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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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three days

There are now just three days until I catch my flight out of here. I wasn't intending to make a post at this time, but the last few days have been interesting in and of themselves. In one moment on Sunday, the Scottish adventure was almost over before it began. I had set off for a final long ride with a long-time riding partner, we had just escaped suburbia and were now making our way through the rainforest of Urliup on that lovely little dirt road.

There are a couple of nasty corners on a descent to a causeway here, and it was a momentary loss of concentration that almost proved my undoing. The back wheel skidded away alarmingly, but I reacted quickly to retrieve the situation, only to be confronted with a rather nasty angle on the crossing of a surprisingly wet causeway (surprising, because there was no real rain about in the days prior). It was either luck, a magnificent piece of judgement, or simply a situation that wasn't really as bad as I thought. It was also a wake-up call. Whatever else it was, I negotiated it without incident and continued on a little wiser.

Sunday's dirt and the rain over the last couple of rides to/from work have led to a rather interesting situation in the state of my bike. I suppose the quarantine requirements will ensure the need to at least give it a clean. On the other hand, I'll be arriving in London, a city notorious for bike theft (from what I've been hearing), and a little dirt on the frame can often "devalue" a bike in the eyes of a thief. While on the subject of thefts, I'll also need to keep a particular eye on my front wheel just incase anyone has designs on that rather expensive hub dynamo.

In other news, I no longer have to worry about reading material for a 26-hour flight. A work client has rather generously loaned me a book about a chapel near Edinburgh. Of course, now I'll just have to find the time to visit it. I am already in awe of the history of this place.

Finally, there are a couple of things I want to make clear from the outset. First of all, I'm hoping for a better run than I had with the wind in New Zealand. I don't mind the occasional headwind, but copping 90km/h in my face for several days on end does test my patience a little. I'll be happy with a 50/50 ratio of head/tail winds. The sixteen flat tyres for the year so far can get lost for a while. I think I've had enough practice at changing them for a while.

This blog will now go "on hold" for a month or so. I don't intend taking it down, but I probably won't have time to update this and the journal , and the uploading of hundreds of pictures will have to wait until I get home. In any case, the journal has a guestbook for anyone who wants to keep in touch while I'm over there (yes, that includes both of you). So, until I return, Bon-Voyage, or whatever those people say.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Le tour de Burringbar

How many different ways are there to climb the Burringbar range? Martin and I checked out four of them on Sunday. Granted, we descended two of them, but we've climbed those ones before. I've been able to pick out one or two others to explore later with some help from

The real ride on Sunday started with the winding rainforest ride through Urliup. This is, of course, stunningly beautiful, but it was almost rather ugly from a personal perspective. I went into a left-hand corner too fast on the dirt, lost the back wheel and only just managed to get it back. The tour of Scotland flashed before my eyes for a second, but at least it kept me on my toes for the remainder of the day.

This time we opted to climb out of the Murwillumbah industrial area. Perhaps not the way to start such a beautiful ride, but it was fairly easy to get out of. Since we were here last, another gravel road has been added to link up to an old fire trail just outside the National Park. I think it was supposed to ease the gradient, but when an inclinometer reads 22%, you have to wonder. Reaching the summit (after some ups and downs and some 12-15% climbs along the way), the views were grand.

Along the way I spotted another track that could lead to an even more impressive viewpoint. Not today, but some day -- I have to leave something to discover next time. We eventually descended to Burringbar (the town), before detouring toward the coast on the old Cudgera Creek road. Actually, mentions some potential detours here too, but they too, will have to wait for another day.

After this, the ride home was relatively simple. I made a point of absolutely nailing the climb at Round Mountain leading back toward Murwillumbah (it's only 2km long, but I nailed it anyway). We grabbed a snack at a cafe just out of town, before splitting up because I wanted a few more kilometres. I detoured back along Cane road -- proving that this road will always provide a headwind no matter which way you're pedalling -- then returned via the back climb over Terranora.

This was another great ride relatively close to home, and the steep gradients on the dirt gave me a chance to test out the new "granny" gear I've just fitted. I will need to clean some of the dirt off my bike before flying out this weekend, and the forecast of rain to come has complicated things a little. I'll just let it happen and worry about it on Thursday. For now, I'll just enjoy the afterglow of a memorable 164km.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Sometimes it takes me too long to update this page. The promised high winds from earlier in the week didn't eventuate. I had a feeling this would be the case when the Bureau of Meteorology website managed to avoid getting quite as excited about the forecast as the tabloid "news" sources did. Still, it was nice to get the opportunity to finally ride in some cooler temperatures (even if they didn't last long).

There's something placid and relaxing about those cooler temperatures. It's not something that drains you the way the summer humidity does, but it does tend to take the edge of whatever trepidation one is feeling at the time. Wednesday morning I recorded a minimum temperature of 4 degrees C while taking a pre-dawn ride to Little Nerang Dam. It somehow become one of those rides that I really wanted to savour. Even when I realised I had to hurry things along a little due to time constraints, I didn't feel agitated in any way. Perhaps that might explain the more laid-back attitudes I find in people I meet when I visit places with cooler climates than this one.

In other news, I appear to have just about tied up all the loose ends in my life before going away. The process has been more than a little frustrating, and at different times I've "vowed" to sue government agencies whose incompetence annoyed me (and cost me money), and even start my own country to avoid having to deal with them again. Unfortunately, we seem to have created a society where nobody can think for themselves, and can't even so much as press a button on a computer to print a document they've stored for years without orders sent in, sent back, signed in triplicate etc etc. Then of course, they act all surprised that anyone should get annoyed when they fail to meet their stated "service standards".

They're no longer interfering with my life for the moment, so I no longer care about them, but it has been a frustrating process. About the only saving grace has been these placid early morning rides to reduce the stress levels for a couple of hours each day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Winding me up

Apparently the weather forecast for tomorrow includes a strong wind warning. The truth of the matter is that the real damaging winds are expected to hit further down the coast, but that hasn't stopped people up here carrying on about 90km/h windgusts that are supposed to arrive. Of course, this would be no big deal to someone in New Zealand (where the above picture was taken), but in an area like this one where we generally don't get a lot of weather, it's enough to put everyone on high alert.

What was really interesting is that during the day -- even before I'd become aware of the forecast, I could feel something happening inside me. It was a feeling almost like I was preparing for an epic ride. When I heard the forecast (through an email from someone at work), I wasn't even particularly surprised. Somehow, I just knew. I've heard that some animals can instinctively predict the weather. Ants move to higher ground when it's about to rain, and I remember as a kid near Newcastle in 1989 (the scene of an earthquake), our cat disappeared for three days beforehand.

Just what this says about me I don't know. Maybe it's just the endorphins from last weekend kicking in at the same time by sheer coincidence, maybe it's the fact that my next major bike tour is now just 10 days away, or maybe there's a deeper meaning after all. Whatever it is, it's enough to fill a blog post that should keep people amused in one form or another for at least a few seconds.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The rivers run

Last week I got in touch with Martin, and old riding partner. Initially it was to for "identity verification" purposes for some travel documents that I need to get together. As it was, we decided to go for a ride together today. It should have all been fairly straightforward, a simple 100km or so, but rides I do with Martin rarely turn out as planned. Initially there was a small matter of chasing a couple of other riders down the coastal strip for some fun, but it was after clearing Urliup to the south and heading for Murwillumbah that it really started.

I was absolutely insistent that Tumbulgum Road would lead to Tumbulgum, despite the logical impossibility of it (i.e. on the wrong side of the Tweed River) and the "No Through Road" signs. It almost did, too, with a very pleasant ride by the river before leading to an absolutely definite dead-end, with no way of progressing further apart from swimming with the bike. We weren't deterred by this -- after all, we were the ones who crossed a flooded causeway at night on a 170km ride two years ago.

We backtracked on some other farm roads, which ultimately led to dead-ends. Then we went cross-country, now looking to get back to the way we originally came. The line of telegraph poles in the distance sort of indicated we were on the right track, it was just a matter of negotiating obstacles (i.e. carrying bikes across rickety log "bridges") and riding through the mud to get there. Actually, the mud didn't deface the $580 of new components on my bike a great deal, but I was rather concerned about the prospect of dropping the bike off the "bridge".

Finding our way back to the river seemed almost anti-climactic in the end -- the adventure was effectively over. We returned home via Tumbulgum (the right way this time) and Terranora along a back road. Terranora itself isn't particularly impressive these days, but the back road climb remains beautiful. I'd probably do it more often if it led to somewhere more interesting. That's a ride to ponder for the future I suppose.

The overriding feeling at the end of this ride was a return to the "joys" of the half-day ride. I've done so few rides of this length (115km total) recently, largely because I've been insisting on riding a "century" virtually every week. This ride, while shorter, was ridden with a higher intensity level than one could ever sustain on the longer rides, and presented some different challenges. I really should do this sort of thing more often than I've been doing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

So who needs a car?

It's amazing how many people whine about how their car is keeping them broke. If it isn't fuel prices (which are still cheap in this country by world standards anyway), then it's the repairs, the rego, the repayments, or even the fact that the thing loses half of it's value as soon as you drive it out of the show room. Of course, not owning a car I don't have any of those problems. However, I'm just about to drop $600 on bicycle repairs, so perhaps I'm not getting off as lightly as some think.

Basically I need new pedals, a new saddle, a new chain & cluster, cables and several other things before I head to Scotland, which is now just two weeks away. Who needs a car when a bicycle is quite capable of keeping me broke?

It seems that just about everyone wants money off me right now -- even my Internet provider tried to overcharge me (they were soon talked out of that). That said, I'm sure when I ride the new components this weekend I'll feel better. I guess the real benefit in having my bike is knowing that the average car's fuel bill will tear up the $600 in no time, while I should now be clear for at least a few months.

Incidentally, I have to ask why there is so much whining going on about oil companies supposedly "overcharging" for fuel. If this was any other commodity in the economy, everyone would be saying that the company has a right to charge whatever people are prepared to pay and make as much money as possible from it, after all, it's just capitalism, right?

Heck, if I started publicly whining about farmers or bakers supposedly "profiteering" by charging too much for bread, I'd quickly be shouted down and branded a "communist", yet it seems people can whine about fuel prices and somehow a company making a profit here is now evil. Isn't it funny how quickly people who call themselves "capitalists" suddenly morph into communists when it suits them?

Monday, June 11, 2007

False alarm

Well, the "sunspot" on my face turned out to be nothing. Having already had a skin cancer removed earlier this year, I suppose it always pays to be cautious about these things. There is, however, still a nagging feeling that it was a waste of time, but that's probably a lesser evil than still worrying about it. The most effective means of eliminating these nagging thoughts is to find something else to do, which I promptly did this weekend.

It started with a ride through Currumbin Valley on Saturday morning before seeing the doctor. At one stage in 2005 I was riding here almost every weekend, so it's something of a surprise that it was only the second time I'd ventured this way in 2007. It's always a pretty ride, and I can always find something to keep me amused. I was also reminded here that despite all the fuss made over the "rain" last week, a lot more is needed. Nevertheless, there seemed to be plenty of greenery around, despite the falling creek levels.

Sunday was an opportunity to re-visit one of the Tweed Valley rides that I've almost neglected thus far this year. It almost didn't happen. First I took far too long to get ready, then 3km into the ride I realised I'd left without my trusty Camelbak. At that point I also realised I'd well and truly overdressed for the conditions (which were about 3 degrees warmer than predicted, but a cynic like me should have seen that coming). Fortunately, I quickly pulled myself together and got on with the ride.

In doing so, I found a new strategy for attacking the early steep section on the Tomewin climb (one that I later used on the return via Bilambil) taking advantage of the false flat where the gradient is "only" 8%. Attacks on hills aside, Sunday was a wonderful day to be out. The southerly kept "winter" temperatures down to a reasonable level (I think I only recorded a max of 25 degrees C), and the views over the mountains were as clear as I've ever seen them.

About the only annoyance of the whole weekend was the group of drunken morons who had decided on a bottle smashing contest on one of the dirt roads the evening before, and on a road-blocking contest on the Sunday. I managed to evade them fairly easily as it turned out -- glad of my peak-hour lane-splitting skills. The rest of the ride was, however, very pretty, with the greenery of the surrounds once again evident.

I went through a ritual in the final stretch of setting myself a target "arrival time" for the last 40km or so -- one that seemed impossible at that stage. I then when through he phases of "don't be stupid" (at the bottom of the Bilambil climb), "I might just bloody do it" (at the top of said climb), "Piece of cake" (at the start of the final flat coastal stretch with a tailwind), and finally "well, at least I got close" (after being stopped by the umpteenth red light on the way back). It was an interesting exercise, but a largely pointless one on reflection. Still, it might help in preparation for the Audax season next year.

Right now I'm trying to build everything up to the Scotland tour which is now just 18 days away. In one sense, not going away to the Darling Downs as I'd originally intended was a blow, but in another, I'm glad to have put another imperial century into my legs at the weekend (187km on Sunday's Tweed Valley ride). It's now just a matter of how I fill the remaining two weekends.

I'm considering contacting the Brisbane Bicycle Touring Association about something next weekend, but I'm not sure yet. The ride itself isn't huge, but getting there and back would give me some kilometres, with the added bonus of self-sufficiency. On the other hand, there are several local rides here calling my name. Obviously I have 24 hours to make a decision, and it's all just too hard. Too many rides and not enough weekends.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Spot of bother

It's that time again. Three weeks before I set off on a bike tour, something has to rear up and appear to be a problem. Here is the list so far:

2000 Queensland tour: hit by a car three weeks beforehand - continued riding without even a twitch.
2001 Queensland tour: nasty crash on a wet roundabout three weeks beforehand - back on the bike in two days
2002 Victoria tour: old knee injury flared up three weeks beforehand - gone the next day.
2003 Tasmania tour: hit by a car in a hailstorm three weeks beforehand - continued riding without even a twitch.
2004 Victoria tour: stupid peak-hour crash on the sundale bridge - got up and fixed my brakes before the gridlock even moved.
2006 New Zealand tour: A wisdom tooth decided on a change of direction and had to be removed.

Now in 2007, I have another sunspot that has appeared on my face. It should be removed easily enough, but I'm going to do it tomorrow rather than let it potentially develop into a skin cancer. It does mean I won't be able to get away for the long weekend, but there are plenty of local rides to keep me entertained in the meantime. It just means the Crows Nest/Lake Perseverance tour will need to be put off once again, but I can live with that for now. I guess it will just keep me on my toes when I get to Scotland.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ouch, that hurt!

It was last night that I was taking a gentle recovery ride through the rainforest of Austinville. This place is truly serene during the evening, and it's place to breathe deeply and take in the rainforest air. Unfortunately, my meditative experience was disturbed by a rather large rock. It didn't cause me to crash, but it did skid backwards off my front wheel, coming back toward my right foot at some indeterminable speed, just as my right food was swinging over the pedal in the opposite direction.

The speed at which it all happened meant that I didn't have time to move my foot into such a position that I could deflect the rock with the sole (which is a little more robust than the rest of the shoe). Consequently, I now have a rather nasty blister on the big toe of my right foot. It's not a major problem, but it was sore for the entire ride home last night. For all that, it was still a very pleasant ride. The glow worms are coming back after the storm that took a lot of them away two months ago, and having the headlight light up all the rainforest ferns as I ride through is an almost spiritual experience.

Unfortunately, I can't be so complimentary about my ride to work today. In the morning it was idiot city -- even more so than usual (which by Gold Coast standards is saying a lot). On the ride home I had to negotiate my 14th flat tyre for the year. If practice makes perfect, I must be getting pretty good at changing flat tyres.


I figured this was going to happen sooner or later, has been sold. It's perhaps a surprise that I should even write about this at all, given that I've rarely ventured there over the last two and a half years. Nevertheless, as one of the earlier ones to join that site, it was interesting to watch it's development since early 2000, and to observe just how accurately on-line communities reflect the same issues as other communities.

According to the messages on the site at the time, that forum was originally started because many of the on-line fora around in those days were full of semi-adolescent trolls with little more to do than get involved in flame wars, spam, or just generally disrupt the flow of the board for the other users. Joe figured he could build a better forum, and he did. While I might look at the forum now and wonder why I spent so much time there between 2000 and 2004, the fact is that it was an extremely entertaining and informative place. I was even happy to accept the role of moderator when asked in December 2002.

Toward the end of 2004, however, I could see things changing, and not always for the better. The traffic was increasing to the point where moderators would have had to spend more time online than they probably would have liked to keep the place in order, the sort of flamers and trolls* the forum had been set up to avoid were arriving among the exponentially increasing traffic. I was also starting to feel as though just about every topic had already been argued back and forth enough times to lose my interest, and at the end of 2004 I advised Joe to find another moderator because I wasn't going to be around much anymore.

Even by then I got the impression that he was starting to lose enthusiasm for the whole project, and I couldn't really blame him. I have no idea what price he got for the forum, but I hope it was a good one. While I think the place has gone downhill in recent years (probably a direct function of it's popularity, which ruins most things), at it's peak it provided a lot of enjoyment and knowledge for the many who used it, and the fact is that nothing has really replaced it. That said, I doubt if I'll ever get involved in a lot of those discussions again regardless, these days I really don't see the point.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Both of the regular readers of this blog will probably be aware that I haven't had a substantial ride for a while -- four weeks exactly to be specific. I really needed to pull out something big on the weekend. Fortunately, I knew exactly where to go on Saturday. It was a ride with stunning scenery, remoteness and switchback mountain climbs on dirt roads, and a really epic-sounding name. It was Mt Jerusalem.

The thing that became really apparent from quite early in the piece (i.e. after I had cleared Murwillumbah and got onto Reserve Creek Road) was how much I needed this ride. It was more than just the physical work-out or the surroundings, it was the solitude. In a world in which we are often forced to simply "get it done" to meet deadlines, it was nice for once to take the time to smell the flowers and just look at the world around me.

The big climb of the day was, of course, Mt Jerusalem itself. The fact that this climb is on dirt roads essentially means that it requires perseverance. Attacking to any great extent simply won't work because of the road surface -- especially in the bits that are 13%. It's just one where you need to keep plugging away. It does, however, pass through a variety of forest types along the way, occasionally giving way to amazing views, so there's plenty to keep the cyclist occupied here.

I'd been concerned about fading toward the end of the 195km jaunt, but it never really happened. Finishing with a tailwind probably helped a little, but overall my fitness is better than I thought. This is encouraging with my Scotland tour now less than four weeks away (I really need to set up the separate web page for that ASAP). I do, however, have some other long rides planned over the next few weeks. One of the things about being spoilt for choice in ride types (perhaps more so than I often realise), is that it can be a long time between doing a ride twice. I intend to break that "drought" in a couple of locations this month.