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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Friday, November 30, 2007

Nocturnal beast

It would seem that my new bike has become something of a nocturnal beast in it's first 420km or so. Since last weekend's Springbrook by night ride, virtually all of my riding (apart from commuting, which makes up fewer kilometres anyway) has been at night. Tuesday evening saw an extremely rewarding ride to the end of Tallebudgera Valley, and the glow worm colony by the creek. That was stunning, but the talking point of that evening was the fire that threatened the old Ingleside State School in another part of the valley. Fortunately, the local fire crews had this one under control, but it seems the idiots are moving further afield.

Last night I opted for the gorge ride to Little Nerang Dam. I hadn't ventured there by night for some time, and given that I was a little apprehensive about this weekend's challenges, I opted for a more leisurely pace. This gave me the chance to take in the sounds -- the crickets and the nocturnal bird calls that set night riding apart from what happens during the day, not to mention the billion stars that light up the night sky outside suburbia.

Speaking of this weekend's challenge, it involves riding the Midnight Century, the annual Audax ride from Ipswich. However, this time I'm doing it with a twist. Given the current inability of QR to provide a reliable train service on weekends, I've decided to ride to the start of the event from my home on the Gold Coast, an additional 145km if my estimate is correct, which should give me a ride a little over 300km. I haven't had a 300km ride since April, so this should be an interesting exercise, even if my main focus is time in the saddle in the lead up to the Alpine Classic in January.

Looks like my bike will remain the nocturnal beast for a little while yet.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Anything you can do...

Wunburra Lookout, Springbrook

After Beechmont turned on a beautiful day yesterday, it was Springbrook's turn this evening. My legs felt like lead climbing the mountain in the fading light -- evidently darkness takes a while to actually arrive at this time of year. Nevertheless, it didn't stop the beauty of this place from making itself apparent. First of all was the mist closing in above 920 metres -- always a special delight at night. It was for moments like this that I spent $600 on a lighting system, although that can complicate things with the white, ghostly glow that appears when lighting these conditions.

Right at the top of the mountain, a colony of fire-flies had decided to nest in a tree. The flashes of the light were quite spectacular to behold for a few moments, while I pondered the descent into the mist and the aforementioned white glow. It was soon after this that I got to watch the moon rise -- twice! The first time was on Lyrebird Ridge on the western end of the escarpment. A few minutes and a 350-metre descent later, I was able to behold a repeat performance, this time from the eastern side of the escarpment. Further down the mountain, I got another view of the glow worms that make this place what it is -- even if they're less prevalent under a full moon.

Nights like this are what living is all about.

The new start

The new bike overlooks Numinbah Valley from Beechmont

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Yesterday the Beechmont range turned on just about the perfect conditions for riding, or indeed any kind of human habitation. The temperature was pleasant, the rain kept things cool and there was very little sunshine. The early part of the ride had been a little more difficult as it was an extremely humid and muggy morning on the coastal lowlands, but once on the range enjoying the sweeping views, everything changed. It was the perfect place to debut my new bike (if I don't count the previous day's commute or dawn 43km) after getting totally forked two weeks previously.

Clouds clearing from Lower Beechmont

Mt Roberts

Coomera Gorge

There were a couple of interesting things to come from the ride. First of all there was the process of adapting to a 9-speed cassette for the first time. This was easier than I expected, and it took no time at all to find a suitable "cruising" gear. Then there was the latest stupid road construction fad to take off in this part of the world. The response of the local authorities to having a road toll among the highest per capita in the world is to pave the corners (note: only the corners) of narrow mountain roads with a smooth, frictionless surface that becomes extremely slippery in the wet.

I suppose the idea is that people will somehow mysteriously become more careful in the conditions, but I'm not sure how this applies to drunks (i.e. the ones who actually represent the majority of road fatalities), or tourists who arrive from somewhere more civilised and don't know what to expect. Perhaps I should just try to take something positive from it, set up a betting agency and offer odds on how long it takes them to scrap that ridiculous idea.

The final tally from the ride was 119km, and around 1,700 metres of climbing once I'd factored in the detours around Beechmont itself. I'll be taking more this afternoon, but for the moment, it was just what I needed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Well clearly it's been a (relatively) long time between posts. Somehow updating this page seems to have been forgotten in the last week or so. With no big rides last weekend, perhaps there hasn't been as much to talk about. In any case, it's become apparent over the last few days that the idiots have taken over this city as seems to happen at this time of year. There was the stupid car race to bring out all the hoons a few weeks ago, and now we have schoolies' week (accompanied by the traditional ceremony that involves thousands of people being arrested and then released without charge).

While my commute avoids Sufferer's Parasite (thus removing the only reason I'd ever have for visiting that place), the fever seems to have caught on up on Bundall Road. The number of lane changes I'm forced into on a standard commute to avoid idiots has doubled -- not a bad job for a 17km round trip. The slipway behind the Sorrento shops has been temporarily closed with a sign saying "This private lane way is temporarily closed." Evidently the word "private" comes about because somebody doesn't like rat-runners using it (as they do every day). Hint: Everyone already knows it's private, but unless there are some consequences of using it that are likely to affect them in some way, most of them just don't care. A sign informing them of this is largely redundant, but as I've said before, we live in an age of global tokenism.

There is some good news, with my new bike likely to debut later this week. I've gone for another hybrid, but as I related in an earlier post, the way I use it will change slightly. I've actually been checking out some potential places to take the MTB on the weekend on Google maps, but that may have to wait. Finally, I managed to see Wil Anderson in Brisbane the other night. For those not familiar with the former Glasshouse host, he's the funniest man in this country today, and also the best political satirist now that Peter Berner is apparently no longer doing that.

Finally, with just four days to go before the federal election, the final word goes to former ALP leader Mark Latham . May the least worst (i.e best scare campaign) win. We've now had basically five consecutive elections based on negative politics in this country (i.e "vote for us so you don't get stuck with them"), and I for one am a little tired of it. I'm not entirely sure whether my most recent attempt to actually stay on the electoral roll was successful, but I do know that if it wasn't, I won't be bothering next time around.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New beginning

Mangrove forests backing the Tweed Coast

Getting totally forked on the weekend may be the catalyst for a new beginning.

My hybrid bike, which has toured in three countries, and which I haven't yet got around to naming is probably going to be replaced. I have had a quick search of possible replacement forks on the Internet, and they aren't cheap. In fact, when I consider the things I'll soon need to replace on my current ride (I've only changed a single gear cable in over 8,000km), it may work out cheaper to just buy a new machine and have done with it. The best news is that I have the option to rand sack the current bike and keep the parts that still have some value, some of which may be of some use in getting The Black Magic back to a standard at which it can be used for centuries.

I think there is a lesson in this incident. While my hybrid is (was) perfectly capable of handling dirt roads, it probably wasn't up to being consistently ridden to hell and back. If I apply the old 80/20 rule, I should be able to utilise the more robust frame and forks of The Black Magic and eliminate much of the wear on the new steed, which can then be used as a touring machine, handling the occasional dirt road, but predominantly riding sealed/paved surfaces at home. I may even restore The Black Magic to a permanent commuter role, so good has it's performance been this week.

Sometimes the darkest hour can be the catalyst for a new beginning.
  • In other news, I'm getting a little tired of hearing/reading reports of road "accidents", hearing the police complaining about having to deal with so many of them, before reading the old "no charges will be pressed" line. Wake up. If the police are really tired of dealing with these incidents, they are the ones who are in the best position to do the most to stop them. How about actually enforcing the traffic laws? It's not bloody rocket science, but would probably halve the road toll within 12 months if it was actually supported by some magistrates who might actually apply the penalties written in law. Either way, if the police aren't prepared to do their job, they should resign and leave it for someone else who will.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Feeling flat (again)

That's two. After Saturday's broken forks, today I earned the first flat tyre on The Black Magic since 2005 (or possibly 2004 if I search the archives to find it). It's also my 26th flat tyre on all bikes this year. Fortunately, it happened on a section of the commute that was close enough to home that I could limp back and change it in my own garage. Slightly annoying, but after 26 of them, I'm getting used to it. The good news was that it gave me an opportunity to really test out the Zefal HPX pump that I picked up in Brisbane a little while ago. This pump may be the best investment I've made in some time.

In other news, the Spanish Redneck has written two of the most brilliant blog posts I've ever read. I don't always agree with him, but he's nailed those two issues perfectly. Anyone who can handle a bit of "adult" language is recommended to read those posts, they are both amusing and enlightening.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Tweed Valley greenery

After Saturday's attempted century I will be forced to fork out once again, as my front forks are now totally destroyed. The problem seems to have resulted from wear and tear rather than any specific incident. I now have three weeks to have it ready in time for the Midnight Century -- which I am planning to turn into a 300km ride by riding to the start in Ipswich.

Clouds clearing the ranges behind Tyalgum

The shame of it all was that I had started Saturday's ride in brilliant form in the patchy rain. I had slaughtered the Tomewin climb, and done something similar to the hills en route to Tyalgum. Along the way there had been a few showers, but the temperature was largely cooperating, and I had the pleasure of watching clouds hovering around the surrounding ranges.

Wollumbin National Park

Even after leaving Tyalgum everything seemed to be falling into place. This is the start of the 420 metre climb on dirt roads into Wollumbin National Park. The mud patches made things tricky at times, but generally it was still very negotiable. The forests here take on a whole new quality in the rain, as the lower level eucalypt forests lose some of their hardness, while the rainforest is master when there is moisure in the air.

The banks of Byrill Creek

I descended the mountain and decided to loop around through Byrill Creek and on to Uki for lunch. This was again, a very pretty ride, but these days is subject to this stupid Tweed Shire Council habit of watering dirt roads when it's already raining. Sections of this stretch were like quicksand. These days, however, the dirt doesn't go as far as it used to, and I was back on the sealed roads before the heavier rain started. It was on the seal that I realised the forks were just about history.

I considered my options, at first figuring that if I stayed on sealed roads all the way home, they might hold together. A cross-plank bridge across the Tweed River put paid to that idea, and left me with a 7km walk to Uki to find a telephone. Many times I have sung the praises of the Uki Cafe on various cycling fora over the years, this day was payback time. They were all very friendly while I waited for a ride home. It wasn't really a fitting way to end what had promised to be an epic ride, but it just wasn't to be.

I spent most of last night moping around, and concluded that a mechanical failure like this is even worse than a crash. I'll probably feel differently if I ever crash again (I don't plan on doing so), but either way, abandoned rides don't sit pretty with me. Today I did some minor work on the brakes of The Black Magic, the bike that will probably serve me for the next week or so. I haven't even thought about what the new forks will cost, but I'll likely go for something a little more robust this time around. I also need to use the MTB more often for the dirt. While the hybrid copes more than adequately, perhaps it's not quite up to riding to hell and back.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Last night was another of those nights when sleep just would not come. I managed a little early in the evening, but awoke about 11.30pm and simply could not get back to sleep. At around 1.20am I gave up and spent some time tidying my apartment, before returning to bed for another attempt. At around 2.40am, I decided it was a complete waste of time and decided to saddle up for a quick 44km ride. Thus began a beautiful, if slightly eerie couple of hours.

It was something different to see the streets of the Gold Coast so totally deserted. I've ridden through the night in the past of course, but that was in the Lockyer Valley, or previously the Tweed Valley, where there was little or no suburbia in sight. Even so, it was nice to have entire arterial roads to myself. A little later I had cleared suburbia behind Reedy Creek, and a little light drizzle started. This was just bliss. A decent south-westerly wind picked up, this somehow added to the character of the ride.

Further along I enjoyed the 2km climb of Ducats Road, followed by the screaming descent of Trees road, again, just marvelling at the beauty of the night. I began to think that perhaps this was somehow meant to be. I'm not normally a great believer in destiny and fate, but something seemed right about this ride, that somehow I had to do it. I'll probably never have a logical explanation for that feeling, and it's not something I plan on doing every night. However, for the time I was able to experience it, I loved my little bout of insomni-spiration.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Eden's Garden to the rescue

The Garden of Eden

Today's plan had been one of those challenging but beautiful Tweed Valley rides that I'm so fond of, which would have also provided November's century. I awoke to one of the most humid November morning's in living memory, and a temperature that seemed intent on just rising for the sake of it. Just as I left my cycle-computer decided to stop working. The problem seems to be in the transmitter near the sensor, probably a flat battery, because the temperature and altitude functions continued to work.

Tomewin wildflowers

I fought my way up the climb of Tomewin and descended into the valley -- only to find it was full of smoke. Evidently a large crop of sugar cane was being burned off near Murwillumbah. After copping the smoke, the heat and the dead computer all in the first two hours, I simply decided that it wasn't worth heading any further into the Tweed Valley. Instead I climbed Tomewin a second time, for the ridgetop Garden of Eden ride.

The view from the Garden of Eden

Some storm damage from earlier in the week made the dirt roads a little more interesting than normal, but this is a stunning ride, passing through rainforests and wildflowers, with sweeping views over the surrounding valleys. I'm still planning to explore some of those tracks at the western end of Garden of Eden road, but those can wait for another day. The slightly cooler temperatures of the mountain were an added advantage.

Sweeping views

Glengarrie road leads from Tomewin to Bilambil across the ridgetop. This is a challenging road for the short, steep climbs on the rocks. These require timing and anticipation as well as power bursts. At one point I hit a storm damaged patch and slid sideways quickly. I recovered, but received a nasty crack on the side of my knee from the frame. These things happen in these conditions. Overall, however, it was an extremely pleasant ride, which also provided some physical challenges of it's own.

Eden rainforest

The final stetch involved a descent to Bilambil village, a chance to absolutely slaughter the climb to Bilambil Heights, before a final suburban ride against the wind. These were mopped up clinically, but somehow the ride didn't feel as substantial as I'd been hoping. It was pretty, it was challenging, but a century was what I really wanted. I might just make up a few of those miles tomorrow.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Amazing things

Sarah Blasko

This woman has the most amazingly beautiful voice in the world.

Last night I was lucky enough to go and see Sarah Blasko in Brisbane. Every time I go to one of her shows I come away more impressed. It's often said that the true test of a live performer is to sound as good on stage as they do on CD. Sarah actually sounds better on stage, and that is no small feat, considering the quality of music she captures on CD. The combination of her voice, her stage presence and the song arrangements marks her as a truly amazing performer.

I've had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of times in the past, and on both occasions she came across as a much more genuine, down to earth person than I had expected. While listening to her last night, it dawned on me that somewhere deep inside, she surely must realise how good she is. In the meantime, I'll be keeping a close eye on her website to make sure I have tickets next time she visits this part of the world.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Best of all lookout, Springbrook

Although it's taken me forever to get around to blogging it, I did manage a decent ride last weekend. The Springbrook climb is an old favourite, and one that I never quite tire of, largely because there are so many things to see on the mountain. It's also relatively convenient, a 1,000 metre climb so close to the coast makes it one that I can easily fit in when time is short.

Purlingbrook falls

Yet despite it's relative proximity to the coast, the higher parts of the mountain still have an old world charm long left behind by the respective hoons and alcoholics that inhabit the urban lowlands. Whether this charm lasts forever is uncertain, but I'm prepared to enjoy both the charm and mountain beauty for as long as it lasts.

Half way down the mountain

The stream about to descend

While I am talking about beauty, it was remiss of me to neglect to take the camera on this morning's little 44km pre-work jaunt. It has deprived this blog of the best sunrise of 2007, and the sight of clouds lifting from Tallebudgera Valley -- the remnants of the previous evening's storm. Apparently the long-range weather forecast (as if that's reliable) predicts a few more like it in the coming months. Astonishingly, there are actually people out there that apparently believe this is bad news.