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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Monday, May 29, 2006

A day of realisations

Sunday turned out to be a memorable ride for a lot of reasons. The Glasshouse mountains were spectacular as always.

I discovered a new route from Peachester to Maleny over Bald Knob (this may be an even prettier climb than Mt Lindesay).

There was the brutal climb over Obi Obi to a great view near Mapleton Falls (not a lot of water over the falls, but who cares?).

There was a spectacular descent on dirt through a beautiful forest into the Obi Obi Gorge to begin with.

There was even a new, out of the way spot which I might just turn into a lunch stop next time I'm in the area.

All that was "missing" were a few extra kilometres to turn the ride into a "century (that would be 100 miles as opposed to 100km). However, as I was standing on the Blackall Range watching the awesome light show provided by an approaching thunderstorm, I came to a realisation. I have been obsessing over mileage too much in recent times. To be frank, who really cares if a ride like this is a century or not? Is it really that important? Sure, I'll probably lose three places in the "contest" over at, but so what? It's the scenery that will bring me back here next time around, not the mileage. It's the scenery that I will remember from this ride, the distance is something that I will have to look up should I ever think it is relevant in any way (unlikely).

With that, I descended to Nambour just in time for the 2.30pm train home, feeling rather satisfied.


So I was nursing a minor injury in the closing stages of last week. Nothing major, but not overly conducive to the planned ride around the notoriously hilly Sunshine Coast Hinterland on Sunday. As things happened, I found myself in Brisbane on Saturday morning, looking for a reasonably pleasant warm-up ride, but with nothing planned. I followed instinct, from Fortitude Valley through the city, and eventually onto Milton Road.

By now I realised that instinct was pushing me toward Mt Coot-tha, so when I approached to do the obligatory "lap" I was prepared. The first lap was a bit ragged, as it always seems to be. However, I seemed to get stronger as I headed for the summit. Then there was a second lap, which seemed to feel easier this time around. The leg was holding up. Eventually I moved onto a third lap, even that revealed no problems. I did, however, suddenly remember that I hadn't eaten breakfast before heading out. Consequently I called it a ride there, and went back contented.

I had followed my instinct, and I had found the cure. Cycle therapy at it's best.

Friday, May 26, 2006


What did I say about things falling apart in my last post? Wednesday I had my first "cold" ride since returning from New Zealand. On a pre-dawn jaunt to Austinville in the Hinterland, the temperature dropped to 3 degrees C. The fact that I didn't find it particularly discomforting was probably testament to the fact that I dressed appropriately for it. I was actually glad to get that ride, largely because the 400km brevet I'm planning in July is likely to have temperatures of that level at some point (possibly colder).

Then on Wednesday evening, on a relatively flat and easy stretch of my ride home from work, with what passes for a "tailwind" in these parts no less, I felt a stabbing pain in one of my quads, and it stopped working. It's been sore for a couple of days, although it seems much better today. I'm expecting it to be right for Sunday's adventure in the Glasshouse Mountains north of Brisbane, but I'll wait and see on that one. From the information I've been able to glean so far, it may be a result of the lack of stretching that I do after rides. Perhaps some of my traffic light sprints could be a possible cause, although why it went where it did is beyond me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


One of the things that riding for transportational purposes gives you is an intimate knowledge of local traffic conditions, including really fine details such as exactly when traffic lights are going to change. There is a major intersection that I have to negotiate on my ride to work each day. Here I have to make a right turn (remembering that Australians drive on the left -- so it means crossing four lanes of traffic) in the middle of the increasingly ironically named "rush hour". It is controlled by traffic lights. There is a relatively clear run free of traffic lights before it (i.e. only one set of lights which is usually green for me), but if you cop red at the set of lights at the major intersection, chances are you'll be there for a while.

Consequently, I've perfected the tactic of judging when they're going to change, and starting my sprint for the green quite early -- up to a kilometre before hitting the set of lights (even before they've actually turned green). This was what I did this morning. A quick glance up at the traffic conditions at the intersection in the distance, a quick glance over my shoulder to look for a gap, then I started the sprint. It involved doing it for a kilometre (against the wind, not that there was much of it) while carrying the commute and judging the gap in the traffic. I got to the intersection just as it was turning amber, meaning that I made it with about three seconds to spare.

Often I just do these things without giving them a second thought, as I've ridden that route so many times, day after day. This morning, however, I rode away thinking "you know, that was pretty bloody good, that".

Now, having just made this post, watch it all fall apart on me tomorrow!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Not yet skinned

Yesterday was skin cancer check day. The actual procedure was quite simple and painless. As it turned out I don't have any moles worth worrying about... yet! Given the number of times I've been sunburned in the past, I'd say it's probably just a matter of time. I took the opportunity to do some exploring on the way home from the skin cancer clinic along the backstreets of Mermaid Beach and Miami in the unlikely event that some gem might turn up. It didn't, but the experience was an interesting one regardless. West of the Gold Coast highway, those suburbs seem to be something of an eclectic mix of old fibro surf shacks, middle class brick houses, townhouses and extravagant mansions. I think over time the latter two categories will completely supplant the former, much as they've largely done on the eastern side of the highway.

I think I'm going to sign up for the 400km brevet on July 15. Starting in Brisbane, but climbing to the Darling Downs, and I think going as far as Pittsworth, I think it will be an interesting challenge.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why the double-standard?

Having finally had Internet access connected to my new apartment, I have spent probably a little more time than usual browsing Internet message boards over the last week or so, something I'm becoming increasingly convinced serves no major purpose save for entertainment. Nothing particularly unusual has jumped out of course, but a couple of posts have stuck in my mind, along with an incident that took place on my ride home from work on Friday.

First of all, someone on one forum was struck by an object thrown from a car while they were out riding. They apparently suffered no major injuries apart from some nasty bruising. Evidently they were happy enough to laugh off the incident as a case of "kids just being kids". As an aside, it makes me wonder if I should call a lawyer and sue my parents. As a kid I was always taught that with privileges come responsibility, and that if I abused my privileges I could have them revoked. I hadn't realised that I could always just use the "I'm just being a kid" excuse as a way to justify my behaviour. Just think of the fun I could have had, had I not had such responsible parents!

On another forum someone was trotting out the old "cyclists invite driver aggression by misbehaving" line, when the topic was simply one of lawfully and assertively claiming a lane when traffic conditions demanded such an action. Finally, yesterday afternoon, two drivers tried to run me off the road while I was riding along the shoulder -- lawful and not even "claiming the lane"! I didn't bother notifying the police because I had the nous to evade them reasonably easily, and the police generally won't act unless someone is actually killed (and even then it's usually just an "inquiry" that almost invariably finds against the victim) .

All of this got me thinking... Why is it that a motorist breaking the law in traffic -- even assaulting someone, is laughed off as being relatively inconsequential, but yet a cyclist doing any of those things is somehow considered to be the worst act in the world? I see people in all transportational conveyances breaking various laws everyday, but nobody seems to care if it's a cyclist. If a police officer issues a ticket to a cyclist for running a red light, he's looked upon as a "brave officer cracking down on the scofflaws", yet if the same officer issues a ticket to a motorist for the same offence, it's considered to be an act of "revenue raising", and we're somehow supposed to have compassion for the driver who must have been in a terrible hurry. Well I'm sometimes in a hurry when I ride to work too, but I'm still expected to wait at traffic lights like a good little boy.

Take the first incident referred to above, which was apparently laughed off. Let's reverse the roles and pretend for a moment that I had been throwing things at a car from my bicycle seat or even doing so while standing on the side of the road. Would the act have been laughed off with such impunity? Somehow I doubt it, after all, just look at previous violent police responses to perfectly peaceful critical mass rides when no property was damaged at all. I'd hate to see what they'd do if someone actually vandalised a car or threatened a driver.

The second post is even more disconcerting. It basically suggests that if a cyclist runs a red light or breaks the law in any other way, that a motorist or anyone else is justified in taking the law into their own hands. This is clearly vigilante justice at it's least civilised, but again, lets reverse the roles and assume that it was a cyclist or a pedestrian taking matters into their own hands by assaulting a driver who was running a red light or speeding. Would the act now be considered justified? Would we have large groups of people rushing about saying "he deserved it, he was breaking the law"? Again, I doubt it. After all, commercial radio stations routinely announce speed camera locations in their traffic reports, which really serves no purpose apart from giving a speeding motorist the opportunity to get away with it.

With this post I am not intending to condone anybody breaking the law or threatening anybody else. I am merely seeking an explanation as to why such blatantly inconsistent attitudes exist not only within law enforcement, but indeed throughout the rest of society. Either traffic laws are important or they aren't. If breaking the law in a car is "forgivable", then it's equally forgivable if I do so on my bicycle. Simply demonising a small minority of road users for acts that every other road user perpetrates is not going to suddenly restore law and order to public roadways. Allowing one group to get away with blatant illegalities at the same time is just ludicrous.

I suspect, however, that what we're observing here is more to do with a difference between actual reasons and stated reasons. In simple terms, the dislike a small minority of motorists have for cyclists has nothing to do with the acts of the cyclist (which are remarkably similar to their own), but more to do with their own bigotry. When the same people talk about "scofflaws" or "restoring order to our roads", they're just looking for someone to blame for their own frustrations in traffic (which are more often than not brought about by their own inability to cope with the situation). Perhaps they should look at resolving their own internal issues before trying to blame or criticise anyone else. And finally, if they're so sure that cyclists get such a free ride from law enforcement and everyone else, they can always hop on a bike themselves and try it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Too busy doing it?

Here's an interesting little scenario arising from bike touring. It is possible not to fully appreciate the wonder (scenic or otherwise) of a particular place simply because there are just so many other places to visit and so many other things to do?

Recently I spent a lot of time uploading a lot of pictures from my New Zealand bike tour -- 514 in all. During the tour itself there are certain moments that stand out, be it the beauty of a particular place, or perhaps a challenge provided by something that happened. Along the way there are other places, other things I see. Some of them grab my attention for a moment, perhaps it's long enough to take a picture (which doesn't take very long once you get practiced), then I'm on my way again.

Sometime after the adventure is over, when I'm uploading the pictures either to a blog or a journal, I pause for a second. Now I don't have the excitement of "what's down the road", just the task of sorting through hundreds of pictures, selecting the ones I like the most, and uploading them. Now that little landscape, flower or whatever, that moment that was forgotten in the overall excitement of the trip at the time, suddenly comes into it's own. While I was riding from one glacier to the next on the west coast, perhaps I didn't pay enough attention to that view of a nameless glacial river cutting a valley between the mountains -- now it's here, revealed in all it's glory. There is nothing else to compete with it now, yet it's only after all the dust has settled that I fully appreciate it.

There is a whole catalogue of these experiences in my touring history. I still recall getting the shots from Victoria in 2002 developed (I was still using a film camera then), and the staff at the place where they were printed commenting on the spectacular Mushroom rock in the Grampians. At the time I'd thought it interesting, but, well, I had to deal with FIVE flats that day on a double-crossing of the range. It was only later that I fully realised just how remarkable it really was.

This isn't intended to dwell on a "negative" aspect of cycle touring. In fact, I think it's wonderful that many of these experiences can live on long after the journey is complete, and in a way I'm glad to have the chance to reflect on them afterward. However, maybe there's also a lesson here for general life as well. Perhaps we should take time out from our busy lives occasionally to pause and wonder at the world around us, at what's going on around us. I know this is easier said that done, but perhaps it's worth it, just for a moment.

Monday, May 15, 2006


The thing that always attracts me to a place like Mt Jerusalem, is that the name "Mt Jerusalem" has a certain ring to it, that someone who has ridden across Mt Jerusalem has made some kind of epic journey. In truth, Saturday's ride, with 197km (including 50km or so on dirt) and over 2,000 metres of climbing might be considered epic by some (which is fine by me). However, what surprised me was the constrasts in the early part of the ride. In just a few kilometres I was able to go from this...

... to this.

That was before the ride really started. The two key climbs (both on dirt roads) are the back way across the Burringbar Range, and Mt Jerusalem itself. The second one is steep enough to make the dirt section a real challenge, but it was on the first where disaster almost struck. I was marvelling at the scenery from the switchbacks, and almost crashed on a loose patch of gravel. I suppose it would have only been a low speed crash as I was climbing at the time, and might have even served as a wake-up call.

As it was, I was feeling great on the climb of Mt Jerusalem later, even if the gravel was presenting a challenge. The changing forest types crossing the range from east to west are always inspiring, as are the views. I also noticed a few potential spots for "stealth" camping that I might use on future tours in the area.

After the usual screaming technical descent (albeit not worrying me as much as usual this time), I just had to hitch a ride on a tailwind to go home. The only real downside was that I didn't spend longer out there. I really should have done, just made a whole day out of it. It was just about a perfect day for general existence. But then, I suppose there will be other days. "Winter" is on it's way at last!

Taken a while

It seems to have taken forever, but then, I didn't ask to have to move during the course of the process.

Yes, I finally have the pictures from New Zealand uploaded to my journal. You can view them here. Be warned, however, that there are 514 of them in total. There were another 106 that I didn't upload in the end. I'll look to get a ride report from Saturday's epic Mt Jerusalem ride up soon too, if time constraints ever allow.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I have decided that there haven't been enough ride pictures on my recent entries to this blog. Consequently, here are some I prepared in New Zealand...

Hopefully I'll get the tour journal completed this weekend, if time constraints allow.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I have never needed a ride like I needed to go to Springbrook last night. Some of the other crap going on in my life seems to have taken a toll, I was more lethargic over the weekend than at any other time in the recent past. Once I got on the bike just after the sun went down I started to feel better. I hadn't actually planned on doing Springbrook, but there was a calling of some kind, something instinctive telling me that I should, that this was the night.

It felt like I was really struggling on the early part of the climb, then I realised I was using the wrong gear. After making the minor change, it all seemed to fall into place. Up until last night I knew of three glow worm colonies that nobody else did. I doubled that tally in the space of 30 minutes. Those little green lights shining through the forest were my inspiration later on when the gradient ramped up on Lyrebird Ridge. Yes, my ride time was crap, my average speed was crap, but I felt revitalised when I reached the summit.

The pool of cold air in the Eastern side of the escarpment on the way down made me feel like I was back in New Zealand. Then the rejuvenation was complete. The ride home was basically all down hill. There is something unmistakably special about descending a mountain at night -- the eerie sound of the rushing wind, the very slight but exquisite chill on the air, the constant negotiating of the switchbacks, it all combines to make an awesome experience.

I knew I'd find the answers at Springbrook, I always do. About the only regret is that it's almost 11 years since the first time I rode up that mountain. It's taken me this long to get around to doing it at night!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hit and run

The big story on the local e-mail list here has been the death of a cyclist in a hit and run last weekend. I've been getting most of the information on this one in a relatively second-hand fashion as I was moving house last weekend. Most of the media coverage seems to have honed in on the emotional side of things, without detailing much about the facts, however, it would appear as though the cyclist was hit from behind at 5.30 am on Bermuda Street (a Gold Coast arterial with a huge shoulder), and that the driver basically left him to die in the gutter. My understanding (again, based on largely second hand information) is that the cyclist probably would have survived the collision had the driver stopped for long enough to at least call an ambulance (he apparently died on the way to the hospital after another passer by called an ambulance some indeterminate period of time later). The saddest part about this is that after 11 years in this city, I don't find this to be at all surprising.

There are a couple of things the media haven't told us, perhaps the most notable given the time of day would be whether or not the cyclist in question was using lights in the conditions. While it doesn't excuse the actions of the driver in this situation one bit, it might provide some insight into how this collision occurred. Conversely, nobody seems to be asking why the driver felt the need to be using the shoulder of such a road (assuming that's where the collision took place), given that the traffic would have been relatively light at that time of morning. In fact, given the high number of these incidents that take place on quiet roads/at quiet times when there are few (if any) witnesses available, one should also question the liberal use of the word "accident" in the media reports.

It will be interesting to see what sort of charge the legal system comes up with for the driver in this incident. Leaving aside the cause of the original collision for a moment, the question of why he left someone to literally die in the gutter is one that needs to be asked. Given the circumstances and the illegality of "leaving the scene of an accident", and also considering that running away is not something someone does by "accident", I should think the charge would merit Manslaughter at the very least, and even possibly Murder. The cynic in me, who has watched a number of previous cases of this kind unfold, suggests that perhaps the most likely outcome will be a slap-on-the-wrist fine, and an order to undergo "counseling" usually consisting of being told "you must feel terrible about it, you poor thing." A slap-on-the-wrist for the driver will be a slap-in-the-face for justice.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"What if you don't feel like riding to work?"

I'm sure we've all heard this (or variations thereof) at one point or other from co-workers commenting on the practice of riding to work on a bicycle. "What do you do on days you don't feel like riding to work?". Often it's well-intentioned (or at least motivated only by curiousity). However, it's only recently occurred to me what a pointless question this really is. The truth of the matter is, I never feel like riding to work. That's right, never.

Allow me to elaborate a little, once the ride itself starts I don't particularly dislike it, in fact, I do draw a little satisfaction from passing hundreds of gridlocked cars with impunity. However, there are many, many places that I'd much prefer to be riding. Why would I choose to ride through suburbia en route to somewhere as boring as Bundall, if I had the option of hammering out 262km in the scenic Byron Hinterland? Why would I choose it over a scenic tour? The answer is, of course, that I wouldn't, and I suspect very few of those reading this post would.

In the end, I never feel like riding to work, simply because there are other places I'd rather be. I do it simply because I won't get paid to ride to those other places, and consequently I have to go to work if I want a living of any kind. I get up and ride to work everyday simply because, all factors considered, it's the best available transport option for getting to and from work. Try explaining this to people... hmmm, perhaps I'll just reply with "the same thing you do when you don't feel like driving to work".