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

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

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

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

Crazy Guy on a Bike

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

Johns Cycles

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

St Kilda Cycles

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


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

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

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

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

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

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

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

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

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

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

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

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

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

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

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

What can I say? Just read it.

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

More cycling blogs

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Enough already!

Three more flats yesterday to make it four in six days. I am getting a little tired of this. I would, however, like to make it totally clear that the combined effort of those three flats did NOT prevent me riding my century yesterday. I, in fact, finished with 173km, and century number 16 for 2006. Maybe I'll break last year's total of 30 after all.

I had started the day with plans to attempt a double century, after the Floyd Landis debacle of the last couple of days, I figured it was time for a real lad to get up and take charge. I might have succeeded, too. I was feeling pretty good as I cruised down the Tweed Coast, beyond the mess currently being made of the Pacific Highway at Billinudgel and on toward Mullumbimby. Things seemed okay as I cruised over the short climb on the Coolamon road.

It was here that the problems started. First of all my headlight died. I had a feeling something was wrong, an instinct told me to give it a quick test -- it failed. I've since spent a siginficant amount of time today trying to fix it, and it's going to have to go back to the importer in Melbourne. That effectively ruined any hope of a double-century. Now I just had a century to aim for. Literally 200 metres later I found the first flat tyre of the day. A slow leak, so I simply removed the wire that had found it's way into the tyre, and inserted the spare tube. I then decided to head toward Mt Jerusalem, and home that way to avoid the Pacific Highway roadwork that might have caused the problem.

The climb of Mt Jerusalem was tricky in parts due to a gravel surface, parts of which hadn't dried out properly from the previous evening's rain, yet it was negotiated with relative ease. In the saddle between the two peaks, however, I found another problem, another piece of wire had found it's way into the tyre. This was a faster leak, and traffic here is non-existent, so I could find the leak and patch it easily. Removing the wire was a little more tricky, and eventually I had to cut it out with a pocket knife -- albeit carefully to avoid ripping the tyre any more. I spent a lot of time looking at this while doing so:

Wait, this view was even better.

I took stock of things after descending into Uki, and grabbing a water refill. I hadn't expected to come here. In one sense the ride had been disappointing because of all that had happened. Yes, the scenery had been marvellous, but it had lacked what I had been seeking. I just wanted to catch the tailwind home and forget about the whole day. Urliup, however, had other ideas. I negotiated the climb there easily, then hit the dirt road through the forest and immediately felt revitalised by the cool moist air. Now all was right with the world. This is what Urliup is about:

There was a final sting in the tail. The final climb at Bilambil has provided some annoyance in recent times, but I was coping with it comfortably yesterday, and on the verge of launching a blistering attack in the final stages and taking some serious ownage. It didn't happen as there was yet another flat tyre to contend with. This time on the front (the other two had been on the rear). This was a very slow leak, and only on the front, sod it, I'll just pump it periodically and keep riding for the last 30km or so. That actually worked reasonably well, but the end of the ride was accompanied by frustration rather than elation.

The headlight is going to Melbourne for a proper repair, meaning I'll be using the back-ups and old lights for however long it takes to return to me. I'm just hoping my pathetic attempts at fixing it haven't voided the warranty, but I wasn't thinking about that
the night before the 600k randonee debacle. I'm also likely to be up for new tyres in the near future. I'm disappointed with the short life-span of the Continental tyre that I bought in Queenstown in New Zealand back in March. I really expected another couple of months out of that.

I'm sure there is something positive to say about something in the world that isn't called "Urliup", but right now I'm struggling to find it. Incidentally, it's the third time I've had three flats in a day on a century ride, and so far I've managed to complete all of them.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Heading for a soft Landis

By now I suspect that anyone reading this post is already aware of the news about TdF winner Floyd Landis and that small matter of testosterone. I think the really sad part about all this is that it isn't particularly surprising. Indeed, as long ago as last Sunday I remember one of my riding partners telling me that he was "cynical" about Landis recovering from eight minutes down to win with basically one devastating performance in the mountains. It's really sad that virtually any performance like that is going to attract suspicion. It's even sadder that this suspicion appears to be correct.

Of course, Landis is claiming innocence at this stage, and we're still waiting for the 'B' sample to be tested, but the likelihood is that he will be found guilty. Having suspended the likes of Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso on suspicion before the tour even started, the UCI will probably be left with no course of action other than to strip Landis of his victory. The world's media will probably have a field day with another cycling "scandal" -- even if there are just as many drug users in every other professional sport in the world (albeit less rigorously tested).

When something like this happens, I start to wonder why I bother watching the TdF at all. Maybe I'd be better off just concentrating on my own riding and forgetting about what the pros are doing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

169% OWNED...

... Is a description that could be applied to millions of tourists every year. Apparently, they pay big dollars to go and visit a glow worm colony in the Gold Coast Hinterland. They don't realise that touring this area on my bicycle on a regular basis has allowed me to find another six that they don't know anything about, and best of all it doesn't cost me a cent. There is truly something special about riding along a dirt road with glow worms lining the side of it for literally kilometres on end. Mist shrouded rainforest isn't bad either.

In other news, some government official got on Triple J this morning and lamented the fact that young people are too cynical about politics to "get involved". I have to say the news concerned me a little -- could it be that I was wrong all along? Are young people in Australia smarter than I've given them credit for? This would seem to indicate so. Let's face it, the fact that there have been more changes in government (at various levels) in Australia over the last 20 years than changes of policy has to say something. The few visionary politicians we've produced in that time have been ridiculed endlessly in the media to the extent that they had virtually no chance in the polling booth. At Federal level we've got a choice of a government stuck in the 1950's, or an opposition that can't make up it's mind on any issue for more than five minutes, and people wonder why we're cynical?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Century withdrawals

It has come to my attention that it is now 10 days since I last rode an imperial century. Ordinarily this shouldn't bother anyone, but right now as I type this I have an urge to get on the bike and just churn out a lot of miles. It's odd that I should be so keen to do this, given that I've ridden four imperial centuries (i.e. rides of 100 miles or more) already this month. I have still been commuting and so on, of course, but for some reason that just doesn't suffice. As I've related in previous posts, my ride to work is more like a business transaction than anything else.

So how did I get to this stage? It was just yesterday that I was reading a post from another blogger riding their first century. How does one reach the stage where they are addicted to long rides? To be honest I don't know whether it's testosterone (shouldn't I be growing out of that by now?), or just wanting to extend myself. Maybe it's just wanting to prove something after the 600k ride didn't go as planned. Maybe it's a deeper desire to escape suburban life for a while. Either way, I want to go somewhere right now.

On the subject of suburban life, or at least one aspect of it, I continually find it astonishing just how little idea anyone on the Gold Coast has about dealing with traffic. I don't rant about this subject terribly often, largely because if I ranted about every Gold Coast idiot I ever saw, I'd have little time to talk about anything else. Yet I see it everyday, people overtaking too close, people ignoring obvious gaps in the traffic at give way situations, before trying to blast through long after the gap is gone. People abusing others for stopping at red lights, people who just generally have no friggen idea. This isn't necessarily an anti-motorist rant -- I've seen plenty of cyclists and pedestrians who are just as bad.

I've spent time riding in much bigger cities like Brisbane or Melbourne, one would think a smaller city like the Gold Coast (pop. around 500,000) would present no problems at all. Yet from my observations, the incompetent moron quotient here is much higher than in these other cities. I suspect it all comes back to experience. People living in larger cities probably cope with traffic better because they deal with it more often. People in medium-sized cities therefore lack the skill and anticipation that comes with such experience. That said, if I can learn my trade on the Gold Coast and apply it in Melbourne or Brisbane, I don't see any reason that others shouldn't be able to.

Hmmm, maybe escaping the idiots is the reason I want to leave.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pottering around

I spent most of the weekend just pottering around, covering a little under 200km on my bike (I did 458km last weekend). Saturday morning I took an early ride out to Austinville in some light rain. It had been a while since I did that ride in daylight, but it was pleasant nonetheless. After last weekend I still don't have a great deal of motivation to attempt any land speed records at present, so I just took my time and soaked up the scenery, and the experience of just being in such a place. I think this is where riding is at for me at the moment, it's basically a chance to get out of the city and live a bit of life for a while.

In the afternoon I restored an old computer game called Speedball 2. It's about the only computer game that I ever play anymore (I don't spend a lot of time on that pursuit). Just at the moment I figure it has to be more entertaining than wasting my time on internet message boards.

This morning I met up with a couple of other riders for a quick ride down the coast. It took until about Coolangatta to realise this really wasn't for me anymore. Touring and long distance riding seem to have changed my outlook in this area recently. Short fast rides of 40-80km don't appeal to me all that much anymore (it takes me 40km to warm up properly these days).

As it was, I peeled off at Coolangatta and headed for Urliup, en route to a return to the Garden of Eden at Tomewin, on the Macpherson Range.

The views up here today were very different from my last visit -- largely because it wasn't actually raining this time. The track was still wet in places, due to last night's rain, it made for slippery going at times, especially as I wasn't actually riding the MTB today. That was purely a function of having no plans to come up here today, but finding myself here nonetheless. Some of the views were spectacular.

It's always astonishing to find an area of such beauty so close to the coast, and to suburbia. In some ways it's proximity keeps me away, as I always seem to be looking for more kilometres most days. On the other hand, perhaps the fact that I seldom visit adds to it's appeal. The thing about Tomewin seems to be that I can visit as often as I like, and always find something different.

For all that, I didn't appreciate a flat tyre on the final descent into Bilambil. It did seem to be a day for flats, however. I saw two cars on the side of the road with flat tyres today, and a cyclist this morning with one in Burleigh. The flat tyre itself may have provided an unexpected blessing. I was able to patch the tube on the spot -- encouraged to in fact by the location at the time of the flat. Had it happened somewhere less scenic, I may well have just put the spare in without bothering to patch it, meaning that I probably would have forgotten/procrastinated to do it when I got home.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Apologies for the recent lack of updates to anyone who might ever read this, the inspiration to post hasn't been around this week. There are still a couple of residual frustrations about the 600k ride not going as I'd planned, but I'll get another chance next year. Right now I'm in the process of formulating some riding plans for later in the year, and there isn't really a lot happening in the way of big challenges. Normally at this time of year I'd be gearing up for a bike tour somewhere, and that would flow through to the weekend rides, which would usually start getting longer right about now.

As things stand, all that's really on the horizon is the ASH Dash in Southern Tasmania later this year, and that isn't until December. There is, of course, the Gold Coast Show long weekend at the end of next month, but I haven't quite decided what I'm doing with that yet. As for this weekend's plans, I'm thinking about taking the "alternative" climb to O'Reilly's in the Gold Coast hinterland via Duck Creek Road. It's supposed to be a 700 metres in 13km climb on a dirt road (I'd end up riding about 160km or so just to get there and back), and I'm torn between that or Mt Jerusalem this Sunday. I guess I'll just play it by how I'm feeling on the day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A mess

Things didn't go quite as planned on the 600km ride at the weekend. First of all, my train from Fortitude Valley to the start at Westlake (both suburbs of Brisbane) didn't show. This meant that a) I had to ride 25km to the start; and b) I got there 20 minutes late. Still, I arrived confident that I could make up the time -- after all, I've been through enough crap to get there. I set off from Westlake, and just pootled around the outer suburbs of Brisbane, focusing mainly on finding my way through the convoluted route than trying to make up serious time. It was at this point that I started to enjoy things again, all the crap that went on last week finally disappeared under the joy of just riding largely unfettered.

25km or so in, I passed one of the riders doing the 300k -- he told me he was basically abandoning there and then, and that he didn't feel as though he'd make it. I couldn't really think of any consoling words -- how do you lift the spirits of someone who's quit after 25km (and who you've already caught after a 20 minute delay)? I rode on, through Ipswich, and out to Laidley and the first checkpoint. Here I caught one of the earlier starters, Dave, who had been delayed acting as a witness in a car crash. We set off together after that, over the climb of the Great Dividing Range via Ma Ma Creek. This was probably the most scenic part of the ride.

I managed to stay with Dave until Clifton, but I had a dilemma. He was setting off quickly to try to catch the other riders (of whom there were now just two). I hung back to eat some serious food -- this was probably my fatal mistake. I had enough muesli bars to hang on until Pittsworth, but just didn't do it. Darkness fell on the way to Pittsworth, and the wind and rain intensified. I was struggling, but I hung on through this section. On making it to Pittsworth I realised that I wasn't losing any ground on the other riders, but again, arrived at the checkpoint just as they were leaving. The 20 minute delay at the start still haunted me! Again, I opted for more food, and again I was riding alone.

Pushing into the wind and probably the first decent downpour this area has seen for several months, I began to get disheartened. There was no reason for this, as I wasn't really losing any time, but the distance just seemed daunting. At one stage I literally ran off the road through tiredness, but managed to recover enough to avoid a nasty crash. I made it to Oakey and decided I'd had enough after 280km. I abandoned and got a ride out to Dalby, the 600k was effectively over. This was another mistake, as I had, in fact, negotiated the hardest part of the ride to get here. Had I just continued -- even if I'd had a break for 10 minutes to get my thoughts together, I have no doubt I could have made it to Dalby.

As it was I got back on the bike at Goombungee the next day and rode the final 170-odd km to "finish". For most of this I felt surprisingly good, apart from a little fatigue in Toowoomba (which didn't last long). That disappeared on the descent of the Toowoomba range where I passed four trucks. I shared the ride home with Lisa, who had traveled up from Inverell for this event, and was still a chance to finish. Clearly, she knew what she was doing better than me, having already done 300k and 400k events (I was jumping in without ever completing either of those). We passed the time with some idle chatter, and I learned that when I hit a flat spot, I just need to persevere and ride through it. Had I done this the previous night, I could have completed the thing. I suppose lessons are never too late for learning.

We had one interesting moment where the route slip... er.. gave us the slip. We ended up taking a stretch on the Ipswich Motorway. The signs didn't seem to list "bicycles" among the prohibited items on that road, so we may have even been doing this legally! Even so, I think the dangers of riding on these roads is grossly overstated. I didn't actually take any pictures on the second days' ride. There were probably one or two opportunities, but I just didn't really think of it.
As for what I'll do differently next time, I'll definitely be doing the full series next year. I've done enough 200km rides to sink a battleship, but the 300 and 400 would have been useful preparation, as well as being decent achievements in and of themselves. I will also (hopefully) eradicate the late start and the pre-ride mechanical problems that basically destroyed my final preparation this year. Overall, considering the preparation and how naive I was about this, I probably did reasonably well to finish with 458km. Physically I know I'm up to this, it's just the mental barriers that need to be knocked down.

Incidentally, Saturday's 280km was the fifth time I've been at or above 280 without managing to break 300km. This is becoming a habit, and one that I want to eliminate as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Maybe an extended ride taking in Byron Bay, Ballina and back through Mullumbimby in the near future might be the tonic.

Friday, July 14, 2006

600 Tomorrow

It's now only 18 hours or so until I start that ridiculous attempt at riding 600km in two days. I'd have liked to have done more long rides in the training phase, but I think I would have said that no matter what I'd done. I'm quietly confident that I have enough base miles to sort out what I need to, and in anycase, I don't think burning out at this stage would have assisted me much.

I had another late catastrophe last night as I pulled the plug to the generator out of the chord from the E6 headlight. This resulted in an extended period of kicking things and swearing loudly, before realising that if I hurried I might be able to get another one for about $4. Rather stupidly I phoned the hardware store to see when they'd be closing instead of just leaving right away. Eventually I got into the rather short ride, and had the job of taking apart a decent headwind, good. This was an outlet for my frustrations. I eventually made it with about two minutes to spare before the shop closed (where I got about 20 adapters for the $4), before riding home and fixing it in 10 minutes flat! It's just something I need to be aware of with the E6, the adapters are easy to pull out if you're removing the light from the generator to remove the front wheel for whatever reason.

I also have my cycle-computer working again now, although I paid it little attention on my ride to work this morning. Hopefully this is the last of my mechanical problems, and things will all run smoothly tomorrow. Evidently the weather forecast for the weekend refers to rain and not much else. If it's anywhere near as cold as the rain in Invercargill was, I'll walk from here to Murwillumbah nude.

Coming to our Census

Evidently, 2006 is the year of the population census in Australia. According to what I heard on Triple J this morning, a few officials are a little concerned because evidently young people (i.e. anyone under 30) are "under-counted", because apparently some of them don't bother to fill it out. Given that I fit that category (at least for another couple of months), I figured I might say a few words about it. I qualify further in that I've never actually filled out one of these forms in Australia (although I did do one in New Zealand once).

First of all, aren't these forms actually supposed to be sent to every household? I know that my address has somehow disappeared from the mailing list on the last two occasions (although I bet the could find me if I had a fine they wanted to collect), and I also know that I'm not the only one. I suppose that one could argue that I should make the effort to obtain one from somewhere, but what people don't understand is that many of us are simply far to busy to waste time on what is essentially a pointless survey.

That's right, it's pointless as far as I'm concerned. Yes, I've heard all the arguments about how it gives the government information on how and where they need to fund infrastructure and so on, and frankly, I think those arguments are an absolute crock! One only has to look at the third-world public infrastructure on the Gold Coast to see that. Public transport is non-existent, emergency response times are ridiculously long (more often measured in hours than minutes), and exceeded only by the waiting times for anyone sufficiently unfortunate to need to use the Gold Coast Hospital.

Surely the census should have told the politicians that the population of this area was growing at a ridiculous rate and they needed to make provisions, so why hasn't it happened? Probably because at both State and Federal level, the Gold Coast is a safe electoral seat for the Conservatives. Anyone who lives in a "safe seat" for either of the major parties will probably tell as similar story of a lack of funding and so on, while politicians of all persuasions fall over themselves to buy votes in the "marginal seats". This, ladies and gentlemen, is how funding is allocated. It has nothing to do with the needs of the population or anything else. The only time people in the "safe seats" get anything is if they start whining loudly enough to make a politician think they might vote for someone else next time around -- and that doesn't happen in the census.

So, given that all the important decisions are made on Election day as opposed to Census day, can someone tell me why we need a Census?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The holiday that pays for itself?

Anyone who has ever been on a self-supported bicycle tour with an open mind is well aware of the conventional reasons for doing so. The chance to see and truly experience a place at your own pace, interaction with the locals, the freedom to go literally wherever you like (whenever you like) without having to follow the itinerary of some tour guide. The chance to be self-sufficient also teaches you a lot about yourself, and sometimes provides the opportunity to develop new skills.

This is where it begins paying for itself. From the time I arrived in New Zealand (about five months ago), I have been finding new things to break on my bike on a regular basis. After spending a heap of money on Glacier walks, Fiord cruises and all manner of other things, my bank balance took a hiding. Shortly after my return, things happened which mean that I had to move apartments, giving me not only the expense of moving (which is substantial), but also a higher weekly rent bill. Two years ago, the combination of these events, and the cost of replacing things on my bike would have left me with a financial crisis.

As things stand, I don't really have a problem. I started learning new repair skills in New Zealand (simply because without them I would never have made it out of Christchurch airport). With those skills has come a confidence to tackle more repair jobs myself, and I've started to find that a lot of them aren't nearly as daunting as I feared they might be. This is actually saving me substantial amounts of money, which means that as far as next year's trip to Scotland and/or Wales is concerned, I might just be able to afford it, even after having some substantial dental work done later in the year.

I honestly never expected a holiday to pay for itself.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Downs and Back

There are now just four days left before I actually have to deliver the goods on this possibly stupid undertaking I made to ride 600km in two days. The route is basically from Brisbane to Dalby, via Clifton and Pittworth on the way out, and Goombungee and Toowoomba on the way back. Consequently, I'm currently feeling a variety of emotions about it. For one thing, I'm looking forward to passing through some areas in which I've never been. On the other hand, my longest day on a bike to date was 293km (albeit much hillier than this route is likely to be), and I recall taking two days to recover from it.

Still, I did manage back to back imperial centuries recently, and this will be one of my rare non-solo rides, so there is some cause to believe that I might just bloody do it. I'll take a couple of relatively easy after work rides tonight and tomorrow evening, just to maintain form, and that should just about set me up for it. I have solved the light mounting problem from the weekend, but I still need to get my cycle-computer working again. While I've taken a surprising amount of enjoyment from riding without it for the last three weeks, it may prove to be an extremely useful navigational tool on some of the obsure back roads of the Darling Downs.

It's been a while since I've been right up onto the Downs themselves, given that most of my weekend tours in the last couple of years have stopped just short of that area. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the different colours in the landscape there, and hopefully that will inspire me to press on and put this thing to bed.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Do I laugh or do I cry?

It seems rigging up another pannier rack with a light mount is more difficult that I had thought. After smashing the previous mount at Springbrook yesterday, and with the lighting regulations of next weekend's 600km ride in mind, I really needed to act today. The first part was easy, I scoured my garage for all of five minutes* to find some spare parts, and combined them with what I salvaged yesterday to re-build the smashed tail light.

There were two problems. Firstly, the rack from my MTB was proving rather difficult to transfer to my hybrid because of a slightly different positioning of rear brakes (there were only a few millimetres in it). The other was that I couldn't get the reconstituted light to mount on the rack securely (or at least not as securely as I'd like). After spending two hours (that's right, two hours) swearing at it and trying a number of unorthodox things, I finally gave up on the idea.

Then while fumbling around some other things lying around in my garage, I came upon another idea. Perhaps I could design my own tail light mount on the rack that had already been on the hybrid. It took about five minutes to put it together, with another five minutes making slight adjustments. It was that simple (although I might stop at a bikeshop on the way home from work tomorrow for one more part to complete the design). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. On the one hand, knowing how easy it is to construct something like this, and knowing what I need to construct it should give me the confidence of having just one more "emergency" that I can cope with next time around. But did I really need to spend two hours on it? If I'd thought about that idea sooner, the whole thing would have been much easier.

* Incidentally, "the garage floor" is a legitimate storage option. It's called "filing it under 'B' ". I have five minutes worth of proof!

A final note: The 2.3 regular viewers of this page would have noticed I've made some changes to the template. This will be an ongoing project for however long it takes me to do it. I wanted to give the page a more balanced look and create space for more links.


I guess I better get this over with.

four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Accountant
2. Telemarketer (sue me!)
3. Call centre operator
4. Labourer (I did that for about two days to pay for a bike).

four movies I watch over and over:
Ummm, I've only watched a total of two movies in 2006:
1. Mike Basset, England Manager
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire (the inflight movie between Christchurch and Brisbane).

four places I have lived:
1. Werris Creek, NSW
2. Largs, NSW
3. Laurieton, NSW
4. The Gold Coast.

four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Ummm, does the World Cup count as a TV show?
2. Likewise the Tour de France.
3. The Glasshouse (when I remember it's on)
4. Some ultra-cheesy tabloid "news" or "current affairs" when I need a good laugh. Talkback radio serves largely the same purpose.

four places I have been on vacation:
1. New Zealand
2. Tasmania
3. Victoria
4. Gold Coast (before I came to live here)

four websites I visit daily:
1. Crazy Guy on a Bike
2. Various Blogs
3. BBC's Football page (that's the real football that's actually played with a ball, not an egg)
4. Some really boring tax websites that I use at work.

four of my favorite foods:
1. Pasta
2. Grapes (black muscat)
3. Passionfruit
4. Raspberries

four places I would rather be right now:
*Needless to say, I'd be on my bike
1. New Zealand
2. Tasmania
3. Scotland (next year hopefully)
4. Urliup.

four favorite bands/singers:
1. Sarah Blasko
2. Manic Street Preachers
3. Oasis
4. Midnight Oil
*even though I'm only meant to name four, I'll mention The Shins too. If you don't listen to The Shins, why are you still alive?

four bloggers I’ll Tag… I'm sure most of them are sick of hearing from me.
1. Rodney Olsen
2. Ms Mittens
3. Iron Gambit
4. Bicycle Eye

Aren't you all excited?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bike breaking ride

I suppose I should just be glad this happened before next weekend's 600k ride and not during it. The catalogue of things I've been forced to replace and/or repair on my bike this year is becoming quite extensive. I suppose the bright side of all this is that I've developed some new skills in repairs and/or simply coping with various problems.

This morning I headed for Springbrook, a ride that was something of a compromise. My legs wanted big km, but I'm supposed to be resting before the 600k, so I decided on a short ride which just happens to climb a mountain. Early on everything seemed to be OK. I handled the climb comfortably, and Springbrook turned on yet another glorious day, even if a little chilly. This place is known for it's waterfalls, but they weren't really at their spectacular best in the middle of the dry season. Cue a display of little-known wildflowers providing a burst of colour. After 11 years, I'm wondering if there is any thing that mountain can't do.

Even the local wildlife came out to greet me...

... even if I wasn't quite fast enough to take a picture of that Albert Lyrebird (note: the only known habitat of this species in the entire world is the Gold Coast Hinterland).

It was at the start of the ride home that the problems started. I noted the gearing at the rear wasn't shifting as it should. I made an adjustment to the rear derailleur, noting that I may have to replace a gear cable in the near future. Somewhere while descending a 7% gradient I heard a crack from my rear rack. It turns out the light mount I'd made for the rack had broken off (note: it wasn't my handywork that broke -- the bolt and the connection I had made was still intact, it was the metal itself that snapped). Incidentally, that was the rack I'd bought in Dunedin, after 600km of carrying a full touring load on another rack that I'd broken some days previously.

I salvaged what I could of the light, which may prevent me having to buy a replacement if I can assemble something from my garage. Further down the mountain the gear cable gave out completely. I was down to just two gears for the last 30km or so to get home. Granted, home was at a lower altitude, but there were still some nasty pinches around Mudgeeraba, not to mention the sea breeze from the coast to deal with. I now have a new found respect for people who ride singlespeed bikes.

As predicted, some of the hills around Mudgeeraba caused more difficulty than they normally would -- and it just had to be show day with the resultant traffic issues on a day when maintaining momentum was of unusual importance. However, in a grim kind of way, I was starting to enjoy the chase, the challenge of it all, and knowing that this ride had now transcended the usual "up and back" ride to Springbrook. I was actually a little disappointed to get back on the coast and out of the hills. Cruising along the flat, while easier, just didn't have the same interest -- even if a couple of red lights did provide some unexpected difficulty.

It's clear that I need to deal with this rack. It's been a problem since I bought it, and it just doesn't seem to be strong enough to cope with my demands. For the time being I think I'll swap the rack on my MTB over and use that. It seems to be a little more sturdy. This also means that I need to create a new mount for a tail light on the rack so I can continue to run two of them (the other attaches to a special hole cut into my saddlebag), but such is life. Maybe I'll start to look upon all these repairs as a grim kind of chase.

Finally (at last I hear you cry), it appears as though I've been tagged again. This time Allez is responsible. I'll deal with it tomorrow. Right now I need some sleep.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Melting away

No, this is not an indication of a return of summer heat, but tonight I took a quick evening ride out to Austinville. Those who regularly read this blog will be aware of the glow worms for which that particular locality is "famous", but the moonlight tonight meant that there were few of them about (or perhaps they were just a little more difficult to spot). Instead, tonight the show was stolen by the forest itself, and that indescribable effect created by the palm trees and ancient rainforest ferns illuminated by moonlight.

A few things have changed since my last night ride here (some time ago). One of the flood-prone causeways is getting a new bridge. I've taken some stupid liberties there in the past, being at the end of a winding descent, but I've always got away with it. A little of the character of that place will disappear now, but it's not a major change.

There have also been some minor things happen in my own life. Rodney over at
The Journey wrote an excellent post about the iceberg, the things we don't necessarily talk about that happen in our own lives. I've had some minor things beneath the surface recently. I've not bothered to write about them here, largely because they seem inconsequential, and also because they're probably things I'll look back on and laugh at in the future -- although I have discussed them over e-mails with a (geographically) distant friend who was aware of the issues. They've still been on my mind a little, just occasionally. They relate to certain people in a certain setting from whom I'd expected more -- even if I probably should have known better.

Yet tonight when I paused at my little forest clearing, looking up at the palm trees in the moonlight, it was just so beautiful and peaceful, it just put so many things into perspective. A lot of the mundane things we worry about in life just suddenly seemed so inconsequential. Really, who cares if people who know nothing about my situation(s) in life want to launch personal criticisms at the way I handle things (a little insight into the iceberg?), when I can come to places like this and get a greater sense of what really matters.

The bottom of the iceberg melted away a little this evening. And to think -- the temperature at Austinville was just nine degrees Celsius.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Much has been said about the exclusion of a number of leading riders from this year's Tour de France on the grounds of allegations of drug use. Of course, allegations of drug use in cycling or indeed in any professional sport are nothing new. Personally I think anyone who thinks there's a totally clean professional sport anywhere in the world is living in dreamland. Nevertheless, what's astonishing about this story is that we have a number of riders being excluded from the race on the suspicion of drug use, but as yet nobody has been proven to be guilty. This would seem to run contrary to most other trials in the world, where people are (at least in theory) presumed to be innocent unless actually proven guilty. Funnily enough, I seem to recall tabloids in Europe making similar (unfounded) allegations against Lance Armstrong in the past, but he was never prevented from starting a race.

Watching the first couple of stages on SBS this week, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think the tour was missing something this year. While it's still been entertaining, and the exclusions may have left us with a more open race than for many years, I do feel that so far it's missing something. That said, if this catches on it mightn't be such a bad idea. All I need to do now is convince one of the local tabloids to run a story claiming that half of the accountants on the Gold Coast are on drugs, and I'll never have to worry about unemployment again.

And the award goes to...

It's been a while since this blog awarded the coveted Wednesday Wanker. However, I now intend to make up for lost time by awarding it to the entire cast of Big Brother, for this worthy effort. I won't go into details here as anyone who hasn't already heard of it is more than capable of reading about it for themselves, and the events pretty much speak for themselves. I'm awarding it to the entire cast because so far nothing has convinced me that this isn't just another tacky publicity stunt in an effort to draw media attention and boost flagging ratings. We'll know that one for sure if nobody from the show is sued -- I can't imagine any other reason allegations like this would be swept under the carpet, as I suspect might happen.

I suppose whichever network screens it (having never watched the show, I'm not entirely sure which one it is) was probably a little worried that the great unwashed might finally be getting as sick of this crap as anyone with half a brain already is. God forbid that the ratings should ever plummet to such a level that they would be rivalled by the IQ of anyone stupid enough to participate in something like that (or watch it for that matter). I remember reading a comment once which suggested that morons serve a purpose because they make everyone else appear talented, attractive and intelligent. I think the same can be said for "reality" TV.

And on that note, I award the coveted Wednesday Wanker for July 5, 2006 to the entire cast of Australian Big Brother.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back to back centuries

I wonder if the sniper from Saturday is still watching me. Yesterday I went out and put on another 160km+ around the Tweed Valley just to wrap up imperial centuries on consecutive days for the first time ever. My legs initially had some complaints on the flat start through suburbia, but before too long I hit the climb of Tomewin. Intially I struggled with the opening kilometre at 11%, but somehow my legs seemed to respond to the environment. It was almost as if they decided for themselves that this was going to happen. The rest of that climb was a similar story. The conditions on the mountain, the terrain and the surroundings all seemed to give me strength just when I was ready to wilt.

Once the Tomewin climb was completed, I largely coasted through the rest of the day and just enjoyed the scenery. It was an extremely pleasant day, and the Tweed Valley is an extremely pleasant place to ride. Much of the remainder of the day seemed largely uneventful, and any doubts I had over my ability to cover the distance were now replaced with a confidence gained from the way I coasted over Tomewin. All of a sudden it just seemed like I could do this forever if I so chose. Confidence also came from the volume of touring that I had done, and I became aware that this really wasn't all that different.

Another thing that comes from touring is the desire to explore, something that got the better of me near Murwillumbah when I detoured along Old Lismore Road to the south-west of the town. My legs could have done without the climb, but the surroundings compensated. I also maintained my alertness pretty well for the duration, especially considering the finish into a slight headwind. The alertness was needed to cope with one particular moron at Currumbin, but the less said about that idiot the better.

All in all it was a very satisfactory ride, and one through which I've learned a lot. I may relate some of the lessons on this blog later in the week, when I have more time.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ever feel like you're being watched?

What exactly is that structure supposed to be?

It was noted on Upper Ormeau Road, a slight detour I took this morning just to ensure that the ride reached century proportions. For now I'm still riding computerless, and consequently have to rely on previous knowledge of rides to be sure I'm getting the distance I want to prepare for the 600k brevet on July 15 (more on that later). All in all I kept today's ride to a leisurely pace, just revelling in the near perfect winter conditions. Some of the mountain views, particularly on Tamborine were lovely too.

Something I noticed on the climb of Mt Tamborine today was that I didn't see the famous piano rock -- the rock that someone has painted what is supposed to represent piano keys onto. It's entirely possible that I just wasn't paying enough attention, but it's a feature of the Tamborine-Beenleigh road that I've always taken for granted, one of those things that adds a certain charm to an area.

As for tomorrow, I think I'll head back to the Tweed Valley to try to rack up some kilometres down there. I'm not entirely sure of the exact route I'll look for, but that always keeps things interesting in itself.