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, October 30, 2006


128km with over 1,500 metres of climbing last night was the confirmation, I just love night riding. There's just something undeniably special about being the only one around, the only one for miles late at night as the moonlight dimly casts it's spell over the surrounding mountains, forests or whatever is there.

Unfortunately, we're conditioned from an early age to perceive daylight as the time we're "supposed" to do everything, and night as the time we should all be in bed. This feeling can provide a problem when undertaking a long night ride -- particularly in the early stages. If, however, it can be overcome, the rewards are absolutely priceless.

I also saw more wildlife than usual on last night's ride, including two owls, a possum, a bat, and a koala in the canefields surrounding Murwillumbah (perhaps the last place in the world I would have expected to see one). Passing through Urliup (pictured above) for the second time in 40 hours, but this time in darkness as opposed to bright sunshine provided an entirely different perspective on a new ride.

The whole experience was a reminder that I really need to take advantage of the balmy summer nights over the next few months.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Yesterday I took a ride to the Garden of Eden at Tomewin -- high up in the Macpherson ranges behind the Gold Coast. This place has, of course, been the scene of a couple of other memorable rides in the past. Yesterday was no exception in terms of the scenery, which didn't disappoint. However, there was an overwhelming feeling that I was basically doing the ride on instinct rather than any kind of initiative.

It was perhaps a function of the heat and humidity (which generally renders the temperature irrelevant), although the forests of Urliup (above) offered some relief from that. Normally reaching Urliup and the start of the dirt is a source of excitement for me -- especially in view of the fact that it's a matter of time before this beautiful dirt road is sealed. Yesterday that "excitement" was delayed until I went into a corner too fast, skidded the back wheel and had to put my left foot down quickly to avoid crashing.

The climb of Tomewin might have tempted me into an attack, but didn't do so. Instead I adopted a more methodical approach to it, just relying on the ability to eat it up gradually, which may have been the best approach in the heat. Reaching the summit I turned onto the deviation at Garden of Eden road, following the ridgetop route as it winds through the forest.

There was a minor scare here as I descended rapidly to a fallen tree across the road, but saw it late because the various light effects caused by the sun shining through the trees concealed it. I got the brakes on hard, produced a skid much bigger than any I've ever intended to do, and missed it by literally centimetres. Sadly, that particular picture didn't work out, even if I was tempted by another shot shortly after.

After this, it was the ridgetop route on the otherside toward Bilambil and the coast. There were some steep, rocky sections here too, but again they didn't really concern me. I began to think that perhaps being on "autopilot" is the best way to do a ride like this. Feeling "lazy" means I don't concern myself with worrying about the obstructions in the road, simply riding on without a care in the world. It also provides a chance to enjoy the scenery, be it the mountain views...

... or the wildflower wonderland.

Unfortunately, the return home along the flat coastal strip against the blisteringly hot northerly wind did force me out of my comfort zone. It also created some bushfires which have forced me to delay today's ride until the arrival of the southerly change. Looks like another night expedition coming up now, although that in itself has potential. I'll just see what can tempt me this evening.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Troll Competition part 1

Having spent a number of years as a regular contributor to cycling themed Internet fora, and having virtually retired from the game (i.e. still lurking, making the occasional post but having greatly diminished involvement these days), I shall now parody of the most infamous trolls that seem to come up time and again. There will probably be a second (and maybe a third) installment because there are just so many of them. While this post is intended as satire, I was surprised while writing it just how closely some of the piss-takes resembled the actual trolls themselves.

I have recently undertaken a new Fatkins diet that I read in some obscure tabloid magazine some time ago. I think it's an outstanding success because I lost 169kg in three weeks. However, for some reason I then found that I had no energy at all and struggled with even the most basic functions of life. However, don't anybody dare tell me that this diet was the cause of my problems, there's no way they can be linked, after all, losing weight has to be healthy, so I'm gonna flame you to all hell if you disagree with me!

I was riding my unicycle to work on the shortened version of my commute (a mere 250km as opposed to my usual 400km), wearing the full clown suit when the driver of a pick-up truck raised his eyebrows at me in what was clearly a threatening manner. Now I'm normally a rational kind of guy, but this really ticked me off. What I'm wondering here is whether I should carry a gun in future to deal with psychos like this. There is, however, an equal and opposite troll:

I was out riding my bike this morning when I someone in a car yelled at me to "get off the f*cking road", before swerving at me, then throwing a full beer can at me. At first I was angry with him, then I thought back to three weeks ago when I saw a cyclist run a red light, and then I realised that all this time, the driver was the victim. After all, the cyclist who ran a red light gave us all a bad name that day (never mind the fact that everyone else at the intersection, myself included, ran the light, and that this driver probably didn't even see it). Clearly, this was what was upsetting the driver (not that I actually asked him at the time). In fact, that cyclist who ran that light three weeks ago is probably also responsible for war, famine and global warming. Man, I'd like to punch his lights out -- he ruined my ride Goddammit!

Hello, I am a newbie in need of professional assistance for (insert problem here), but I'm too lazy and too stingy to pay for these services, so I thought I'd come and ask the people here. After all, I know someone here will be able to solve my problem.

I saw a terrible newspaper article yesterday, claiming a cyclist had been killed on a road. If only he'd been wearing a helmet. The fact that he swerved across four lanes of traffic without looking first is irrelevant, after all, we all know that helmets will protect you from every possible threat, be it cars, AIDS, war, famine, natural disasters or whatever. So don't you dare try to tell me that the cyclist might have made a mistake (beyond not wearing a helmet), or that we might be able to learn something from this incident because that would be extremely callous so I'm gonna flame you to hell.

Man, I'm so sick of those helmet nazis telling me I should wear my helmet. For God's sake, it's my choice dammit and no zealot is going to tell me I should wear one. After all, they're really dorky and uncool, and I don't like things on my head (although bandages are cool and chicks dig scars). Besides, someone in the UK conducted a study from a really small sample and concluded that I'll get hit by cars if I wear my helmet (never mind the fact that everybody else who wears a helmet somehow manages to avoid being hit by cars on a regular basis).

Since the days are getting shorter now, I thought I would start looking at the sunrise and sunset times on the Internet as a way of coping with it. Don't anyone dare tell me I should consider getting lights in case the weather turns nasty on a ride or I get held up by a flat tyre or some other mechanical failure. I'll flame you to hell because they are uncool and dorky and I'm way too cool for that crap!

Hello, I'm a total and complete f*ckwit who has spent a lot of time running around various fora flaming and even making online death threats against various posters who disagreed with me. Then I came to this board because it has moderators, but strangely, when I flame people here, they still flame me back. Why? I thought the mods were supposed to stop this. Then I tried reporting one of the posts to a moderator, and they wrote back and told me to behave myself! Can you believe it? I mean, I'm also a donating member (even if my subscription doesn't come close to paying the admin's hosting fee) so I should get priority. This board sucks Goddammit!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Did anyone else catch this story as brought to my attention by Triple J this morning?

Boy Scouts are trustworthy, helpful, and now respectful of digital copyright laws since they can earn an activity patch for learning about the downside of downloading pirated movies.

The Motion Picture Association of America and the Los Angeles Area Boy Scouts of America have introduce the program to help raise awareness about respecting copyrights.

The curriculum is part of an ongoing effort to educate kids and change attitudes toward intellectual property theft, the MPAA said Friday.

It also aims to teach kids how to identify counterfeit CDs and DVDs, the consequences of film and music piracy, and why protecting copyrights is important to them and to the local economy.

Evidently boy scouts can now earn a "badge" for dobbing in copyright infringers. I guess it gives new meaning to the old expression dib-dib-dib, dob-dob-dob.

Seriously though, I reckon they could just about dob in just about everyone in the Australian top 10 on any given week, given that most popular music these days sounds exactly the same. Somebody, somewhere must have done it first, and I reckon right now they must be feeling pretty ripped off.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Beer bottles

After another broken beer bottle inspired flat tyre this morning, I am left asking the question of just why beer is still sold in glass bottles? It seems every other drink you can buy is sold in plastic bottles these days, and I've never heard of people getting drunk and smashing orange juice or milk bottles on the street. I've heard the argument that "it tastes different in plastic", but can anyone really tell the difference after three beers? If they're that worried, they could always go to the pub and drink it from a glass there. In any case, nobody seems to care that my mineral water will "taste different" so why do beer drinkers get special concern here? I suspect it's because the government is worried about hurting their tax revenue from the excise on the sale of alcohol.

Do we have to wait until a child with parents who aren't actually alcoholics (a rare commodity these days) sustains a serious injury from treading on broken beer bottle glass? Well, in this day and age the parents would probably just be labelled as "do-gooders" and told to f*ck off anyway. That seems to be the attitude to anyone who actually cares about drunks running around, smashing bottles, brawling or running people down in their cars. In fact, that seems to be the attitude of the general public to anyone who really cares about anything at all these days.

In slightly better news, I have finally managed to get hold What the sea wants, the sea will have, the lastest release from Sarah Blasko. You can take a listen to the CD of the year here, and I definitely recommend it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Spiritual rainforest

It was one of those mornings when the humidity is about 169%, when you don't bother to check the temperature because it's totally irrelevant, and when the very air itself feels like the pressure is building, and something is going to give any second. Years go I remember a short ride in these conditions to visit a friend in another town on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. I remember tiring very quickly that day, simply because of the impossibility of getting sufficient air into my lungs to perform at a high level. I've since learned my lesson.

Today I went for a more consistent pace, taking my time early, gradually getting into the ride until I'd left the coast behind, and headed inland where the humidity would be diminished. Still the feeling of something about to break persisted, and in the rainforested valley at Austinville, the rain started. It wasn't heavy, and it probably only reached what I'd call moderate in a couple of instances. Still, it was a delight to behold in the rainforest. It's an almost spiritual experience to ride through a rainforest while it is actually raining.

I actually took my time here, wanting to savour the experience (although that didn't seem to hinder my average speed too much, not that I was really bothered with that). Wanting to savour the experience was probably the right move. I've often said in the past that the biggest mistake a person can make on a ride is to come home -- that proved to be the case this morning. The day just went downhill from there. I won't go into a huge rant about it, suffice to say that my contempt for the less intelligent members of the community that I have the misfortune of being unable to avoid encountering grows.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Apparently this weekend there is a car race of some description on in Sufferer's Parasite. I had a vague idea that something was going to be happening at some stage due to all the signs on Bundall Road warning of traffic disruptions (no, Bundall road is always like that), but yesterday was the first time someone actually confirmed to me that it was this weekend. Of course, I have minimal interest in that sort of thing, it seems to be a celebration of noise and fat (even the podium girls are as big as Whales, with the spectators more closely resembling Wales).

It will, however, provide a good opportunity on Sunday to get away with few disruptions. I'm thinking I might head south, possibly to Ballina. I'm told the coastal stretch between Byron Bay and Ballina is one of the most scenic in the country. Having ridden the Great Ocean Road in the past, or the more scenic areas to the east of it, I might try this out and see if I can make a comparison.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is this what we really want?

"More bikes less cars". It's the sort of phrase we hear often from cycling advocates. Indeed, Bicycle Victoria has been using the ol' "More people cycling more often" for a number of years as their slogan. It's a phrase advocates can really sink their teeth into. After all, with so many benefits, getting people out of their cars and onto their bikes can only be a good thing, can't it? Or can it? Certainly, as a car-free transportational and recreational cyclist I know the benefits of cycling both in my own life and it's effect on the environment around me. However, I also worry about what else needs to happen to facilitate this, and what might follow.

Much of what you will read here may appear slightly selfish, but it's worth bearing in mind that most human desires of any kind are motivated by selfishness (or at least self-preservation) at least to some degree -- including many of those put forward as reasons for wanting "more people cycling more often". Bear in mind that I write this not as a new "convert" suddenly in denial about what I've been doing to the world all this time, this is not a motorist whining about cyclists, this is coming from a car-free cyclist for my entire adult life (and indeed before that), and it's not without some trepidation that I tread this path.

People talk about the environmental benefits of cycling and the reduction of resource consumption. A very notable aim. However, what is often forgotten is that cycling in and of itself, is not the sole solution to all of the world's social and environmental problems. Yes, it's part of the solution, but there are a whole range of other things that go into living sustainably which go along with it. I'm also a pragmatist. I realised some time ago that cycling was never going to have the mass appeal of driving. The perceived effort is too great, the value of "status" in western society (oftne reflected in the car people drive) is a deterrent, and finally, the perceived danger. Personally I think the development of cleaner fuels for cars is going to have a greater impact on saving the environment than any attempts to convert people to cycling.

People talk about cycling reducing traffic congestion, and this appears to be a valid point. After all, one person sitting on a bike takes up far less space than one person driving a big 4WD/SUV. Granted, I'd hate to be the poor bugger who suffered a heart attack and had to wait for an ambulance to get across the Sundale Bridge or anywhere along Bundall Road during the afternoon gridlock, so in that respect, perhaps I can't argue against reduced traffic congestion with any conviction. However, has anyone critically considered whether a road similarly clogged with bicycles would be any easier to negotiate?

Every day my current ride to work takes me along Bundall Road, passing gridlocked cars for several kilometres on end. At the squeeze point near the Sorrento Shops, I actually change lanes, passing between the lanes of traffic, simply because that's where I have more space to pass. Traffic doesn't get much heavier than this, yet the heavy, ponderous nature of the cars these people are driving makes them sitting ducks, easy to evade and pass. If all of these people were on bicycles, I fear that the traffic would be impregnable, even for a cyclist. Take a look at the early stages (i.e the first kilometre or so) of a mass ride like the Brisbane River Ride and you'll get some idea. Personally, I'm not so keen on riding in that environment every day.

While we're on the subject of these mass rides, I've also noticed the skill level that many people have on bicycles and frankly, the thought of many of them taking up cycling without any training or even a clue in most cases is really frightening. Yes, they are also a problem when they get in cars, but that least there is a nominal training and licencing program to govern this to some degree (although I agree that it could be improved). In any case, cars are heavy, ponderous beasts, and a sprightly cyclist can evade all but the most determinedly erratic of them. It's also worth noting that on these mass rides (or the rare occasions when I've used bike paths) I've seen plenty of instances of cycle rage, which bears a staggering resemblance to road rage.

The other thing that frightens me is the infrastructure that would be built to service this. Once there are a heap of unskilled and untrained cyclists on the roads, the government response is likely to be trying to build facilities to deal with it. Now this is all well and good, until a few people start making laws compelling cyclists to use these "facilities" that the government have spent big dollars putting there (this usually happens as soon as the opposition party whines about "under-utilised facilities"). It becomes even more scary when one considers the extent to which a lot of these "new" cyclists are likely to support laws aimed at simply "getting cyclists off the road" (we've already had examples of this with the M1 debacle here in Queensland).

Frankly, I have no intention of being forced into using some dumbed-down infrastructure aimed at the above purpose. The Netherlands is often spoken of as some kind of cycling nirvana by people who have never been there. To me it isn't. The prospect of having to go 4-5km out of my way on every errand I run, simply because I'm prohibited from using all but the "official bike route" doesn't fill me with a lot of enthusiasm. Nor does the prospect of being relegated to the status of slow-moving wheeled pedestrian by the aforementioned route being clogged. Then there's the rampant bike theft industry to keep me looking over my shoulder... Incidentally, I'm yet to hear any positive comments about it by people who have attempted to use those facilities for their day to day errands, but I've heard plenty of negative ones.

Additionally, has anyone considered the benefits of being a small minority, or the consequences of losing these? On slow news days, people in the media like to trot out the old "cyclists don't pay rego fees" as do a small minority of whining motorists. However, if there were ever enough cyclists on the road to make it economically viable, you can be sure such a tax would be implemented in a matter of days. As the only cyclist in my office, I get to use the undercover area to store my bike -- an area usually only reserved for people much higher up the corporate chain than myself. As the only one riding a bike to my local grocery store, I get to lock it up right near the door rather than have to trudge across a carpark, indeed, I've often deliberately "not seen" the bike rack just so I could maintain such a privilege.

As I said at the start of this post, this is not an anti-cycling rant. I am well aware that cycling has the capacity to improve our quality of life. However, I do have some concerns with the automatic assumption that simply getting people on bicycles is going to solve all of the world's problems without presenting problems of it's own. The "car culture", as some refer to it, may be big, unsightly, unhealthy and possess a whole raft of other problems. However, for the crafty cyclist it has one undeniable attribute - it can be beaten. Personally, I would rather go on beating the "car culture" everyday than see cycling ruined by a "bike culture" that takes on most of the undesirable elements of the car culture.

Monday, October 16, 2006


I took that picture late yesterday while waiting for darkness to descend for a night ride to Springbrook. I said earlier that I needed a decent night ride, however, the problem with this time of year is that it seems to take forever for afternoon to turn into evening. While winding my way up the mountain through the switchbacks, I kept wondering to myself whether it was ever going to get dark. I'd actually passed all the spots where the glow worms come out before it was dark enough to see any of them, or so I thought.

Somewhere near the summit, at around 900 metres, I passed another glow worm colony. They seemed to be incredibly bright here, I was wondering how I missed them six months ago when I last ventured here by night. It was actually a surprise to find them on that part of the mountain, given that these creatures normally stay nearer to creeks. In terms of altitude, this may be the highest glow worm colony in the state, or even the country.

That said, Springbrook is an amazing place. Nearer the summit, 3,000 year old antarctic beech trees survive in a climate that probably hasn't seen a winter since the last ice age. I actually got an idea of just how that might have come about when I descended the road that switches across to the eastern side of the mountain escarpment and felt a sharp touch of cold air. Why it would suddenly turn up on that side of the mountain I have no idea. I can only guess that it's the side that loses the sun first in the evening. The views back to the coast on the descent were spectacular, even if my touch on the camera couldn't do them justice.


The other definition of waiting came today. I ventured to a CD store expecting to get the latest album from Sarah Blasko, only to be told I have to wait another week. I am not normally impatient about things like this, but we are talking about Sarah Blasko here. The couple of tracks I've heard thus far indicate that it will be worth waiting for.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is this really necessary?

I know Koalas are facing extinction in some parts of the country, but to they really need to resort to this to endear themselves to the public?

That was one of the sights of yesterday's morning ride to Binna Burra, another day another mountain climb.

The thing that really stands out about this ride, as always, is the stretch across the top of the Beechmont range that offers superb views on both sides. Someone paid $17 million for an apartment in one of the high rises in Surfers Last week, probably for views inferior to what I get for free everytime I ride up that particular mountain. About the only thing I did wrong was leaving a little too late and getting caught in the sun without protection. I didn't get badly burned, but it was enough to be uncomfortable. I suppose it's just a warning with summer only two weeks old.

In other news, I went to Brisbane to see Wil Anderson last night. It was just about the funniest thing I've seen all year. If anyone reading this ever gets the chance to go to one of his shows, take it (unless, of course, you're Shannon Noll).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Do you remember the first time?

I seem to be in the middle of a long gap between "real" bike tours right now, my next one probably won't be until around July of next year. Since riding the stretch between Beaudesert and Boonah a couple of months ago (for the first time since my first bike tour in 2000), I've been asking myself what I would have done differently, had I attacked that particular tour with the touring experience I have now. It's no secret that I was naive about a number of things on that initial ride through South Queensland and Northern NSW. Interestingly, however, there probably aren't a lot of things that I would change in hindsight.

I probably would have liked to have done the ride with better equipment. However, given my budget at the time (I had been living technically below the poverty line for a decade), that probably wasn't a realistic possibility. As it was, the tent I was using did it's job, as did the sleeping bag. They were just a bit heavier than newer and more expensive products would have been. The thing that I seemed to lack most of all was confidence. More specifically, the confidence to get right off the beaten track.

This may sound ridiculous, but at the time I actually felt more comfortable riding on the highways than the back roads. After all, I had been commuting on the Gold Coast a number of years by that stage, and I was very confident in dealing with traffic. What I didn't have, was the confidence to deal with some of the rougher terrain in the more remote places I was expecting to find. Of course, subsequent tours (particularly Tasmania) have shown that phobia up to be completely ridiculous, but it's sometimes astonishing what we fear before we conquer it. Most people would probably have a heart attack over that traffic that I ride through each day to get to and from work, yet it doesn't bother me at all.

Sometimes I get a desire to take two weeks and "re-do" the ride. That is, ride to the same destination, only this time using the routes that I would now choose, as opposed to what I chose at that time. There are probably some sections where I would need to use the same route, but I'd still make a lot of changes. That desire is usually tempered by the difficulty in finding the two weeks off. After all, I've now moved on to bigger and better things in cycle touring -- I'll need my vacation time in Scotland next year. On the other hand, the desire to get back to the place where I cut my teeth, the place where I began to realise just what I was capable of, still won't die. Perhaps I've give in to it and go back... one day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's on again...

Perhaps surprisingly for the Gold Coast, the traffic on my ride to work actually diminishes considerably during the school holidays. This means that the gridlock I normally experience has been strangely absent for the last couple of weeks. It was also not there yesterday, but then, the three day weekend seems to be something of an Australian tradition. This morning, however, as I waited at the red light for the chance to jump on Bundall Road, it was there like a long lost friend.

The thing about gridlock (at least on a moderate-sized city like this one) is that there always seems to be at least one idiot who thinks that somehow it won't apply to their car -- that they can somehow get through it where nobody else can. Of course, they're wrong everytime, but watching them try is often quite entertaining nonetheless. The only thing I need to be aware of is this irrational desire I have to accelerate and pass them after they've provided the entertainment. After all, it's not as if I need to accelerate much to pass them once they hit the gridlock.

The other thing that might be coming back is the wet season. Now that truly is something I've missed. This evening I was riding through Austinville after a short, sharp squall of rain had passed. I just love those shapes the mist throws at you when the cloud forming in the valley is illuminated by a powerful headlight at night. Hopefully it's the precursor to some awesome mountain mist riding in the coming months.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Last night I actually attended a sporting event for the first time in years. I went to the football (note: that's what the uneducated refer to as "soccer") match between Australia and Paraguay. The tickets were a little more expensive than might have been wise for someone trying to save money to travel, but as a one-off I figured it wouldn't make a huge amount of difference in the overall scheme of things.

It was an exciting match, but the frustrating aspect was the Australian team's traditional problem of finding that final ball into the penalty area to actually make their dominance of the game count. Looking at the final score (1-1) one would conclude it was an evenly fought match, but that was far from the truth. Paraguay barely had a noteworthy attack all game, yet Australia's inability to create anything in the final third from open play kept them in the match.

When Tony Popovic headed in from a set piece to give Australia a 1-0 lead inside the last two minutes, I really thought we could hang on. As it was an own goal from Michael Beauchamp levelled things. Nobody in the stadium could believe it when it went in, but I suppose that's the nature of football. I had a good night regardless of the result, but I need to work on my photography of action shots clearly.

Below: The teams lining up for the national anthems at the start, a rare Paraguayan attack in the first half, and some of the Australian players celebrating what should have been the winning goal.

It could have been worse

$160 yesterday, and a further $950 spread over the remaining months of 2006. Well, it could have been worse, my touring plans for 2007 are still alive -- albeit on life support. The dental procedure yesterday wasn't as painful as I had been expecting, even if it wasn't entirely comfortable. I guess the moral here is that I shouldn't be so careless with my teeth as I have been in the past. In fact, considering the way I treated them in my early teens, it's probably a wonder I have any teeth at all left.

Before the dental appointment I took a quick 66km ride out to Currumbin Valley. I might have added some more with the detour to Piggabeen if I'd had the time, but I just didn't yesterday. I really need to make the most of the Piggabeen detour, because the views are about to be ruined forever by a housing estate. Fortunately, it hasn't expanded to the western end of the valley... yet.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Tomorrow is D-day for my touring plans in 2007. After tomorrow's visit to the dentist, I'll have an idea of what it will cost for that much needed work on my teeth. Having put it off once already, I won't be putting it off again. Early estimates suggest that it could be as high as $2,000, but I'll know more in 14 hours' time.

I had originally been planning a ride around Scotland or Wales, or possibly even riding the length of the UK from Land's End in the South to John O'Groats in the north (assuming I got enough vacation time for the detours that I would inevitably take). After riding New Zealand's South Island earlier in the year, the intention was to go somewhere completely different just to avoid comparisons, and I figured visiting a few castles may be a way to facilitate this (although I did visit a castle on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin).

I am, however, reduced to considering other options should this one not come off. The two that are "in the lead" at present would be riding from Perth to Esperance (and back again?) in Western Australia, or returning to New Zealand to ride the North Island this time -- probably Auckland to Wellington, taking in the Coromandel Peninsula and the East Cape, with a possible detour to Rotorua. Yes, I know, I'm rambling again, but even "second-choice" tours are things I'd rather think about than a visit to the dentist! The ride to
Mt Buggary from a couple of weekends ago has also fired up the juices for local touring. There are just too many places to ride full stop.

For this weekend, I'm probably heading for Currumbin Valley for a gentle spin in the morning, if only because I haven't been there for ages. I'll be in Brisbane on Saturday night and part of Sunday (more on that later), and consequently I'll look for a night ride of decent length on Sunday, possibly up to 130km. I haven't had a long night ride for a while, I'm actually quite looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I hit a cat on my ride last night. It wasn't intentional, and I'm certainly not proud of the fact, it just happened. Somewhere in Tallebudgera Valley a cat darted across from the left-hand side of the road. I took a swerve to the right, figuring it would just turn around and run back off the road, but that didn't happen. It kept going across my line until it ran into my front wheel. Fortunately by this stage I'd managed to get the brakes on enough to avoid inflicting any serious injuries, and the animal was able to run off the road after the incident.

It was the first time I've ever hit anything bigger than a canetoad, and unlike all those collisions with canetoads, this one was a genuine accident. It had been a freaky night all round. Virtually every dog in the valley barked at me, although none of them were brave enough to give chase for some reason. It's surprising just how many dogs are around when theyall bark. The big, irrational south-westerly wind promised rain but didn't deliver (much to my disappointment). About the only constant was the glow worms that came out to greet me in that little grove by the creek at the end of the road.

Still, 59km after work is always good. I just hope my first impressions were right and the cat wasn't seriously injured. Maybe I should just be glad it was my bike that delivered the lesson and none of the cars that would have passed down that road on either side.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

That's it, it's all over!

Another tabloid cycling "statistic", this one pointing out that males between the ages of 30-39 are more likely to be killed than other cyclists. Having just joined that group, I suppose I should just hang up the bike now, right? I mean, it's not as if the experience of riding over 150,000km without breaking so much as a fingernail is going to be of any use to me is it? Especially if the statistics indicate otherwise.

Yes, I'm being a touch flippant, but both regular readers of this page will, of course, be aware that I generally have little respect for the tabloid press. It's worth remembering their previous
"if you wear a helmet you'll get hit by cars" effort. That said, it did keep people entertained on cycling-themed Internet message boards for a few days. In fact, I think the thread was still going on the bike-qld email list two days ago.

In this case
Kimbofo was the one to smell the rat. Here in Australia (where the "study" was apparently conducted) around 80% of cyclists are male, and I'd suggest a goodly number of those are in the 30-39 age group. Law of averages probably suggests it should be this group who are therefore involved in the greatest number of crashes.

Actually, further down the page, once one reads past the "beware" headline, someone actually says something useful, pointing out that there is a total and complete lack of data indicating what actually causes the crashes. Now if we could just get someone to actually investigate this aspect, or (God Forbid) actually ask some experienced real-world cyclists for their opinions in this matter, we might get some progress.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Le tour de Tweed

It's about time someone slaughtered some dial-up Internet connections. That someone is me. Yesterday's ride turned on yet another beautiful day for what is probably the 20th century I've ridden this year. I'll have to confirm that later. This is always a good way to start a ride.

There was too much haze around in the early stages for the mountain scenery at Tomewin to live up to it's usual standard. Now it was time to pay attention to the rockpools, waterfalls, wildflowers and forests.

On the way home I took a detour along a dirt road called Richards Deviation. I think the name of that road is as much a part of the attraction as the scenery it passes through. It also added a couple of kilometres of distance, and a few more hills -- including the return to Murwillumbah over the old Pacific Highway. I may have paid for that a little as I tired a bit on the final climb at Bilambil, but it was worth the effort. In fact, it makes me wonder why I don't always return that way.

The final tally of the day was 171km, with about 1,870 metres of climbing. Not the hardest ride of the year, but a very rewarding way to spend a Sunday nonetheless. The only real downside was coming home to the sounds of another domestic dispute among one of my neighbours. That doesn't provide a lot of incentive to remain in my garage and do my post ride stretches. Maybe I should have just stayed out and kept riding.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


It's now official. As of today I am no longer in my 20's. It's also official that, contrary to what everyone else thinks I should do, I have no intention of growing up just yet.

There were a number of thoughts that came into my mind in relation to this particular "milestone" on the early stages of today's ride. I suppose the first one is the thought of just how much faster the years seem to pass as we grow older. Why this should be so I don't know, I suppose it has to do with relativity and the fact that as each year passes, it represents a progressively smaller fraction of my time in this world. I know for a fact that I've done more with my life in the last seven years or so than in the previous 23, but for some reason those recent years have passed by much faster. On the other hand, maybe keeping busy is a way to pass the time faster.

My views on the world have also changed considerably in recent years. Not so much in terms of what I'd like to see happen in the world, but more in terms of what I realistically expect will happen. It's fair to say that I'm a lot more cynical at 30 than I was at 20. These days I seem more concerned with simply trying to make the best of whatever situation throws itself at me, regardless of what I think of that situation.

A couple of other things I've realised. Most of the people, institutions and organisations we were taught to respect are not worth the time of day. Most of the people, institutions and organisations we were taught to loathe and fear aren't nearly as bad as made out to be. What others think of me and the way I live is a totally irrelevant and pointless distraction -- I'm better of saying "screw it and follow your conscience and your dreams". Well, I probably knew those all along, but the further I go through life, the sharper the focus they are thrown into.