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

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

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

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

Crazy Guy on a Bike

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

Johns Cycles

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

St Kilda Cycles

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


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

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

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

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

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

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

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

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

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

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

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

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

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

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

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

What can I say? Just read it.

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

More cycling blogs

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Sunday, January 29, 2006


Today I returned to the Tweed Coast for the first time in as long as I can remember. I should probably visit there more often to make the most of what's left -- at the rate urban development is swallowing that place up, it mightn't be worth visiting for much longer. I guess the thing that keeps me away is that it's so damn flat -- 70km into today's ride and I still had less than 200 metres of climbing to show for it. It's not just the ocean views here (which surprisingly only come up occasionally), there are also various mangrove areas that one passes through on a journey south.

After reaching the southern end of the Tweed Coast, I headed inland for the hills around Mullumbimby. This is a beautiful area with some of the most interesting vegetation in the entire country.

Unfortunately, the ride I really wanted -- up to the Crystal Castle, was unavailable due to a road closure. As it was, I found another way to climb the ridge further south, on Possum Shoot Road. This is actually a classic climb -- a narrow winding road with views constantly opening up as height is gained. On the top of the ridge, of course, there are sweeping views on both sides of the road.

After this I simply wound my way back home along the old Pacific Highway across the Burringbar Range, to Murwillumbah and home via Urliup, for a total of 205km. It was actually the first 200km day ride I've had since November, but I really needed to finish it off today. I'm house-sitting next weekend, and starting the New Zealand tour the weekend following. Once again, I went through 6-7 litres of fluids out there, despite the fact that it was an unusually cool January day (only reaching 29 degrees C). I also had some stupid moments on the dirt of Urliup road where my carelessness sent me closer to crashing than I should have been.

I also took what may be my last ride on the narrow winding dirt road near Brunswick Heads known as Stock Route Road. It looks like it's about to be buried under the duplication of the Pacific Highway. Some of it is already gone. Such is life I suppose, but I actually like the old dirt roads, and I'll miss it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Back to Beechmont

Today was the ride that I was meant to do last Sunday, had I not been suffering from some after effects of the dental work. Once again I basically placed no expectations on myself whatsoever regarding setting any speed records on the climbs, I just rode. I have to say that this was a surprisingly liberating feeling (that said, I did own one particular hill just for the sheer hell of it). The ride was a relatively simple climb to Binna Burra at the start of Lamington National Park, then return.

However, the area surrounding Beechmont seemed to have that other worldly feeling about it that it has so often in the past. Perhaps it was because of the unusually low temperatures for the time of year (21 degrees C on the range), perhaps it was just the southerly wind sweeping across the plateau, or perhaps it was just the greenery. Whatever it was, it motivated me to move toward recapturing the detour along southwest road just outside the village, along another spur of the Beechmont Range. I really wondered why I don't take this detour more often. It was 1995 when I first visited this area, and in that time I've only ever taken the detour three times.

I really should make the effort to get out there more often, but how often have I said that in the past?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

As one door opens...

The good news is that this morning I finally managed to get a decent ride. After taking seemingly forever (but closer to five days) to recover from having the tooth pulled out, then snapping a gear cable 9km into yesterday morning's ride, I basically set my mind on riding out to Little Nerang Dam this morning no matter what.

After getting away from the heat and humidity of the coast (I don't think it fell below 25 degrees C at all last night), it was a surprisingly pleasant morning. It had rained overnight, and there were still some remnants of the clouds hanging around the valleys at the foot of Springbrook. Some of the vistas thrown up by the final stretch through the gorge were just beautiful. About the only downside was that I didn't bring the camera for this one.

On the other hand, I have now found that my airline bag that I normally use for flying with my bike isn't going to hold the hybrid I'll be using this year (I've always used MTBs for touring previously). I now have 17 days to come up with another option, but there are a few ideas floating around. With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps the 8am flight from Brisbane (meaning a 6am check-in) wasn't such a great idea after all. I guess like always, I'll just have to come up with a way to deal with it. The irony is that the bag that I now won't be able to use was actually purchased from a company based in Christchurch.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Taking a while...

Well, losing this tooth is proving a little harder to deal with than I thought. There appears to have been something a little greater behind Saturday's "non-event" than just plain idleness. Yesterday I did get up and go for a ride, as intended. However, I only made it as far as Nerang (and the first note-worthy "hill) on 11km, before realising that it was a very bad idea. The ride home was surprisingly difficult, as there was an ever so slight headwind from the South-East. I was actually quite shocked by my own lack of fitness. Things do seem slightly better today (my ride to work was a little quicker), so I guess having a tooth pulled out is harder for the body to deal with than I thought.

In a funny way it did help me to appreciate the fitness level I'll have when I recover from this. It goes along with taking a wrong turn en route to Brisbane last Saturday and going into the centre of Paradise Point (normally I bypass it). Ten years ago Pardise Point seemed like such a long way to ride. Last Saturday it was only by accident that I went there at all -- and generally I'd think nothing of riding there and back before breakfast these days. I suppose it's a reminder of the things we take for granted.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Idleness breeds idleness

I've had a couple of "down" days recently as a consequence of having a tooth taken out yesterday. In truth the pain from the whole episode lasted for a surprisingly short period of time -- and the impact on my wallet wasn't as bad as I was expecting either. The thing that concerns me, however, is just how little I've managed to get done at home over the last couple of days. Considering that I was off work yesterday (Friday), and didn't go for a ride today, there was ample time to get all sorts of things done around my apartment -- yet it just hasn't happened. The same can be said for a couple of things I wanted to do for this blog, or setting up the webpage for my New Zealand bike tour.

In his autobiography, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane alluded to this, finally concluding that "I am never going to flirt with idleness again". From the experience of the last two days, I would suggest that this sounds like sound advice. Why is it that sitting idle seems to serve only to encourage a person to stay idle for longer? Surely the rest time should serve to allow a person to recover and regain their focus, but it just never seems to happen that way. Maybe there's a psychologist out there with a theory or two (even if it's highly unlikely that they'll ever read this page). Either way, I've about had it with idleness for now.

Tomorrow I'm going to go for a ride regardless. The side of my mouth might still be a little sore, but I don't care anymore. I just need to do something.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I've done it again!

Tuesday night means that it's time to set off for my semi-regular night ride through Tallebudgera Valley. This is always a beautiful ride once escaping the lights of the city and the humidity of the coast. Tonight, however, I noticed some "other" lights at the far end of the valley, shimmering in the waters of the bubbling Tallebudgera Creek. Of course, it didn't take long to realise that 1) there are no street lights in the northern bank of that creek, and 2) this can only mean one thing...

I had found another glow worm colony, and it was massive -- thousands of them! There are few (if any) things more inspiring than discovering a glow worm colony. Seriously, tourists pay ridiculous amounts of money for guided "tours" to places like the Natural Arch to see these things, apparently they aren't common in many parts of the world. Yet in the last 18 months, I have discovered three colonies that the tourists (or the overpriced "tour guides) don't know about.

I have to admit I'm not entirely sure this is a "permanent" colony. The glow worms may have only taken over that area after the higher water level in the creek from the recent rains. Nevertheless, I'll be back to check it out again in the near future. I have now been here 11 years, and I'm still making discoveries like this. And to think, I'm supposed to be setting off on a bike tour in another country in 24 1/2 days.

Now back to the real world -- I'm having a wisdom tooth pulled out on Friday. Actually, I'd been feeling a little down about the hole this was going to make in my spending money for the tour, but after what I discovered for free this evening, I realise that life will go on. It's little discoveries like this that make bike tours, or indeed tours of any kind. Consequently, it was important to be reminded of that fact this evening -- even if I have to tighten my belt a little in New Zealand as a result of this (for those not sure what I'm talking about, dentists in Australia at least charge like wounded bulls), there will still be much beauty to take in. Ultimately, the lesson to be learned here can be applied to life in general -- don't sweat the small stuff.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Cadell Road

The first ever imperial century I rode was in December 1999. It involved a circuit through the Tweed Valley in northern NSW -- some of which was on dirt roads. There was a certain point on the dirt that generally represented the half-way point of the ride, where Brays Creek road met Cadell road near Byrill Creek, just outside Mebbin National Park. In truth, Mebbin National Park (not one of Australia's larger or better known ones) was only declared a matter of months before I started riding here. Yet I was always curious about the dirt road that wound it's way through the heart of it.

After Sunday I need to wonder no more. I knew of the southern link on the Murwillumbah-Kyogle road (despite the "No Through Road" signs), just at the foot of the Nightcap Range. It was from here that I approached it. Initially there is some punishing climbing through some farmlands, up to the view at the top of this post. The road here winds up and down through the forest as it enters the national park, before a couple of screaming descents on the dirt -- one of which I had a bee find it's way into the inside of my sunglasses just as I hit 50km/h.

All in all the ride was an extremely rewarding experience, even if it was a little shorter than I expected. Maybe I'll bring a tent and camp there one night, just to give myself some time to explore the surrounding farm roads.

Of course, the thing about this region is the beauty of the ride to the start...

... and on the way back from the discovery. Total ride distance: 183km.

The flowers in the last shot were blooming everywhere on Urliup Road, where I took my usual temporary refuge from the heat on my way home.

Incidentally, the camelbak made it's debut on this ride. Overall I was quite happy with it, but I need to remember to buy some drinks other than water occasionally -- the taste of water gets a bit old after the first seven litres!

Friday, January 13, 2006

When is it too much?

There's an interesting discussion taking place over at bikejournal about when cycling becomes too much of an obsession. The general consensus seems to be that this happens when you start to sacrifice long-term ambitions and goals for it (although one reply quite rightly points out that people never get ridiculed for being obsessed with golf, but cycling somehow makes them "weird" -- which is something I wear as a badge of honour). My question is this: what happens if cycling is your long term goal?

You see, I don't ride specifically to clock huge distances on the bike (as much fun as that is). When I'm not riding for transport, I ride to explore. I ride for what I can discover in the places that my bike can take me. My main objective in life is to see as many places from my bicycle saddle as possible. I live where I do purely because of the sheer number and variety of places to ride. When I consider them to be exhausted, I'll move on.

A few years ago, I was unemployed, uneducated and generally unmotivated. I was living with my mother, collecting unemployment benefits and going to the beach every afternoon. At that stage I simply had no long-term dreams. I made a few half-hearted attempts to find work, but essentially I needed something to motivate me if my life was going to go anywhere. Eventually I helped a local shopkeeper out with some renovations, and got enough cash together to buy a beater bike from a low-end store.

I started riding it (a lot) simply to give myself something else to do, and discovered some beautiful places like Springbrook or Beechmont. Eventually I desired to go further, and that was going to cost money. I wanted to ride in Tasmania, but I couldn't afford the airfares. I got off my backside, got a job, went to university and got a qualification (became the first ever in my family to graduate). Five years later it happened (you should have seen me on the plane on the approach to Hobart airport). Along the way I've been to other places that I hadn't considered (and indeed I didn't even know a good many of them existed). Yet virtually everything I have has come about simply because of the desire to ride, the desire to explore, the desire to discover the world.

I have another trip starting in 29 days, then it's back to putting money away and planning another adventure. Speaking of which, I still have some small things to tidy up. Things to do this weekend:

1. Find where I've put all that cold weather cycling gear that I'm not using, and get it all together. I'm going to be riding in places that get summer snowfalls, I need to be prepared.

2. Decide on the best way to pack my bike for the plane. I'm not sure how much I'll need to disassemble the hybrid to get it into the airline bag, it will be the first time I've flown with it.

3. Dig out all of those important documents like passports and so on. I won't need a visa to travel to NZ, but I still want the other things sorted out.

4. Give that new camelbak it's first trial run. A long ride on Sunday should do it.

I think that will do to begin with, given the busy weekend I'm facing regardless. Yes, they could all probably be put off for another couple of weeks, but I have no intention of waiting that long and panicking late on. That isn't the way I do things.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So where was the camera?

This morning's ride was perfectly set up after I took the Nerang route out of suburbia and into the hills. The short climb to the junction at the Beechmont turnoff, before the ups and downs with the final assault on the Hinze Dam wall set it up perfectly. The water was like glass reflecting the mountains to the south -- just beautiful. There was only one problem: I didn't bother to bring the camera on an early morning ride of just 45km. This morning's view just never happened on this blog. That said, I may have something special tomorrow.

This week I've been close to totally losing my temper with my landlord. The owner of this apartment has a habit of fixing things around the place himself, which is a pain in the backside for two reasons. Firstly, it takes forever to get anything done, and secondly, the job isn't always done properly. If I actually spent more time at home, I'd probably just pay a professional to come and do it. The other downside is that this week I've had this guy snooping around when I've arrived home from work everyday this week -- and people wonder why I went for a ride through the flooded creeks on Tueday night?

Tuesday night's ride was actually quite pleasant. The flooded creeks that I had to cross (two of them -- twice each) were a lovely way to keep cool, at least temporarily, on a very hot night. They served another purpose, along with the badly cut-up dirt road, they effectively meant that traffic had been almost non-existent when I got to the glow worm colony out on Austinville Road. There's nothing quite like seeing those little green lights coming out of the undergrowth on the side of a narrow dirt road in the middle of a dark night. I really should try to get out there more often.

This weekend should finally see the long awaited debut of my camelbak -- having finally located the missing piece that I lost soon after acquiring it. I will now be able to carry 3.25 litres of water at any given time (once my water bottles are taken into account). Of course, in Queensland conditions, it will still need to be re-filled on a regular basis, but at least the need won't be quite so pressing. Another advantage it offers is the ease of drinking fluids when climbing steep hills on dirt roads (i.e Mt Jerusalem).

Finally, I've added a couple of links to the sidebar. I've actually managed to get a journal up of my short bike tours this year, which can be viewed here. Yes, I know it's not very exciting, but I plan to make up for that in New Zealand in 30 days' time. Something more interesting is Jill's blog from Alaska. Some of the shots she takes of the snow covered landscape look totally surreal to this Gold Coast boy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wet century

I suppose it's time to put up the ride report from Sunday. It was actually nice to get a southerly for a change which actually kept the temperatures down (I can't believe it was only 31 degrees!). Pushing into the southerly was hard work the day after Springbrook, as was the initial climb of Tomewin. On the higher slopes the rain started really pouring down, which offered some inspiration for some reason. There's a certain point riding in the rain where you realise you can't get any wetter -- reaching that point is incredibly liberating.

The mountain views were non-existent, or were they? Sometimes it's just a matter of looking a little closer.

The descent was a relatively slow one, largely due to the southerly again, before eventually heading west through Chillingham and Tyalgum. The road here is, of course, quite hilly, which provided it's own challenges.

A far greater challenge was attempting to apply sunscreen in Tyalgum after it started raining again. It may have been a complete waste of time regardless, as the rain started really hammering down after leaving Tyalgum. Unfortunately, it didn't stay for long although it did open up some interesting views on the surrounding mountains.

After reaching Murwillumbah it was just a matter of finding enough riding to make it up to 161km. I detoured out to the smaller climb of the Condong Range, before looping back through the John Hogan rainforest after linking up on the Pilgrims' road. This was all quite pretty, but there was a sense of "done all this before" by now. I guess I need to take my explorations further afield. The tailwind while riding up the coast made for an easy (if uninteresting) ride home. Of course, I still had to negotiate the usual Burleigh Bogans, but such is life.

I'm really at a loss as to where I should ride next weekend. I guess I'll just wait and see.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Touring for life?

Has anybody else given any consideration to heading off for a really long bike tour? As in, simply not coming back? Just imagine literally selling everything you own and just going. I recall seeing a website about a German guy who took off on such a tour 40 years ago, and as far as I know is still touring today.

I have to admit the thought has crossed my mind on more than one or two occasions. I first gave some consideration to the thought two years ago when I was winding my way down Tasmania's west coast. It was in my head again today while riding through the Tweed Valley in the rain*. It crops up every so often. I suppose like everything else there are pros and cons. On the one hand, the freedom and the prospect of seeing more of the world than probably anyone else is extremely appealing.

In truth, there isn't a lot keeping me here now. I've always looked upon my job as simply a means of paying for my riding (I'd still be unemployed without this motivating factor), and if I could find a less time-consuming way to do that all the better. I continually find myself frustrated at the vain pretences of our "civilisation", at having to pretend allegiance to institutions I consider absurd simply because it might offend the wrong person at the wrong time (well, at least in my professional life ).

Then there is the trashy popular culture that I can never quite seem to completely avoid despite my best efforts. Whenever someone turns on a television, I'm always amazed at how the presenters insult and talk down to the viewers, and how the viewers simply accept it (actually you can add radio, newspapers and magazines to that as well). I'm about as single as it's humanly possible to be, and the prospects of that ever changing are somewhere between highly unlikely and impossible pretty much regardless of whether I stay or go. Family and friends? Well to be honest I don't see as much of them as I should now. Maybe a lifestyle change might just allow me the time to rectify that.

When I look at bluntly, there are only two things keeping me here. First of all, I have no idea how I'd make a living on the road (although the living is likely to be much cheaper), or finance my travels. Secondly, I worry that I would eventually reach a point of being unable to do anything other than riding, which would make it difficult to integrate back into society should I ever decide to do so. I have to say that the second thought is becoming less of a concern over time as I draw closer to the point where I simply do not care.

* Ride report from said Tweed Valley ride to follow later (i.e. when I can be arsed).

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Isn't that just totally amazing! A 3,000 year old Antarctic Beech tree at Springbrook, a remnat from the last ice-age (which was just about the last winter Queensland had). They're also called Nothofagus for some reason -- I'm not sure which name is more unpronounceable. I decided to do the climb to Springbrook this morning, hoping desperately that last night's rain would stay. It didn't, but that did nothing to quell the humidity. I was sweating enough to wring out my jersey by the time I reached the summit. The views from there were non-existent in the clouds, but there were some nice shots from other parts of the mountain.

I also took a detour to Austinville just to add a few km to the ride. I really need to do another night ride down there before too much longer. The dirt roads were interesting to negotiate after last night's rain, and there was even a flooded causeway! There are few things I love more than the refreshing splash of water from crossing a flooded stream.

With the cooler southerly wind I'll be looking for more riding tomorrow. It's now the training phase for the New Zealand ride in 35 days' time.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Procrastination and opportunity

Opportunity -- breaking the derailleur on the hybrid 70km from home on Sunday -- forcing me to drag out the MTB and look for a suitable ride.

Procrastination -- I delayed the ride twice during Monday, and even made a slight alteration to the route.


The vegetation on the right of the above shots hides the fact that a fall on that side could be a long way down.

I love strangler figs.

Is that an early nomination for sunset of the year?

It was one of those rides when everything fell into place. The timing, was perfect to catch the sunset on the descent back into suburbia right at the end. The following darkness and the mist rolling in across the Pacific made the final ride home surprisingly pleasant. As for what happened earlier, just take a look at the above shots. No further words needed.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


You know you're addicted to cycling when you can come in from a 195km ride, having broken a front derailleur 70km from the finish, and think only of getting your other bike on the road so you can ride the next day. That's exactly what happened to me today. The MTB is now ready to go, and I have another challenging ride in mind -- probably a return to the Garden of Eden from earlier in the year. I don't expect it to turn on another day like that again, but it should be an interesting ride regardless.

The derailleur wasn't the only problem today. My new camelbak sprang a leak somewhere just before my first ride with it, and had to be abandoned at the last minute. Then I couldn't find my sunglasses -- net result I started 30 minutes later than I'd intended (which means the temperature was 30 minutes hotter). As it happened, I headed to Murwillumbah via the John Hogan rainforest, then took Reserve Creek Road toward the south-east. I love the little climbs on this road that come up time and again -- even if the dirt sections had been hit by some of our recent storms.

Next, of course, was the climb of Cudgera Creek Road -- a series of switchbacks on dirt, eventually leading to Burringbar after the screaming descent.

The really hard part of the ride was the climb of Mt Jerusalem. It's not a massive climb (only 278 metres at the summit), but the gravel here was really loose, and by now it was getting hot (it hit 34 degrees C today), so it was a bit of a push. There are, however, great views to be had from the eastern side of the mountain, prior to the screaming descent into Uki.

It was here that the derailleur decided to die. It didn't help that the last 70km was against the wind (apart from the climbs of Urliup and Bilambil). At least there was a sea breeze on the coast to cool things down, and make it easier to concentrate on evading the idiots. Normally at this time of year, this place is beset by 2 million tourists. This year it appears to be dead quiet, and today was no exception. I think even the tourists are being driven away by the heat this year. In anycase, I want them back! I'm a little tired of dealing with the idiot locals -- the tourists are usually a little saner and a little more competent.

As it was I got home and had the obligatory cold shower after an extremely challenging but very rewarding ride. More to come tomorrow.