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

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

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

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

Crazy Guy on a Bike

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

Johns Cycles

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

St Kilda Cycles

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


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

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

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

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

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

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

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

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

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

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

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

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

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

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

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

What can I say? Just read it.

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

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An over reaction?

Over the last couple of weeks I've spent more time following the World Cup than the "other" news. However, stories such as this tragedy from Perth can still catch my attention occasionally. I also had the displeasure of being in a supermarket this morning which had some commercial radio station from somewhere going on with their usual "What is the world coming to?" rubbish (completely overlooking the fact that they themselves have often advocated similar "action" against virtually anyone they don't like). After their usual self-righteous spiel, they trotted out the old "Don't let your children leave the house" line.

Isn't this just a bit of an over reaction here? Granted, the story in question does involve someone committing a particularly gruesome act against a child, but what I don't understand is why something that happens relatively rarely can generate such fear in a community, yet things that happen far more often, and claim far more lives do not. I don't have any statistics at hand to confirm this, but for some reason, when a child is killed in a car crash on the way to school, it never seems to generate this sort of reaction. The media (and indeed the readers who puppet them) seem oblivious to this particular risk. Indeed, having seen the way parents drive when in the vicinity of schools, I'd say a goodly number of them are responsible for making it more of a problem than it needs to be.

Everyday most of us buy food from supermarkets which has been prepared and packaged by people we are unlikely to ever meet, and we show them complete faith by eating this food and feeding it to our children -- yet apparently we can't trust any of them to be left alone for a moment with a child.

More to the point, has anyone considered the possible adverse effects of this paranoia? I recall an incident on a Gold Coast beach a little while ago where a lifesaver who had just saved a child from drowning and resuscitated them was threatened with physical violence from a paranoid parent. Then there is the whole issue of child obesity which largely stems from people refusing to let a child leave the house, and instead letting the computer or TV raise them.

Granted, there are places where it's silly to leave a child unattended, and a busy shopping centre is probably one of them. However, it's equally silly to let such paranoia rule our lives from rare, isolated incidents. Surely it's better to simply learn what can be learned from this particular situation, and move on.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Computerless coasting

Some weekend this was turning into. First of all, my headlight problems still remain with me. It seems the problem wasn't with the generator as I had thought, but with the light itself. This means I'll probably be another $140 out of pocket to replace it, as I'll need to do because my other lights don't give me the burn time that I require. I spent most of Saturday trying to figure out if there were any other options, but with three weeks before the big ride, I don't think there are any.

So it was on Sunday that I finally got on the bike for a decent ride. My plan to ride back-to-back centuries may have been in tatters, but I could still put on a few kilometres that day. 1.8km in the next problem struck -- my cycle-computer died. I had a look at it to see if anything could be done, but it appears the front wire is seriously frayed. Fortunately, it's the same brand (Cat-Eye) as the computers on my other bikes, so I might be able to "mix and match" when I get some free time.

It left me computerless for this ride, however. I decided to just go and do the ride anyway, figuring that I knew what the approximate distance would be, having ridden the route before. I started off down the Tweed Coast, and found myself enjoying the freedom of having no idea how many kilometres I was riding, or no idea of my speed. I guess I've obsessed a little too much over keeping track of every kilometre in recent years, so it was nice to break free of that. It was here I pretty much made up my mind to stop "logging" rides for good. When I do replace this computer, I'll just use it for checking daily distances and so forth, but I won't be keeping any stats on it. That's just too much time and effort now.

I darted inland toward Mullumbimby, then over the climb toward the Crystal Castle. This climb has some tough sections, but the way the views open up in the ridge make it worth the effort. The hills seem to be perpetually green here, and the sweeping coastal views are amazing. There might be more coastal views on the way in the future. I came upon the idea of riding to Ballina at some point in the future. The coastal views between Byron Bay and Ballina are supposed to be breathtaking.

The return is by a similar route for a while, but detours over the hills through Burringbar, Murwillumbah and Urliup to come home. This too is a beautiful ride, especially the forests of Urliup. For some reason, however, I seem to be struggling for form on the final climb of Bilambil over recent months. I can't put my finger on it, but that hill always seems to be a nemesis. Yesterday's performance was a little more convincing, but still not quite what I wanted. It's possible I'm just being unrealistic, given that I probably finished yesterday with around 220km or so. Either way, it was an extremely rewarding ride, and a wonderful feeling of breaking free of a few things. Perhaps I'll do it that way all the time.

Paging James

This post is solely for the benefit of someone who commented on one of my earlier posts which has now disappeared from public view somewhere into the archives.

Re: Riding to Binna Burra. The road to Binna Burra is indeed fully sealed. You'll have a 7km sustained climb from Advancetown to Lower Beechmont to contend with, but the gradient of that isn't overly steep (probably less than Mt Coot-tha). After that, it's largely rolling country for most of the remainder of the climb. There are a couple of steepish sections along the way, but they're pretty short for the most part. The place where you might struggle with the gearing you have, is the final assault on Mt Roberts for the last 2km or so. That can get nasty.

Overall though, you should have a great ride. Just watch the cross-winds on the Beechmont Plateau if it's really blowing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Next time I'm calling the police

When I moved into this apartment a couple of months ago, my mother told me that she "suspected" there might be some domestic violence happening next door, based on the arguments they were having. I reserved judgement, given that I'm not someone who likes to get involved in these types of matters, and that I'd been out while the argument in question was taking place. However, some of the noises I was hearing this morning convinced me that something is going on.

It all started just after I'd finished watching the world cup match between Australia and Croatia. At the time I was in some kind of self-absorbed bubble, worrying about whether I might be five minutes late for work, stupid as it was. For a few minutes I wondered whether or not there was anything I could do about it, and to be honest it just never occurred to me that I should just wait for a while and call the police -- unlikely as it seems that they might do anything about it. It still would have been better than doing nothing, which was what I eventually did.

Perhaps it isn't as clear cut as that. There's a distinct possibility that this might have been going on for some time (although I have no proof of that). This indicates that the victim might have been putting up with it for some time. The question here is whether she really wants any interference, or alternatively, perhaps she's afraid to leave or speak out about it. I actually don't see her around the place all that often, but I'm thinking that if I do, perhaps I should just let her know what I'm thinking now, and that if she decides to contact the police, I'd be prepared to act as a witness. On the other hand, I worry that something like that could just as easily rebound, and the last thing I want to do is get involved in any fisticuffs with the jerk, or anyone else for that matter.

Either way, if this morning's events repeat themselves, I'll be calling the cops and letting them handle it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I guess that's just addiction

I have a confession to make. I have done almost no riding since last weekend. Granted, I've still been riding to and from work each day, but that is more akin to a business transaction than something I really do for enjoyment. The reason for this, incidentally, has been a problem with my headlight -- or more specifically, the generator. While my back up lights are good for a commute, I wasn't planning to take them out on the dark country roads (although I could probably get away with that if it was really necessary). To add to the frustration, it's rained on and off virtually all week -- almost unheard of in the middle of the dry season. The good news is that all should be back in order by this weekend.

In the past I've had time off the bike while recovering from crashes and the like, but this is different. This time I've really had a feeling that I should be out there. I think it's fair to say that I've been a little snappy at times this week, and had a slightly shorter fuse than normal. What is it about a physical release, even if only for a couple of hours, that allows us to cope with life's little annoyances more easily? Right now I'm feeling as though I need some substantial hills very quickly.

In the interim, I've been watching the World cup with great interest -- despite the fact that the results thus far haven't really thrown up too many surprises. Well, a few people wrote of Germany before it all started, but that always seemed foolish to me. How often have they been down in the past, only to produce as soon as the tournament started? And they're playing at home. It's almost as silly as the people who are writing off Brazil after their opening two matches (which they won, but not as convincingly as some thought). Right now I'm expecting those two sides, plus Italy and Argentina to be right in the thick of things when the crunch games come. You can possibly add Portugal to that list, as this is the last chance for a lot of their players, and I just have a feeling about them.

As far as some of the other teams are concerned, Spain are looking good now, but have a habit of faltering in the latter stages of the tournament. England rely too much on a limited number of individuals, and while this will get them past Ecuador and into the quarter finals, I think they'll falter against the top sides. I think something similar applies to France. Australia? It would be nice to think we could win the world cup, but realistically I just can't see it. That said, we should get past Croatia tomorrow, but we'll most likely come up against Italy in the next round, which is bad news.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

FC disappearing forever?

It appears to be all over for one of the most entertaining websites ever to grace the Internet. (link not necessarily work friendly) started out in 2000 as a place where a few out of work computer nerds could take bets on which dot-com company was going to collapse next. It grew into something which would make founder Phillip Kaplan (a.k.a Pud) an Internet legend -- a monument to corporate incompetence. They were also the first to break a lot of other amusing stories, such as this one.

As a working class boy from Werris Creek, I suppose I've always found it amusing to read about companies generating $350,000 in sales over five years, and somehow turning it into a loss of $84 million. Before anybody criticises me for taking delight in this sort of thing, just remember that these CEO's often screwed a lot of people, be they employees or investors, to obtain the $84 million in the first place. Given that legal systems the world over seem reluctant to punish anyone for this sort of thing, FC was probably the only consolation a lot of people had.

The message board was also a way to find quick entertainment if you had a spare five minutes to kill. There was always something happening there during the site's greatest days. Granted, there was a lot of crap posted, but at times there were some interesting and incisive comments posted, not just about the corporate world, but about life generally. And if you got bored with that, there was always a quick game of pink slip panic to vent some workplace frustrations.

I suppose the beginning of the end came some time ago when Pud jumped ship and started It was ironic that someone who had made a fortune on dot-com companies falling apart could join one, and when he left recently there were a few people trying to claim "satisfaction". Then again, the traffic on the site had been steadily dwindling for a while. Perhaps all the IT people who got laid off in the crash have moved on to other things. It also didn't help that the ads on the site steadily became more intrusive as time went by.

Now the message boards are gone (both General and Happy Fun Slander), and the front page hasn't been updated in two weeks. Perhaps Pud himself has moved on to other things. Somehow I never got around to posting a link to the site in this blog. I guess I just assumed it would always be there. Now that it isn't there, the Internet will be a considerably less entertaining place.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Can't get it up?

This story was doing the rounds on the Gold Coast recently. Apparently some doctor was selling Human Growth Hormones for "anti-ageing and performance enhancing" purposes. One particular "story" doing the rounds in a local tabloid suggested that "anti-ageing" and "performance enhancing" actually go together for wealthy old men dating younger women and finding themselves unable to keep up in the sack. Apparently they were paying a lot of money for these drugs, too.

As if I needed another reason to avoid the dating scene on the Gold Coast.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rainbow rage

The rainbows were out in force on Sunday's ride, a colourful spectrum resulting from some unseasonably variable weather. The results are always spectacular when this happens.

For the record, I rode a circuit through Numinbah Valley, the Condong Range and Hogan's rainforest. I seemed to suffer from a lack of salts during some of the latter stages of the ride, although it's strange that something like this only becomes noticeable during those moments when the scenery is less inspiring. Either way, it's a lesson I'll learn for the future, even though I've never suffered from that particular problem before.

Of course, the other option is to only ride in places that throw this kind of scenery at me.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


This one is for those readers in the southern states who are currently experiencing a strange phenomenon called "winter". Here in Queensland it's still autumn, and the above picture is the proof in case anybody doubted it. This morning's ride was a chance to blow away some cobwebs through Tallebudgera and Currumbin Valleys. I ended up with about 98km or so, and it was extremely pleasant. The odd thing is that while the autumn leaves are providing displays of colour, so are the "summer" wildflowers that usually bloom in around February or so.

Another astonishing thing happened today. I came up to a group of cyclists on the side of the road fixing a flat tyre. Evidently they didn't need any assistance, but they seemed to think of me as some kind of super athlete for taking a ride of close to 100km down the two valleys. I didn't bother to tell them I was just warming up for tomorrow, or that I'm thinking of making that 400k in July into a 600k. Why is it considered so unusual to undertake anything that might just require a little bit of endurance? As it is, I'll just keep racking up the kilometres and enjoying the scenery as I go.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


On a short walk at lunchtime today, I couldn't help noticing a sign outside a "weight-loss clinic" claiming that a person can lose up to 10kg without exercising, dieting or taking any pills. I'm not sure whether this is a case of false advertising (remember, this is the Gold Coast, so false advertising would be the rule rather than the exception).

Clearly they must be drawing some form of success from this advertising, otherwise they wouldn't be persisting with it. It's amazing just how lazy people are these days when it comes to things like this. There's no thought about effects on their health in the long-term, just a snap desire for the quick fix. Fortunately, I'm the last person in the world who needs to be worried about losing any weight.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Back on the borderline

Day one.

Saturday morning began as the usual mess that most of my tours seem to start with. First of all I spent too long watching the world cup match between Ecuador and Poland in the morning. If that didn't hold me up enough, I left without remembering my spare tyre, which meant an extra 10km of riding after backtracking to fetch it. Consequently, I was later getting away than I'd planned. The ride through the Canungra gorge to start with turned on a stunning display of mist-shrouded mountains, this gladdened my heart a little.

After this it was a relatively uneventful stretch through to Beaudesert. That is, uneventful apart from one particular bogan who decided to shout a string of expletives from their house in the middle of nowhere. It may have been directed at me, as there wasn't anyone else around. Alternatively, they may have been hallucinating. After a snack at Beaudesert bakery I continued westward for Boonah. The rain was coming in long, steady showers now, but it was warm enough not to bother me particularly.

The stretch between Beadesert and Boonah offered some different emotions. On the one hand I felt quite at home in the yellows and browns of the much drier landscape here -- it seemed strangely reminiscent of where I grew up. It was also over six years since I last rode this stretch -- it dated back to the first day of my first ever bike tour. I was astonished how naive I'd been about so many things back then -- it's almost a wonder I survived that particular trip.

Boonah was reached soon enough, and it was here I realised that I felt like staying in slightly more formal accommodation this evening. The problem was that there wasn't any. The town was virtually booked out due to an endurance-based horse race that had attracted interest from all around the world. Apparently competitors were riding 100 miles or 161km through the countryside. The winners completed the event in around 12 hours, but others would be streaming in for a couple of days. There's also a monument to it in the town itself.

With some help from the local information centre, I found a place to stay out at Mt Alford. It turned out to be a lovely spot at the top of a ridge -- even if the clouds obscured some of the views and made any thought of climbing the mountain a waste of time. I only got into the lodge because there was a last-minute cancellation from somebody else. Nevertheless, it made for a relaxing evening.

Day two.

It was a surprisingly warm opening to Sunday -- 14 degrees C (surprising because ultimately the day never cleared 16). Leaving Mt Alford was a screaming descent, before having to crunch a couple of hills en route to the locality of Croftby. Here I made the detour toward White Swamp Road, which would ultimately lead me to the top of a pass in the Macpherson ranges on the NSW border. The climb on the dirt was a stiff enough challenge, but it did offer some sensational views, and with my low gearing the gradient was also quite manageable.

At some point I paused for a lengthy chat with one of the locals. He told me about all of the mountains in the area he'd explored on foot or on horseback. According to him, the nearby Mt Clunie may actually be an active volcano. He claimed that the fences on the lower slopes of that mountain indicate it's growing at a rate of one inch per annum, and that earth tremors in the area are quite common. Make of that what you will.

After cresting the pass at White Swamp (which is actually a volcanic crater), there was a gentle descent on the dirt, before turning north-west, and back up to the pass known as The Head. This is the start of the Condamine River. The pass was dealt with reasonably comfortably, I was feeling pretty good with myself, having iced The head in such clinical fashion. However, on reaching the plateau I was confronted with a new enemy -- a brutal headwind. Fortunately I didn't have to deal with it for long, as a muddy dirt road began to snake it's way into the Condamine River gorge.

The gorge itself offered some beautiful scenery, but it also offered 14 unbridged river crossings. The water here was anything but warm, and my feet were numb after the first crossing. They would stay that way for another seven hours. I quickly abandoned plans to be through the gorge inside one hour. There was also a surprising amount of traffic passing through that road -- perhaps even more than would have been on the high road past Queen Mary Falls. This was more of an annoyance than a major problem, as I'm quite comfortable in dealing with traffic.

After negotiating the river crossings, it was onto the final stretch into Killarney against the brutal westerly wind. I had a quick snack and chatted with a couple of other tourists, before deciding to make a run for Woodenbong with the wind at my back. The stretch from Killarney to Legume and onto Woodenbong is beautiful, if quite hilly. I eventually reached Woodenbong with darkness closing in. The problem was that the campground offered no shelter from the wind, and someone had some crap music blaring from a car stereo.

My basic desire for sleep convinced me to press on. I followed the climb out of Woodenbong and into the forest toward the old "rest area" that I camped at last year. Darkness was closing in, and the temperature was dropping, but I no longer cared. The track leading to the campsite shone out like a beacon after about 8km or so, and I eventually found a reasonable spot and erected my tent by torchlight. There was something surreal about this place tonight, perhaps it's just the unusual bird calls that I never hear at home.

Day Three.

An almost freezing morning greeted me, 1 degree at the time I woke up. A kangaroo paid me a visit while I was packing away my tent. In one sense I didn't particularly want to ride home just yet. It's normally about the third day of a tour when I start really finding form, although my legs still had some complaints after the previous days' climbs. The ride back from this campsite starts with a long, winding climb through a rainforest.

After cresting the Mt Lindesay pass, it was a lazy, winding, gentle descent virtually all the way to Rathdowney. This really is the last of the scenic excitement in this ride, but it's definitely worth the effort.

A piece of controversy in Rathdowney surrounds a proposal from the state government to build a dam on the Logan River near the town. There were a lot of "no dams" signs around this morning. Nearer to the town itself there were some rather sharp jibes.

I have to say that I'm not sure building a dam here, or anywhere else is going to solve the water problems. Australians on the whole waste far too much water, and don't recycle nearly enough of it. Then you have the storage issues in cities, where water tanks are almost non-existent these days. Personally I think building another dam on the Logan River will be like trying to cure traffic problems by simply building more roads, or trying to cure obesity with a bigger belt -- it's a great way to hide the symptoms in the short term (usually until just after the next election), but does little to solve the problem in the longer term.

For my ride, I made a slight change to the route after returning to Beaudesert. I opted to ride through Beenleigh and get a train from there, just for the sake of riding on some different roads on the way back. It was pleasant enough, if not matching the excitement of day 2. Beenleigh is a place that needs to learn a thing or two about signage. There are literally no signs in the town directing anyone to the local train station. I eventually found it instinctively, but it's very easy to get lost here. Thankfully I avoided that fate, and made it home uneventfully.

Overall it was a very rewarding (if a little tiring) weekend. The next step would be to explore some of the area north of Killarney around Emu Vale or Yangan. Just when that will happen I'm not entirely sure, but I still have one more long weekend this year to play with.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Taking the low road

This weekend I'm heading off for a tour in the vicinity of Killarney. I was in the same area at the same time last year, but this time I'm taking a different route -- the dirt road through the Condamine River Gorge. Apparently there are something like 18 unbridged river crossings in the space of 20km, although at this end of the river, they're unlikely to present any major problems. Incidentally, the Condamine River is actually the start of the Murray-Darling system, which is the largest river system in Australia. It ends near Adelaide -- virtually at the other end of the country.

Last year, of course, I took the high road over the Head, which includes what is probably the most brutal climb in the entire country.

This time I'll be climbing the range on the little-known White Swamp Road, which will pass through country I haven't visited before (although I've certainly wondered about it).

The weather forecast seems to suggest it's going to rain -- unlikely as that may seem in the dry season with the SOI sitting at -11 currently. If it does look like rain I may set up camp slightly earlier on the Saturday. I still have a couple of route-related decisions to make. The first is whether I head through Boonah or Rathdowney on the way out to the ride. The Boonah option gives me terrain I haven't passed for a while, a slightly shorter distance, and a later supermarket (meaning less time carrying loads of groceries with me). The Rathdowney option offers a hearty feed at the local pub, and a possible stretch near Lake Maroon. I may wait and see what sort of day tomorrow is.

There's another decision to make on Sunday, as to whether I head north or south from Killarney. Again, I'll wait and see how I feel at the time. In a sense I don't mind the respect of rain -- as it means the nights are likely to be warmer in that area. I'll also have some new gearing on my bike which should cope better with the fully loaded climbs. Now it's just a matter of trying to find a way to concentrate on work for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Beyond 10,000

Although I haven't made it "official" by logging the miles on yet, by my calculations I have ridden my 10,000th kilometre for 2006. The milestone presumably came on a quick ride out to Hinze Dam this morning in slightly chilly conditions (5 degrees C). Apparently the unseasonal "cold snap" is still with us for the moment. I'm going to celebrate with a short bike tour over the up-coming long weekend. More on that later.

In other news, in case anyone wanted to get rid of their car but didn't know how to go about it
read on.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yesterday I decided to ride the old Tweed Valley circuit for the first time in 2006. Since discovering Cadell Road earlier this year, the old route through Tyalgum and Brays Creek seems to have been ignored. In some ways I'm a little undecided about which route I prefer, but that isn't a major issue as I'll have plenty of time to alternate between them.

I was more interested in how I'd pull up over such a ride after riding to Binna Burra the day before. The initial climb of Tomewin didn't seem as bad as I'd expected, and as always, the views opened up toward the summit, intertwined with the usual wildflower display that mountain always turns on.

After the descent into the valley itself, I had the chance to take the old detour onto Chilcott's Road. This is a slight deviation on a dirt road, which is very scenic, albeit a little rougher than the main road toward Chillingham. It's almost hard to believe that the road is never more than 50 metres above sea level, with scenery like this.

After the hilly stretch to Tyalgum, and the old route through Brays Creek, it was on to the prettiest section of the entire ride, but it wasn't a great day for photographs of this section, the leafy creek-side road really requires an overcast day for that. However, it was still very pleasant riding, even if a little cool in the shade.

After returning to the main road at Uki, it was a matter of catching a tailwind home through Murwilumbah, Urliup and Bilambil. In the latter stages of the ride, the weekend started to catch up with me a little. While I was able to maintain a consistent pace, there wasn't really any sign of putting on a big finish. This isn't really important, as I just focus on enjoying these rides.

I just wish I'd had a better day with the camera.

Someone's having a Barry

According to something I heard on Triple J this morning, there is now a national push to have Barry Manilow music piped into shopping centre car parks all over the country. Apparently there is a concern about the number of hoons hanging around in these places (much like everywhere else it seems), and it is felt that playing "daggy" music at them might make them congregate somewhere else (at least until the people at point B complain about it). Isn't the "pass the problem onto someone else" approach wonderful?

I hate to break it to the chaps who came up with the idea, but similar schemes have been tried before. Every-so-often Pacific Fair shopping centre on the Gold Coast takes this approach. It's usually at the Southern entrance near the cinemas that it can be heard. Generally it takes about a weekend for them to realise that they "daggy" music is driving as many of the shoppers away as hoons, and consequently costing the retailers in the area money. Within a couple of days things are back to the way they were before it all started. Of course, there are numerous other places that have tried the same approach, and all with the same level of "success". And regardless of the objections of other patrons, does anyone seriously expect the hoons to even hear Barry over the doof-doof crap they usually play on their car stereos?

Isn't it just so amusing when people continue to persist with ideas that have been shown time and again not to work?

I've said this before, but it seems to have fallen onto deaf ears, so I'll say it again. If people really want to get rid of hoons, the only way to go about it is through policing. Start by hiring enough police so that the average response time to a call might just fall below two days, and actually give them some powers to deal with the situation (car confiscations would be an obvious place to start). Then hire some court judges who might just apply traffic laws as they are written -- rather than letting people off because punishing them would somehow be "inappropriate".

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Winding up

It's been a while since I got to ride in genuinely windy conditions. That is, in part, because I've redefined what I consider to be a brutal wind after my New Zealand experience. Basically nothing I've seen since my return has measured up to my new description, until this morning. I ended up taking a ride to Binna Burra -- one of my all time favourite rides, but one I haven't done for quite a while (apart from the night ride two months ago). The Beechmont Plateau along the way is absolutely exposed to any decent wind in basically any direction. This morning it was a big, spanky old-fashioned westerly.

A wind can be considered brutal if controlling the bike takes any additional effort -- and that was the case several times this morning. Dealing with some of the gusts was a real game of cat and mouse. A lot of people would probably refuse to ride in such circumstances, but I loved every minute of it. The challenge inspired me, and it's this inspiration, the adrenalin resulting from the situation, that results in an emotional high, a sense of achievement in having taken on the elements, and won.

The scenery up there isn't bad either.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


The last couple of days have brought an unseasonal "cold" snap to South Queensland. Consequently, the rides I've had on the last couple of nights have been a bit cooler than I'd anticipated. The formula I normally adopt when heading out to somewhere like Tallebudgera Valley at night is to take 5 degrees C of the temperature on the coast, to give me the temperature in the valley. By that calculation, it should have been 10 in the valley this evening -- it was 6. It was still a thoroughly enjoyable ride, but toward the end I could feel my legs screaming with lactic acid from a couple of the hills. Suffice to say, I made absolutely sure I did a few post-ride stretches this evening. If this keeps up, lactic acid and I could become very good friends.

I've slightly changed my focus over the last couple of evenings. I haven't even looked at my average speed at all during the ride -- only bothering to check it at the end. Apart from the fact that doing this allows me to get more enjoyment from my mid-week rides, it should allow me to focus more on form and technique at these times. Those are the things that will get me through the 400km brevet in July.