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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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Everything old is new again

Well, today's the day of the move. I'm not sure how I'll go continuing the update on this blog as it appears I could be without home Internet Access for a couple of weeks. So much for requesting an on-line transfer at

It's quite amazing how much the crap (sorry, "clutter") builds up after a bit over four years at the same address. It's also amazing how difficult it is to throw out "enough". I've thrown out a lot of crap already, but apparently not nearly enough to make the move a relatively simple one. I guess I'll need another spring clean and throw out session in the near future, and to make these events a little more regular. The major problem seems to be what I'll call the "everything old is new again" syndrome.

This basically involves an impulse purchase you make at some point, then put the item away and basically never look at it again. Two years later comes the time to move, and the item is discovered in a drawer or a closet somewhere, hidden away and never used. Upon finding this thing, there is a sense of excitement along the lines of "oh, I remember this, where has this been" or something similar. All of a sudden, the useless item, the one you haven't looked at in two years, suddenly has a sense of excitement about it and becomes a little more difficult to throw out. This has happened to me several times throughout this process over the last couple of weeks, and it's a problem when you're trying to get things done in a hurry, with no time to ask yourself "Do I really need this?".

I think the only real solution is to have more regular clean out/throw out sessions. Of course, finding time in our day to day lives to do this is another matter. Especially considering that it isn't exactly an exciting way to spend a weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A ride, finally!

The lack of recent updates shows how much free time I've had lately -- so perhaps understandably I was glad to have a free day yesterday to get on the bike and just disappear for a few hours. I headed south, the usual start through Bilambil and the John Hogan Rainforest...

Then over the Burringbar range to the south, joining the Repentence circuit at Mullumbimby. The first of the day's challenges started here, my usual source of water was unavailable. As it was, I just had to make it last until Dunoon, good job I had the spare water bottle. For some reason I really suffered badly on the hills after Mullumbimby. Maybe it was just the southerly wind, or the lack of recent long rides, or something, but I felt really exhausted after 112km or so. In fact, it was even a struggle to undo the Camelbak to load it up with the "spare" water.

After this I seemed to recover, probably just by sheer will power, or perhaps it was the inspiring scenery...

Whatever it was, I found enough to get over the remaining hills into Nimbin, where a new record was set. It actually took all of 45 seconds for someone to offer me some grass (normally it's less than 30). Given the pass I had to climb to get out of town, grass was the last thing I needed here.

Of course, the scenery doesn't stop through here, over the pass of Mt Burrell, with The Sphinx nearby...

.. and the other surprises...

This was followed by the now customary return through Urliup and Bilambil and eventually home in the darkness. Along the way I got to hear a couple having a rather loud domestic disagreement in Murwillumbah, that's always entertaining for the few seconds it takes me to pass. Apart from that, most of the ride was exceptionally friendly. Something especially noticeable was the number of kids waving to me along the way, in fact, I'd say it was the friendliest people have been since I returned from New Zealand.

The final tally was 262km, and 3,237 metres of climbing. It was a day that was all about getting away from the pressures of the last couple of weeks, I returned tired but with a much more positive outlook on the world -- for a while...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The power source -- GONE! (temporarily)

I knew this was coming, but it's no easier to take. For the last four years or so, my riding has been powered by a secret power source, the world's biggest and most exotic passionfruit vine. For four years I nurtured it, tended it, and was rewarded with a fruit supply so plentiful that not even I could eat all of them. I still have vivid memories of filling panniers with passionfruit for long weekend bike tours, of pitching my tent out in the bush and watching the sun go down while eating passionfruit.

So it was with great sadness that I had to bring forward the annual pruning by a few months as a result of my upcoming move. It's a serious shame to have to cut it back and lose so much fruit -- there were literally thousands of flowers on it (and what pretty flowers they are). This was the peak of the season, and after Queensland's first decent wet season in five years, this year was set to be a bumper crop.

Most of the fruit that was there was not yet ripe. However, all is not lost. I still grabbed a couple of hundred or so, and brought them inside. The climate here is warm enough that I should be able to ripen most of them (even if it has to be indoors). Those that I can't ripen will go into a pot at my new pad, to start the process all over again. I'm not losing the vine.

Incidentally, I managed to pass a passionfruit-powered milestone over the weekend. The climbing "odometer" on my altimeter now reads 322km, or 200 miles. That's the tally since May 2004. 200 miles in under two years. The only ride I had was a quick exploration of Wongawallan in the hinterland, in the foothills of Mt Tamborine. It was quite pleasant in it's own way, but these days 70km rides leave me feeling a little unsatisfied. Still, that was all I had time for, so I can't really complain I guess. The scenery was quite nice, too.

I'll be looking for something really big and nasty on Anzac Day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dear O dear

I made a rare venture into the area of actually watching television news the other night. I can't say it was an enlightening experience, unless a reminder that nothing has changed is considered "enlightenment". The Easter road toll got a decent mention. One particular story featured the familiar sight of a driver exceeding the speed limit by 70km/h, losing control, running off the road this time killing an elderly pedestrian. Evidently a police officer from Townsville (where this particular incident occurred) had had enough. He found a camera and launched into a rant about a situation that is "unfair on the police, unfair on ambulances" etc etc. The frustration of the police officer at this situation is understandable, but was is less understandable was the closing sentence from the reporter -- "No charges have been laid".

Excuse me? Well, in truth it's not all that surprising given the precedent in cases like this, but I would have thought that in this situation, there are plenty of reasons for the police to throw the book at the offender, and don't forget these are the same police who are apparently "fed up" with the situation. Why aren't they charging this guy? Do they just find it easier to whine in front of the nearest camera? Or are they just afraid that the courts won't do anything about it when it reaches that stage. Either way, I would have thought by now that someone would have realised that politely asking drivers in Queensland to comply with the law just isn't working, and that sterner action is clearly required.

Incidentally, the Easter road toll is apparently one higher than last year, but the Queensland Premier and Transport Minister are patting themselves on the back because apparently fewer people were caught speeding and drink driving this year, and that's supposed to mean that everyone is behaving better. Of course, it could also just be a reflection of the fact that nobody is bothering to enforce the law.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I have to admit, I feel a little frustrated right now. While seemingly every other blog I read raved about wonderful things they did over Easter, I spent most of it clearing out accumulated clutter from my apartment. That isn't to say it was totally unproductive, just that I wasn't doing my planned bike tour on the Granite Belt. I did, however, manage to get a couple of very nice rides in (albeit shorter and more localised than I would have liked).

~ Friday
Friday morning was an all too brief escape to Springbrook in the hinterland. I "officially" ended up with 91km, but in truth I probably did a little more -- during the early part of the ride my computer was still set for the wheel diameter of the MTB that I used briefly last week. The noticeable thing on the early part of this ride was the fact that we are now firmly entrenched in wildflower season.

Springbrook seems to be one of those places where you'll always find something, even if the thought of returning to the rat race afterward is a little disappointing. Somehow I never quite manage to spend as much time up there as I would like. That said, it didn't stop me going mad with the camera (again).

~ Sunday
To think that I didn't even ride at all on Saturday, and Sunday very nearly became a non-event. After a late phone call the evening before, I agreed to meet Martin for a ride through Currumbin Valley. Of course, it wasn't long (i.e. after the "hill" at West Burleigh) that he was egging me on to throw in Tallebudgera Valley as well. Those who know me will realise that I was never going to be able to resist that challenge. In the end, heading for Tallebudgera Valley wasn't such a bad idea.

There are a couple of ways that one can link Tallebudgera and Currumbin Valleys. My personal favourite is to ride over the small climb of Ducats road, and the screaming descent of Trees Road before linking up on connection road.

This ride turned out to be particularly pleasant. I think it may just be the overcast conditions and the relief they provide from the relentless heat of this part of the world. For once we did without the "needles in the skin" feeling that comes with the Queensland sun. Of course, on a ride like this, the scenery helps too.

~ Monday
I found a few free hours last night, so I decided on the old Glow worm ride. The main reason for this was to take one final night ride on Urliup Road before a big chunk of the dirt road is sealed. I was having some problems with my light generator early on, that I managed to trace to a really loose front wheel. I'd had the headset on my bike replaced last week, and evidently the mechanics at the LBS didn't tighten everything as they should have. Admittedly, this is the first such mistake they've made in the eight years I've been using them, but it's something I'll check more closely in future just the same.

Riding down a narrow, winding, dirt road through a rainforest on a dark, moonless night is an almost spiritual experience. In truth, any night riding is pretty special, but somewhere like Urliup really seems to heighten the experience. There is a kind of liberating isolation that just doesn't seem to come with any other activity in life. Unfortunately, it had to end eventually, but there was some compensation in the form of a stunning moonrise that was seen shortly after I returned to the seal near Bilambil.

For some reason I seemed to fade quite badly in the closing stages of that ride. Perhaps it's just a function of the seemingly unrelenting stress of the last couple of weeks -- although there now appears to be some light at the end of that particular tunnel. If that light is half as bright as my E6, there will be plenty of reason to rejoice.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Repetitive content

The lack of updates recently is primarily brought about by my need to spend time sorting through the clutter in my apartment in preparation for my move. As expected, there has been a lot of unnecessary clutter (probably more than I would have liked). Among the things I've found have been a variety of old cycling magazines from various points in my cycling life. There were a number of copies of Bicycling Australia, a huge number of Australian Cyclist magazines, and a few others. The one thing they all had in common was the sheer number of articles that seem to be "repeated" periodically.

Some of them were "training" articles, some of them were "advocacy" articles, some of them were "race previews", and a slightly eclectic collection of "editorials". However, as I was sorting through them, I often had to check the date on the front cover of the magazine to make sure I wasn't actually reading the same magazine I'd just finished looking at. Such was the similarity of many of the "stories". I suppose the editors of the respective magazines will justify their repetitive stories by pointing out that there is generally a subscriber "life cycle" to these magazines, and that the average subscriber will probably rescind their subscription after two years and move on to something else, having already acquired their "how to" knowledge from experience.

That being the case, one wonders why these people don't just put their information on a webpage somewhere and save the trees (not to mention the printing costs). After all, they could still run their advertising on the website (which would seem to be their main source of revenue, given the sheer number of ads in the magazines). So why do we have these articles being "recycled" every so often, on to paper which costs the publisher money to print on, and which the reader is probably only going to throw out eventually? The answer would seem to be that people tend to pay more credence to information if they have to pay $7.95 for it, than if it was free -- even if it is the same information they paid $7.95 for six months ago. Throw in a subscription, and the information now costs $3.95 per issue, which suddenly seems like a "great deal", but is, in fact, still considerably more expensive than simply looking up the information on a website.

Then of course, in two years' time, there are a whole new "generation" of subscribers to take up the "great offer", and the process begins all over again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

One for the road

It's now officially confirmed that I'll be moving out of my apartment. I found another one a couple of km south, in a better neighbourhood and an even more convenient location. The rent is probably a little higher than would have been ideal, but I can still afford it and live reasonably comfortably, so I decided to take it. Unfortunately, it won't offer sunsets like the one pictured above, that I took last week from my current home. All in all, I'm glad to have that particular situation resolved.

Unfortunately, solving one problem seems to mean that another will come along. I broke the headset on my bike on this morning's ride. Well, in truth I probably broke it in Christchurch back in February, but it actually appeared to be holding together throughout the 4,000km+ that I've ridden since that time. Hopefully I can get it repaired reasonably quickly, and perhaps it's another lesson in which repairs I should or shouldn't attempt on my own. I ended up dragging out the old MTB to take me to work this morning, which it did reliably and surprisingly quickly. I might just reward it with a ride to the Garden of Eden over the weekend.

Monday, April 10, 2006

That's three

They say these things happen in threes. In the three weeks since I got back from NZ, I've had people in cars threatening to kill me (which happens often enough here not to bother me, but did on that occasion for some reason), I've lost the apartment I've been in for four years (and with it the best passionfruit vine in the world), but worst of all, yesterday I discovered that my favourite dirt road in the entire world, Urliup Road, is now about to be sealed.

I've had some really good times on that road over the years. It was a place that had an entirely different character to pretty much anywhere else in the immediate vicinity of this city and was consequently my preferred route for returning from those long southern rides into northern NSW. I suppose it will still pass through pleasant surroundings (for now), but it just won't be the same if it's paved -- especially as the boy racers on the motor bikes will probably start using it now.

Considering that these things are supposed happen in threes, does this mean I can actually expect something to go right now? The really bizarre part is that it's now two months since I owned up to listening to Alex Lloyd* in my blog -- and I still haven't been beaten up yet!

There was actually some good news to come from the weekend, in the shape of a ride through the Tweed Valley on my new and improvised Cadell Road route. 183km of relative bliss.

* Note: I only listen to his earlier material from when he was actually good.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Round 741

The latest shot has been fired in the eternal pissing contest that is the Gold Coast. Last year in Surfers Paradise the Q1 building, which claimed to be the tallest residential building in the world, was officially opened. Of course, the units were sold at some ridiculous inflated price simply on the basis of being the "tallest in the world", at least until someone else comes along and builds a bigger one. Well, it now looks as though someone might in the near future.

A story was floating around in the local media this week that the Gold Coast City Council have already approved another residential building in Sufferer's Parasite -- 10 storeys higher than the Q1. Now they're just looking for a developer to put the money up. Normally these two steps occur in the opposite order, but then, this is the Gold Coast after all. That probably means it's fairly certain that it won't be long until someone does come along and put the money up to build it, and then the circus begins all over again.

These days I'm looking at things like this with a detached amusement. Watching people scurry around spending ridiculous amounts of money, and the fact that they aren't smart enough to realise that the major selling point (i.e. "tallest building in the world") is going to be negated within a couple of years of their expenditure, is actually quite entertaining if you can detach yourself from it sufficiently. And the building is probably a damn sight more attractive than the outer-urban trailer parks going in at places like Nerang and Mudgeeraba.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The difference is 18 degrees

18 Degrees was what it took to recapture my love of riding in the rain yesterday. Regular readers of this page (both of you) will be aware of my love of riding in the rain. It has actually reached the point where I hope for rain everytime I get on the bike, considering it preferable to when it's not raining. Incredibly, for all the wonderful rain rides I've had, it only took a few rides in freezing rain to give me some trepidation about it.

That love relationship was sorely tested in
New Zealand* , or more specifically, Invercargill. So leaving aside the 90km/h winds that accompanied the rain in the city that claims to be the southern-most in the world (but isn't), what's the difference? 18 degrees. By a staggering coincidence (or an evil conspiracy if you're that way inclined), the temperature difference between Gold Coast rain yesterday and Invercargill rain on March 1 was 18 degrees Celcius (24 C here and 6 C over there). The difference between the latitudes of those respective cities is also 18 degrees (Invercargill being 46 degrees South, the Gold Coast being 28).

Yes, these are some of the crazy things I think of when I ride. Most of them I forget immediately, but occasionally something completely pointless will stick in my mind for a while. About the only other thing I remember about yesterday afternoon's downpour on the way home from work is that it was wonderful. Now I can look forward to it raining again.

* Note: I haven't added a link to my NZ tour to the sidebar yet because I'm still uploading pictures to it. There are currently 268 pictures uploaded from the first three weeks or so. The rest will follow when I find some time.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I think this is called a "rant"

Well, after all that it now appears that my Easter Granite Belt bike tour will have to wait for another year. This time around I'll be busy moving house instead. After yet more crap from my landlord, I have finally decided that I have had enough.

This all started back in February before I jetted off to New Zealand for five weeks. I put in a call to the agent to ensure that there was nothing that required my attention before I went away. I was told that everything was fine, and assured that the next "inspection" would be in April some time. That was OK, until about two days after my return, when I received a phone call at work saying "we're doing an inspection today, but we've lost the key". Apart from the glorious admission of their own incompetence, I really appreciated the notice on that one.

Now after the inspection has been done, I've been told that they object to what I keep in my garage (funny, it hasn't been a problem at all in the previous four years I've been there). I've also been told my rent was going up by $30/week because -- wait for it -- apparently the way I keep the apartment is going to cause it to deteriorate. Funny, this wasn't a sufficient problem over the four years I've been there for them to send out a tradesperson to fix anything even once. Consequently, I think I'm going to tell them to f*ck off, and move elsewhere.

The timing on this could have been better. If I'd known I was going to be walking back into this sort of crap, I might have spent my money a little less liberally in New Zealand. While I'm in no immediate financial danger at present, it would have been nice to have had the chance to save a little bit as a "deposit" which might have allowed me to purchase something in the city which officially has the third least affordable housing in the world. Renting seems to be a complete pain in the arse at the best of times, and having a landlord like this only makes it worse.

I suppose I should look at the positives. Firstly, it's a chance to get rid of a lot of the crap that I've accumulated over some indeterminate period of time, since I'll almost certainly be looking for a smaller place anyway. Secondly, there's a lesson in this somewhere. I guess it says that when entering into a transaction of this kind, try to get a feel for the people you're dealing with as well as the actual deal itself. Officially two and a half weeks back in town today, and I've just about had enough of the idiots already.

Monday, April 03, 2006

When day turns to night

Last night I decided to take a twilight/evening ride up to Binna Burra in the hinterland. It was the first time I'd done this ride at night (although I've done it in daylight enough times to do it blindfolded now). The sunset actually came a little earlier than I'd anticipated, but I wasn't enjoying the heat very much either, so that isn't necessarily a complaint. It was almost a surreal experience climbing the early section to Lower Beechmont in the almost pink light of the evening sky.

The darkness came quickly after the top of that first section, although the faint light in the western sky (pictured at the top) remained for quite a while. After that it was just me and a billion stars in the night sky. There's something about really clearing away from the city -- totally, and opening up across the plateau at the top among the stars. It's a unique feeling of being totally alive that just can't be achieved anywhere else. This eventually gave way to the lumpy hills and the unique night bird calls of Lamington National Park, and the final assault on Mt Roberts that represents the summit.

After this followed the screaming descent of Mt Roberts, before heading back the way I came to Lower Beechmont and beyond. The lights of the Gold Coast in the distance were a beacon and a threat all at once. On the one hand, it was quite entrancing to look at them from above, but I wasn't looking forward to descending to the rat race again.

As it was, I took a detour to Hinze Dam on the way home, if only to add some extra distance and push the climbing above 1,500 metres. The only mistake here was returning to Nerang via the not-so-old Gilston ride that Martin and I used to do regularly a couple of years ago. Even by Gold Coast standards, the expansion of suburbia into this area is ridiculous. I wouldn't mind so much if the area wasn't so damn sanitised. It seems like they can't leave a single tree standing in their quest to make the urbanites feel at home in "the country". As it turns out, this area has lost all it's character and charm. Even a lot of the ups and downs in the road have been flattened. I have some great memories from when this stretch was a little wilder, but memories they will have to remain now.

Fortunately, the trend is basically downhill, so I'm back in the other suburbia and closer to home a little quicker, and surprisingly tired at the end of it. So Binna Burra now joins Numibah Valley and the Tweed Valley as regular day rides that I have now done at night. Maybe I'll add Springbrook to the list next.

Upper Ormeauning

I'm not saying where that picture is taken from, because nobody would believe me if I did. On Saturday morning Martin and I decided to go for a century ride on relatively short notice, heading through the relatively flat stretch through Ormeau and Yatala (with only one noteworthy climb at Upper Ormeau), before doubling back on Stanmore Road to Mt Tamborine, and returning over Wongawallan. That was the plan. I actually "slowed" us a little by forgetting my repair kit early, but it didn't really slow us at all, because the time I spent going back to retrieve it would have just been expended sitting at a red light at the Bermuda Street/Hooker Boulevard intersection. In fact, I think I timed it pretty well, arriving just as that particular light was turning green.

In a strange way, I was actually enjoying the early stretch to Upper Ormeau. Flat rides aren't normally my thing, but I guess I hadn't been in that area for a while. I certainly hadn't taken the detour to Upper Ormeau for a while -- and that's a situation I'll have to rectify more often. We still have a dirt road behind a quarry to explore up there at some point. The contrast between the flat plains and the vegetation up here is actually quite startling.

The only other interesting thing that happened on the flat stretch was me wondering where a dirt track off the western M1 service road went. One of the local yokels (a kid on a trail bike) had an answer -- albeit not one that fired any great enthusiasm in either myself or Martin. We declined to ride it this time on the grounds that Martin was on a roadbike, when the yokel looked at Martin and said "bit of a f*ckin' pussy eh mate?". I'm not entirely sure he realised that he was talking to someone who has actually placed highly in 24 hour MTB races on much rougher terrain than that particular track, but that didn't stop us having a laugh about it later on.

It felt good to return to Mt Tamborine. It was the first time I've climbed the northern approach of it in over a year, so I decided to make a statement. I was actually surprised at how good I felt, and how easily the mountain seemed to crumble. I felt so good, I decided to double back after cresting the summit and decided to ride the last bit of the climb again.

There was one more bit of drama. On Wongawallan I took off again, largely because I was feeling so good on the climbs. On the descent I copped a bug in my right eye at 65km/h. I held it together calmly until I had cleared the descent and reached the flat, where I could wash it out. After doing this I noticed that Martin hadn't caught up to me. This was a concern given that he usually catches me on the descents. Eventually I turned back and saw him free-wheeling down the slopes, before he reached the flat bit and told me to "spot the missing bit". He'd snapped a chain on the climb. He didn't have a chain-breaker, and I realised at that moment that mine was still packed away with the things I took to New Zealand. I suppose that gives us something to moan about.

As it was, Martin was able to phone someone to come and get him, while I just completed the relatively flat ride home through Oxenford and Paradise Point. The fact that I had a tailwind meant that I didn't bother stopping at any of the bakeries. I regretted that a little when I reached Broadbeach, but with just 3km to go, it didn't concern me unduly. 163km in the end, with 1,495 metres of climbing. More importantly, I know there's one item I won't be thinking of lightly next time.