latter stages. In a way, this in itself can make a ride into an interesting chase, seeing a goal on the horizon, and gradually pulling it back, almost a sense of "I'm coming to get you".

We also should not leave out the attitude that one has to take on a long stretch against the wind, and the chance to show off the boring side of one's personality. It's that grim kind of chase that can often be so liberating, and yet the boring side of the personality gradually gives way to the arrogance that stems from closing in on a destination, gradually overcoming the wind, the turning of the tide, and suddenly realising that the wind can do no more to stop you.

Oh yeah, I took some photos from this morning's ride too. Enjoy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The return of the E6

It's taken a while, and some might suggest it's a slightly pointless exercise now that the days are getting longer. One suspects they might be the people who aren't in danger of ending up with skin cancer, but I am digressing slightly.

A quick (45km) test ride this morning confirmed that I am now re-equipped with the best bicycle headlight in the business. The battery powered (and rechargeable) lights did a useful job in the absence of the E6, but they are limited because they can't go all night. The E6 can do that, and the beam of light it puts out is amazing, and best of all, focused on the road ahead. While riding around the hills near Hinze Dam, where there are no street lights, I was wondering just how I survived for three months without it. In anycase, now that it's back, I can start thinking about that imperial double-century before the summer heat kicks in.

As an aside here, something else that I was able to do this morning was trial a new pedalling technique for hill climbing. It's more adjusted to the short steep hills as opposed to a longer climb like a Springbrook or a Mt Wellington. As yet I'm finding it hard to sustain it for long, but the power it generates is out of this world. I was cresting some hills at 5km/h faster than normal this morning, but I can't sustain it for very long at this stage. It's still in the refinement phase, but it's promising.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

... And another

Apparently the French sports daily L'equipe had a slow news day recently, and decided to trot out the old "Lance Armstrong is on drugs" story. More on this here (I won't dignify L'equipe by giving them a direct link on this occasion). I note that in his closing speech at the TdF this year, Lance said that he feels sorry for these people. I will go one further by suggesting that idiots like this provide a valuable psycho-social service by giving the rest of the world someone to look down upon and ridicule.

Considering the sheer number of times this allegation has been published, and considering that it has never been accompanied by an ounce of proof, one wonders why they bother. Surely they realise that the only people who are going to believe it now are the people who wanted to believe it right at the start. On the other hand, that seems to be the way the media generally works these days. I guess it's refreshing to note that Australia isn't the only place this goes on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Finally found a use for it!

Most people would probably react unkindly if they saw the state of my garage. Actually, it's not unsanitary in any respects (well, compared to any other garage), it's just extremely untidy because I don't always get around to throwing things out as quickly as I should. Today I finally profited from that policy, which makes up for some of the time I've lost in the past trying to find things buried under all the clutter.

It has to do with a bicycle tube repair kit that I picked up in Beaudesert around 12 months ago. Actually, most of the contents of that have been used at some point or another -- which is hardly surprising given that I live in the broken glass capital of Australia. However, in ever repair kit, there always seems to be at least one BIG patch. I'm not sure why it always seems to find it's way into these kits, I can't say I've ever picked up a puncture big enough to justify it's use -- even hitting nails at 47km/h doesn't seem to have that effect. And in anycase, getting something that big to stick properly to a tube would be really difficult. Usually when a repair kit only has the BIG patch left, I just throw it out.

However, last night I discovered a nasty rupture on the rear tyre sidewall (it was the FRONT one that flatted twice on Sunday). I contemplated just replacing it, but that tyre probably only has around 5-6,000km on the odometer, so it seemed like something of a waste (I've been known to extract 20,000km from a tyre in the past). Then I saw the BIG patch, still sitting in the repair kit, unopened. Awww, what the heck! I slid it inside the sidewall in a similar way to which I once used a 5 dollar note for an emergency sidewall repair, then smothered it in the remaining glue from that kit, good as gold. It survived the ride to work today, and, dagnabbit, with a long weekend coming up, it might just see some serious kilometers in the coming days.

So after all that, I've saved $50 (or whatever it would have cost) on the tyre with something I was only going to throw out, and actually found a use for the BIG patch. Hmmm, perhaps that's why it's included in the repair kit to begin with.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


In previous posts I've talked about all sorts of people and things getting owned, today it was my turn. Perhaps most gallingly, I could (and indeed should) have prevented it. With the bushfire smoke still covering much of the area immediately to the west of here, I headed south for the Tweed Valley, with the intention of producing the 200km day ride for August. The weather conditions were just about perfect (despite dropping to 5 degrees C early), the air was clear in the NSW side of the Macpherson Range, and I was feeling pretty good.

58.8km into the ride -- "Pssshhh!". Not a problem, in went the spare tube, well, hang on, there could be a problem, I left my repair kit at home. Another flat and I'd be in trouble. Figuring this was unlikely, I pressed on regardless. 85.1km -- "Pssshhhh!". This actually happened in the section between Brays Creek and Uki, probably the prettiest of the entire ride. On a side note, I've heard there is a possibility that area could be flooded in the next 10 years to build a new dam. Surely a better option that destroying a beautiful area is to simply teach people who to conserve and recycle water.

For the moment, however, I was left with more problems. I managed to hitch a ride with a local to Uki, the hardware store (well, that section of the general store) was open, but no repair kits. The only other option I now had was Murwillumbah, 15km north, and I'd probably have to walk the whole damn way. Now the temperature was rising -- 27 degrees C, and so was my temper! It's amazing that for the one person who had assisted me earlier, hundreds of others seemed to have no interest in my situation at all, and several even felt like shouting abuse.

Then an angel came down from heaven (or at least Murwillumbah, from where she'd cycled). She didn't have wings or a halo, but she had the repair kit I needed. The 200km ride wouldn't happen, but at least I'd be able to make it home in a reasonably timely fashion. I patched the two tubes and we said our goodbyes, I headed north, half expecting to get another puncture along the way (incredibly I didn't). Murwillumbah, Urliup (where I paused for food and sunscreen), toward Bilambil, and the last of those beautiful green meadows with those exquisite yellow flowers before heading back into suburbia.

And now I'm left to reflect on a situation that I simply treated too lightly. On a multi-day (or multi-week) tour I would have made absolutely sure I was kitted up to the max, but for some reason I just didn't show this ride the respect it deserved, and it bit me. Even though I finished the day with a respectable 145km, I'm viewing this as a failure. I'm unlikely to get another chance to do a 200km day ride this month, so effectively the challenge to ride a 200km day ride in every month of 2005 is over, and I have failed. I did, however, learn a lesson, and perhaps that is all we can hope for. From now on, I will treat all day rides with the respect they deserve.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A year ago...

Well, a little more than that actually. It was August 11, 2004 when this little blog kicked off. Somehow that milestone got lost in various things, I actually thought it was August 17, then earlier this week I completely forgot about it (that's what happens if I don't ride). It's been a lot of fun to keep this thing going, even if it hasn't exactly had a huge impact on the world (not many blogs do I suppose). In anycase, if anyone clicks on that first entry, perhaps they could give me some feedback on that red typeface -- I'm thinking about reinstating it.

As far as the here and now goes, I finally got a decent ride this morning, a quick 78km through Currumbin Valley/Piggabeen, filled with the joys of Spring. The temperature was near-perfect, the flowers were blooming and filling the air with their scent, and the temperature was near-perfect. The only downside was that I forgot my camera, but I can live without the pictures just once. The virtual "week off" doesn't seem to have done any harm, but I'll be the judge of that in the Tweed Valley tomorrow. A perusal of the old posts reminded me to watch for magpies, especially the crazy one at Uki (if he's there again this year) -- actually there were two of them. I'll make double sure to keep the water bottles stocked up.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Magpie season

WARNING: This creature may look benign, but a vicious killer lurks within!

Alright, that's probably an exaggeration, but this bird does take on slightly aggressive behaviour during this time of year (i.e. spring) in Australia, during the mating season, and anyone who gets too close to a nest is a target. The general idea is to swoop from the air and use their beak as a weapon to inflict damage on the head of their prey. Cyclists seem to be a particular target, but at least we have the option of wearing a helmet to ward off attacks (although some suggest that this actually attracts magpies).

Of course, if I just continue riding and not allow myself to be distracted by the feeling of being hit in the head by a tennis ball, most magpies bounce off harmlessly. I do, however, take note of where the really aggressive ones happen to be, just in case they start going for the ears, or launch a head-on attack (I've only actually seen one do this). Hence, for this weekend, I note that there may be one near Uki in the Tweed Valley, and possibly at Tumbulgum (although I can avoid that via Urliup).

The problem is, due to bushfires, I may have no choice but to ride around the Tweed Valley -- very probably passing through Uki.

Maybe it's just me...

... But I absolutely love riding through heavy traffic -- the heavier the better. There's something unbelievably liberating about passing all those gridlocked cars on my humble bicycle. I get a special kick out of passing a car that looks like the owner has spent a lot of money on the ability to go really really fast, and they're just as stuck as the rest of them. My playground is usually (but not limited to) the Sundale Bridge between Surfers Paradise and Southport -- 5.20pm on weekdays.

After six years riding this route (with a year off when I was working in Coolangatta), most of the regulars on that bridge have meekly accepted my superiority after watching me glide past effortlessly countless times. Occasionally, however, there is someone who is of sufficient mental instability to get upset over something as trivial as being passed by a bicycle (you'd think they'd be used to it by now). Today it was some moron in a ute. Of course, I had anticipated his attempts to cut me off long before he'd decided to do it, and when the time came, I had changed lanes and was passing on the other side in acres of space. By the time he impotently shouted his series of expletives, I was long gone, and already laughing at the pointlessness of his efforts.

Really, if people like this are so jealous of my immunity to traffic, perhaps they should hop on a bike and try it for themselves.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

If you thought that was funny...

Check out this post. I only wish I'd thought of it.

It would seem that last weekend's illness is taking longer to purge than expected. I thought I was OK on Monday, but the ride after work last night made me re-think that position. The only riding I'll be doing for the remainder of this week will be to and from work, as I make sure the recovery is complete. Then watch out this weekend! It's funny the way a person can carry on through some illnesses without being affected in the slightest, but this one seems to have floored me. I'm beginning to think it was more than just a cold -- which is actually a good thing in my view. That would still mean no colds since 2001!

Today I was reminded that fear has no place in urban cycling. On exiting a roundabout in Broadbeach, I was confronted with two lines of gridlocked traffic stretching right up to the next set of lights. Basically I had to exit the roundabout, but passing on the left of the left lane was not an option as it was a typical "Gold Coast" traffic queue (i.e. nobody in the left lane was actually queuing straight), I had to "split" the two lanes*. On doing this, the light changed and the traffic started moving while I was passing. A lot of people would have panicked in this situation, but I just judged the momentum of the acceleration, and picked my spot to change lanes, and did so, all within a split second. He who hesitates is lost, I'm still trying to figure out why people are taught to be afraid of such traffic, when it can be dealt with so easily with rational thought and a moderate amount of skill.

In other news, the bats are still flying south on the evening ride home from work, and I still haven't figured out to where they are migrating.

*NB: I was splitting two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction as opposed to riding contra-flow against the traffic. The latter is yet another dangerous and inefficient practice brought about by fear of traffic.

Liverpool Olympic Bid

We all know that London has been awarded the 2012 Olympics, but did you know that they weren't the only English city to bid? Here is a section of the Liverpool bid that was leaked from the IOC...

OPENING CEREMONY The Olympic flame will be ignited by a petrol bomb thrown into the arena by a native of the Toxteth area of the City, wearing the traditional costume of balaclava and shell suit.


In previous Olympics Liverpool's competitors have not been particularly successful. In order to redress the balance some of the events have been altered slightly to the advantage of the local athletes

100 METRES SPRINT Competitors will have to hold a video recorder and a microwave oven (one under each arm) and on the sound of a starting pistol a police dog will be released 10 metres behind the athletes.

110 METRES HURDLES As above but with added obstacles, i.e. car bonnets, hedges, gardens, fences, walls etc.

HAMMER The competitors will be allowed to make a choice of hammer, (Claw, Sledge etc) the winner will be the one who can cause the most grievous bodily harm to members of the public within their allotted time.

WEIGHTLIFTING From a standing position competitors will have various electronic goods placed in their arms. In order to complete a lift these must then be taken through the shop door and placed in a mate's van.

FENCING Entrants will be asked to dispose of as much stolen jewellery as possible within five minutes.

SHOOTING A series of targets will be set up to establish the competitor's ability over a range of disciplines. The targets to be as follows: -
1 - A Moving Police Van
2 - A Post Office Clerk
3 - A Bank Teller or Securicor Driver
4 - Their next door neighbours youngest child*
NB - This target to be followed by the ritual cry of "I thought he was a “Bizzy" or "He pulled a knife on me".

BOXING Entry to be restricted to husband and wife teams and will take place on every Friday and Saturday night of the games. The husband will be given 15 pints of Stella and the wife will be told not to make him any tea when he gets home. The bout will then commence

CYCLING TIME TRIALS Competitors will be asked to break into the Liverpool University bike shed and take an expensive mountain bike owned by some Mummy's Boy from the country on his first trip away from home. Against the clock

CYCLING PURSUIT As above however this time the break in must occur at Liverpool Police Station and must be witnessed by an officer.

TIME TRIAL The competitor who can waste the most of the court's valuable time before being found guilty will be adjudged the winner

MODERN PENTATHLON Amended to include mugging, breaking and entry, flashing, joyriding and arson.

THE MARATHON A safe route has yet to be decided, but the competitors will be issued with sharp sticks and bags with which to pick up dog shit, crisp packets and used hypodermic syringes on their way round

Q - Why does the Mersey run through Liverpool?
A - Because if it walked it would get mugged.
Therefore for safety reasons this event has been cancelled.

RELAY Each of four competitors to remove an appliance of their choice from a house in Cheshire and get it back to Liverpool using at least four different stolen cars

ARCHERY Each competitor will be given three needles, the winner will be the person who gets nearest to three different main veins in their own body.

DISCUS Will be decided by which contestant can get a hubcap off a car and throw it to his mate the fastest.

In addition the following 'exhibition events' designed at promoting the local culture will be introduced: -

PILLOW EATING The contestant who can get the most pillow in their mouth after their 18 stone cellmate takes a shine to them will be adjudged the winner.

GRAFFITI To be decided on who can spray the most obscenities on a neighbour's wall in five minutes
NB In order not to disadvantage local competitors marks will not be deducted for misspelling.

BASEBALL Each competitor to be given a stainless steel baseball bat. Last person standing wins.

CLOSING CEREMONY In an attempt to capture the timeless beauty of Liverpool, competitors from every nation will be chased across Stanley Park by Knife wielding locals. They will then scatter to the four corners of the City to find their car aerial ripped off, driver side window broken and stereo liberated, with no sign of the lad who charged 32 quid 'to look after their motor'. Their assailants will return to the park providing a riot of colour and sound as their shell suits converge. The Olympic flame (if still in place) will be extinguished by eight Scallys forming a circle and pissing on it.

The closing speech will consist of the words 'Everyone in Liverpool's a natural comedian you know'. No one will laugh. Each visitor will be hugged on exiting the stadium and will return home to find their wallet missing

Monday, August 15, 2005

One way to lose weight

Back at work for the first time since that nasty illness today, my boss comments that I've apparently lost weight. He says I look like I've lost 4-5 pounds. It's quite ironic because I'm not someone who actually tries to lose weight (I'm skinny enough as it is). In anycase, it didn't appear to be helping me too much yesterday, so I'll be keen to put back what I've lost. I'm sure that will come in time. Ironically though, it seems the struggles of yesterday have done some good. Although I wouldn't have believed it on the final push into Beerwah, today I felt as good as I have for some time.

The momentary return of "winter" on the weekend appears to have abated. Riding home from work this evening I was witness to a beautiful evening -- 19 degrees C, with an awesome sea-breeze for company. Even the gridlocked traffic through which I was picking my way didn't seem to take the ocean spray out of the air. Now I'm armed with new motivation, places to explore, and another 6 weeks or so of beautiful weather before the summer heat kicks in.

Life is good.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Getting lost never felt better

This morning's plan was a ride up over Mt Mee, then into the Glasshouse Mountains via a little narrow road from Woodford, north of Brisbane. Everything seemed to start well enough, after negotiating the maze of one-way streets in Fortitude Valley, and onto Samford Road. Some decent ups and downs early too, have I underestimated Brisbane's northern suburbs. I was even sufficiently charitable to offer a few words of encouragement (i.e. "nearly there, mate") to a struggling cyclist that I passed on one of the early climbs. Speaking of Samford Valley, it's a very pleasant area, and there are other roads here that I might one day return to explore further.

Shortly after this it was onto the climb of Mt Mee. I sensed that I wasn't quite at my best today, a result of the illness of the last few days I suspect. In anycase, I found some form on the second half of that climb, up onto the mountain, with sweeping views.

The wind up here made things difficult at times, but it wasn't an insurmountable problem. Again I was tiring earlier than I normally do, and it's not something I'd generally associate with a hilly opening to a ride. In anycase, I persevered to get across the range, through the wind, and down the screaming descent and eventually onto Woodford. Here was a problem: There is no signage in Woodford -- no indication of the road I'd been intending to follow.

Eventually I headed west toward Kilcoy for a couple of km, where I knew there to be an alternative route. After turning off onto that road, I saw another road which might double back to meet the route I'd intended to take. I turned off onto Cove Road, now a narrow farm road which soon turned to dirt, passing through isolated terrain. There was just enough traffic to convince me that this road might go somewhere, but not enough to disturb my peace. This is what these rides are all about, taking a chance, finding new routes, discovery.

Passing through the hamlet of Commissioners Flat, taking another turn onto another farm road, I ended up at Peachester. A village atop a range in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. By now I was really feeling the pinch, experiencing the tiredness that exploration has masked for so long, but still a few km to go before Beerwah, and my train home. This final section was all down hill, a beautiful descent through the forest...

With spectacular views over the Glasshouse Mountains

I have intentions to return to Beerwah/Peachester one day. There are other roads to explore -- the back road to Maleny as well as numerous others. My legs even recovered slightly for the ride home from Nerang Railway Station too. All in all another wonderful day, which offers the promise of more to come in the future.

Baying for some water

Saturday morning I had another change of plans. Getting on the bike early in Brisbane, I decided to head out to Wynnum -- largely because I haven't been there in years, and have a look at Moreton Bay. The ride was through largely uninspiring suburbia, but I eventually made my way out there after some of Brisbane's notoriously long red lights. Personally, I'm beginning to think that Moreton Bay should be re-named Moreton Mudflats.

This was about the only decent view of the water that I got:

Riding in drizzle at 7 degrees C probably isn't the smartest move in the world when trying to recover from a cold, and I compounded that mistake by getting lost on the way back, meaning I ended up spending more time doing it. It was perhaps surprising just how much better I felt after the ride.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Beautiful Secrets

I got a phone call from my landlord today asking whether I was looking to renew the lease on this apartment (it's not due for another 6 weeks or so). With sunsets like this one a regular occurrence, I think I might.

I'm off to Brisbane this weekend, still with plans to literally ride this illness out of existence. At this stage I'm thinking of a trip to the Glasshouse Mountains on Sunday, which still leaves me with a few laps of Mt Coot-tha as a possibility tomorrow morning. We'll see what transpires.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The stupidest people in politics...

... are the ones stupid enough to take it seriously. It's an often used line in the past, which is coming to the fore once again. A few months back we had sacking of the entire Tweed Shire Council in a neighbouring region. Guess what's just arrived on the Gold Coast? Apparently it's exactly the same issue all over again (i.e. elected council "representatives" not actually being as independent as they claimed), and depending on the outcome of the current enquiry, it could result in the same fate for all of GCCC.

Yes, I know I shouldn't be making light of such an issue, but it's hardly surprising. Regular readers of this page will be well aware that in the past I've often questioned some of the decisions they've made in relation to places they've approved developments, particularly ones that flood often. I suppose this provides a plausible explanation, but the real question here is whether any of it is going to change? Sure, I'll be glad if something is uncovered and dealt with appropriately, but are the voters really going to be any wiser when the next council election rolls around?

As I said after the Tweed story, I'll just continue to enjoy the outside world from my bicycle.

Sod it!

Up until yesterday, I had suffered just one "winter" illness in the last seven years. That record is now over, due to a rather annoying cold. I guess it had to happen eventually, but it's still annoying. Unfortunately, I won't get the chance to blast it out of the system in the usual way (i.e. a long and intense ride) until at least the weekend. I suppose I could get lucky, and it might have cleared up by then. In anycase, I have no intention of allowing it to prevent me from doing the things I want to do. EOT.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Here we go again

For some reason (which I haven't quite figured out yet), the home page whenever I access the Internet from work seems to be that ninemsn page, which is usually a complete waste of pixels on any monitor anywhere in the world. However, the big headline they were running there today which I saw for the second or two it took to upload the next page I visited was another whine about fuel prices. They seem to be claiming it's going to hit $1.30/litre. Given that I'm not likely to have any reason to verify this, I suppose I'll have to take their word for it, even if the source is somewhat questionable.

What I want to know is why all the whining? Well, we all know the answer to that one I suppose (i.e. the media just whines about what everyone else is whining about so they can sell newspapers). However, this doesn't explain the obvious contradiction here. I don't need to read their article to know that at least somewhere on the page, someone is going to be calling for government intervention to peg the price increases. Now this is where I have a problem.

Virtually from the time we're born these days, we're constantly being told that capitalism is wonderful, and communism is inherently "bad". I don't seek to take any position on that particular argument here, it's just what we're told. After all, market forces are supposed to take care of everything, supposed to determine the equilibrium price that will provide the greatest benefit to society, those who can't afford it will just have to work harder, which will in turn benefit society, right? Either that, or they'll just have to go without, which means more for everyone else, which also benefits society, right?

So why then, are so many people whining about this? Essentially all that is happening is that market forces (i.e. supply and demand) are simply having a global effect on the world price of crude oil, which is in turn pushing up the price of petrol. We've known it was coming ever since the US started selling it's industrial revolution to countries like China. This, ladies and gentlemen, is just capitalism doing what capitalism does. So basically, the message is this: quit whining. Either start looking for alternatives (something strangely absent from these media whines most of the time), or just pay the costs, and long live capitalism!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

So much for reputations

This morning I woke up not feeling very good. Stomach craps, diarrhea, and possibly one or two other things that I didn't notice. I decided to attempt a ride anyway, simply because I can. The opening was extremely sluggish (I later realised this was largely because that was where the wind was coming from), but I started to feel better when I hit the hills. The 14% climb loomed about 5km before Canungra, but strangely, it just didn't feel that hard today, and before I knew it I was through the town and on my way to the big climb of O'Reilly's.

Actually, this climb isn't so bad, the gradient is fairly easy in the early section (even if it does that for 15km), and while I didn't seem to have the motivation to really attack, I still seemed to be making surprisingly good time. Through the false flat, and into the ancient Antarctic Beech forests at the top, then onto the final assault of the mountain, the last 7km of the climb, where things get a little steeper in parts. Strangely, the steeper it got, the better I felt. The final act of this one is a steep section that the locals refer to as "Big Bertha" -- they claim it's 25%, but I think 15% is more realistic. Either way, once I got sight of the top, I was able to power over it, and crest the summit. After applying sunscreen, it was time for a descent, back into the town of Canungra, where I had a decision to make -- just how would I go about finding the extra miles to make up a century.

To the north loomed Mt Tamborine -- the road to get there was once rated in a magazine as one of the ten hardest climbs in the country -- and I suspect the person who wrote that article wasn't doing it as their "second" climb. After giving it much profound thought (i.e. "Ahh, sod it!), I decided to have a crack at it. The gradient on the road out of Canungra is 9% (according to the signs). Shortly after the Mt Tamborine turn-off, a sign says 12%. Around the next corner, another sign says 14%. That's the way it went for the entire climb (which is, in reality, only a few km long) -- 13%, 12%, the final assault of 14%. Actually, the final assault can be a problem -- it's a single lane section controlled by a set of lights at either end. If one is to do it without stopping, you can't afford to mess around.

I thought about attacking it, but that thought lasted only as long as it took me to feel the lactic acid of two mountains in my legs -- I opted for clinical rather than aggro. I must have made it look easier than it felt -- at least that was the impression I got from two motorcyclists at the other end. Now I could see the top, Mt Tamborine, this climb with the such a vicious reputation, was about to crack. I shifted upwards and finished the job with a traditional victory salute (a solitary finger raised). It was done. After a beautiful lunch on the mountain, and a screaming descent on the other side with sweeping views that lasted forever, I had one final enemy -- Wongawallan. I don't understand this climb, it's not big (only 130m), and it doesn't appear steep, but it always poses a problem. I'm not the only one who says this incidentally.

There's no point riding Wongawallan to survive -- you won't. You must attack, take it as a personal insult that this petty climb at the foot of Mt Tamborine would dare get in your way, it's the only way. By this stage my legs felt like lead, but Wongawallan, too, fell under the on-slaught. A few other foothills to Oxenford, and the edge of suburbia -- now I realised, that for the first time today, I was about to have a tailwind. After laughing in the face of a moron on Hope Island, who took about five years off his life by getting really angry about the sight of a bicycle on the road, before realising that either way, he was only going to go as fast as the rest of the traffic, I returned to Paradise point and charged down the coast.

Around Runaway Bay I had a minor problem -- I felt as though I needed to eat a muesli bar, but I'd eaten way too much on Mt Tamborine and didn't think I could eat one without throwing up. Then I began to realise that to do a ride like this, after the start I'd had, was something I may never do again. I was inspired, I shifted up a gear, and took off. It wasn't long after this that I had the pleasure of picking my way through the traditional Sunday afternoon gridlock on the Gold Coast, passing hundreds, possibly thousands of cars that were stuck (suckers!). I suddenly forgot that I was tired, although after I made it back home, I suddenly remembered again.

Beyond that there is little to tell, but if anyone is still reading this, I'd like to know something. I thought diarrhea was supposed to weaken the sufferer, not suddenly make them stronger and able to go further. How did this happen?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A new beginning?

Well, I made a phone call at 4.50pm yesterday afternoon, and confirmed what I was really expecting, the concert last night was cancelled. Apparently it's going to be re-scheduled for sometime in September, so it's another month or so before I'll get to hear the magical voice of Sarah Blasko in a live setting. One hopes she's feeling better soon regardless. What it meant for me was that instead of spending the night in Brisbane and probably sleeping in, I was waking early on the Gold Coast, and looking for a morning ride. I headed west, found the turn off to Little Nerang Road (which definitely does not go to Little Nerang Dam), up a steep climb, and at a T-intersection, I found a trail heading off into the bush.

Seeing a sign saying that horse riders needed a permit, but no mention of mountain bikes (I was on my hybrid anyway), I took a chance.

What followed was a very intimate experience out in the bush, with literally nobody else around. Surprisingly, most of the trail was more than manageable on the hybrid, although there were times when I wished I'd been riding the MTB. There were wildflowers, hills, eucalypt forests, and perhaps surprisingly, water views!

The big surprise was that this wasn't the trail I'd been thinking it was. I found the other side, about 100 metres higher, which had eventually wound it's way around to the far end of Little Nerang Road, meaning that the finish of the circuit was only about 2km from where it started. There were also some interesting tracks heading off, one toward Hinze Dam which looked quite manageable, if I'd had the inclination to lift my bike over the locked gate. What really excites me about this, however, is that there appear to be quite a network of trails out there to explore. This could occupy a few Saturday mornings in coming months. I really want to find a link between Hinze Dam and Neranwood, if there's a trail covering the length of that journey, it would be a truly inspiring experience.

The final word comes from the return to the start, and taking Range Road to the North. It dead-ended at this body of water, which is simply too large to be an ordinary Hinterland creek. Could this be a distant spur of Hinze Dam/Advancetown Lake? All shall be revealed... Eventually.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Missing out again?

A couple of weeks ago , and indeed in any number of other entries over the last few months, I've been looking forward to seeing Sarah Blasko, which should have been tonight. Unfortunately, judging by what I heard on Triple J, it appears as though that amazing voice may find itself being hindered by a throat infection, which led to her cancelling shows on Wednesday and last night. It would be a shame if it happened again tonight, but understandable as these things take most people a few days recovery. I'll call the venue tonight before leaving here and find out for sure.

However, what I can't understand are some of the negative comments doing the rounds in one or two places about the cancelled shows. I can understand people feeling disappointed about things like this, but can any of the whiners at Coolangatta the other night honestly tell me they've never called in sick and skipped work because they weren't feeling well? And unlike Sarah, I bet these people didn't offer the people paying them (i.e. their boss in this case) a refund. I guess it takes all kinds.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

No Contest

A message arrived in my inbox courtesy of the bike-qld e-mail list earlier today. Apparently Channel 9's A Current Affair (an ironic name if ever I've heard one) was re-running it's periodical Bikes vs cars/war on our streets story, the same one it's run umpteen times since 2000 (and very probably before that). It may or may not have run the story in other states. I replied to the list that rather than watch a repeat on TV, I'd go for a ride instead.

So at 6.30pm (or thereabouts), I jumped on my bike and headed for Hinze Dam, and into a beautiful night. The temperature was near perfect, 16-19 degrees C at various times, there was the delightful scent of wattle in the air, and an exquisite touch of humidity -- not enough to be oppressive, but just to provide some hope that it might rain (it didn't). The view across the water from the dam wall seems different every time, given the way the distant light from the coast seems to reflect of the clouds and illuminate the mountains -- tonight there was no moon, but next week it will be back playing it's tricks on the light out there.

Interestingly, it was surprisingly quiet. Admittedly, suburbia doesn't quite reach out that far yet, but even so, it's still normal to see at least a few cars out there. Yet after the Beechmont turn-off, there was nobody! At least not until Robina. Maybe they were all avidly watching ACA -- or was it the show after by that stage? Either way, I think this compensates for the terrible disappointment of missing out on five minutes of tabloid TV.

Just a comment on a related issue. I passed through the centre of Robina in the middle of late-night shopping on the way home, by now there was a bit of traffic around, but I can't say I noticed any discernable change in driver behaviour as a result of that show. In fact, I was even greeted by someone from a neighbouring apartment when I got home. Perhaps people are smarter than I gave them credit for. Perhaps most people can see that show for what it is after all. Having said that, none of the previous re-runs of that story have ever really influenced behaviour all that much in anycase.

This actually puts Channel 9 in an interesting position. If most people are just treating that show as light entertainment as opposed to "current" affairs, why not take this opportunity to save themselves some money by purging Ray Martin altogether? Actually, while they're at it, they might get rid of Daryl Somers and Kerri-anne Kennerley at the same time. Put them all in a little room somewhere with a camera hooked up to a TV monitor. That way they can all pretend they're still on TV, which I'm sure will keep them happy, and save the rest of us from trying to avoid them.

I've even an idea to help Channel 9 fill the re-run void that would no doubt be left if ACA disappeared altogether. Why not re-hash old weather forecasts from the Today show, dating back to the days when Brian Bury used to do them? They're probably about as pertinent as ACA, offer about the same level of variety from one show to the next, and are probably a damn sight more entertaining! If they did that, I might even set up a video tape to catch it in future!

Dear O Dear

Yesterday was another afternoon commute spent effortlessly picking my way through the gridlock, as I've done so many times in the past. Of course, most of the drivers in the cars I pass manage to accept it without complaint -- well, how would they ever catch me to relay their complaint anyway? Occasionally, however, I get some who can't seem to handle it.

The first yesterday was on the Sundale Bridge. Of course, I had resulted to lane-splitting as I so often do there simply because that's where the space was (irrespective of those bicycle symbols that the council have painted on the left of the left lane for some unaccountable reason). Some guy in a cement truck decided to take exception to it. First he blew that big horn that they have, then he attempted a belated swerve (by which time I was gone), before realising that he couldn't because he was stuck.

Then later someone in Surfers decided to yell something unintelligible out the window as I coasted past. Another act of futility, but it does beg one question. Are the lives of some people so depressing that they are agitated by something as inconsequential as a bicycle on the road? I pity them, but I'm not about to let it interfere with my own peaceful (and lawful) use of the road. If people want to get stressed out by this, their anger is, in the end, only directed at themselves.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bird Noises part Deux

Finally escaping the chaos of the Gold Coast for a couple of hours (I thought this opportunity would never come), onto a dirt road in a deep dark rainforest, with a rather sticky surface which provided it's own little interesting moments. Then turning around, descending, off the sticky surface onto the regular gravel (the council's "road improvements" didn't reach this far yet), hitting a small rock, something from which I normally recover very quickly, but tonight my light illuminates a couple of washouts that remain from the flood of five weeks ago. For a moment I need to concentrate -- then there is a terrible scream...

The moment passes quickly, largely due to the fact that I'm really doing this way too fast, I'm onto the causeway, and back to relative safety, wondering why I was so alarmist, them remembering that the scream didn't actually come from my lips. There it was again, now I realise it was nothing more than a really freaky bird call. It's amazing how the timing of something like this can cause it to take on a completely different perspective. I only wish I had time to do this more often.

Monday, August 01, 2005

This is just ridiculous

I accept that if I live in Queensland, I sometimes have to make "allowances" for certain individuals. However, can someone please tell me exactly why the council saw fit to put a traffic controller (and I use the term loosely) in the middle of the Esplanade in Surfers Paradise this morning so that some ditch digger could back his ute out? There wasn't any construction work going on in the area (for a change), so it's not as though anybody had a deadline (as evidenced by this guy's decision to stop and chat with the "traffic controller" for five minutes). Well, nobody apart from myself -- I was riding to work, and actually had some real work to do.

I'm still waiting for someone to give me a sensible reason as to why I didn't just blast straight through regardless and keep going. This pair were so slow between the ears that I would have just about been at work by the time they'd realised I'd gone. In recent times I've been trying to let my "inner zen" deal with situations like this (more on that later), but it's not always easy when you get morons like this.

Still, I did feel better on the evening ride home, and getting to pick my way through the gridlock on the Sundale Bridge. I must have passed a good couple of million dollars worth of debt out there, and the best part is, it's not even mine!