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

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

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

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

Crazy Guy on a Bike

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

Johns Cycles

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

St Kilda Cycles

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


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

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

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

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

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

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

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

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

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

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

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

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

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

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

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

What can I say? Just read it.

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

More cycling blogs

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Sunday, December 30, 2007


Palms in Urliup

Recognition is a strange thing that can come at anytime. Yesterday I paused to snap the above picture at Urliup, when someone who was out jogging on the dirt road that I hadn't met before recognised me from this blog. It's not entirely incomprehensible, given that this page would probably appear in the top 10 results if one typed "Urliup" into any search engine, but it was still quite a surprise. They also invited me to drop in for a chat anytime I feel like it, and I may take up that offer one day. I should just be glad it happened at Urliup rather than a place like Ipswich or Caboolture that's received less flattering treatment from these pages.

The Garden of Eden overlooks Mt Warning

As to the ride itself, I continued through moist air, climbing Tomewin to head for the Garden of Eden. Inspired by last week's effort, I rode The Black Magic again. It's interesting to note some aspects about riding long distances on an MTB. While the acceleration isn't the same as other bikes, they are remarkably smooth when you're just holding a consistent rhythm. That would be telling later on.

I crossed the old Glengarrie Road across the top of the range, taking in the spectacular views, negotiating mud patches and climbing on the rocks. Here The Black Magic was in it's element, but the bursts of acceleration that I normally associate with this stretch just didn't seem necessary, and it was negotiated with ease. At the summit I opted to descend on the Zig-Zag road - a shorter option, but with more dirt these days as the rich boys are moving in below. It also has more interesting views, and I'd made up the distance I needed on the Garden of Eden road at the other side. The consistent descent and the roaring tailwind that pushed me home made for an embarrassingly easy finish to the adventure.

The Zig-Zag road

Somewhat less clear-cut has been the pursuit of accommodation for my Alpine Classic adventure next month. After thinking I had it all taken care off on Friday, I received an e-mail from the place I was staying in Bright advising me that the room I'd booked wasn't available after all, but someone had forgotten to update their page on That's poor, but fortunately I've been able to make other arrangements.

Meanwhile, my two nights in Melbourne on either side will be spent at the same backpacker hostel that I stayed at in 2002 on my first visit, just before my tour in Western Victoria. I've actually thought quite a bit about riding the Great Ocean Road a second time, and there's a small feeling of nostalgia about this coincidence. The Great Southern Randonee is on this year, covering that particular piece of territory. I probably won't be ready for the 1200, but the 600 is a distinct possibility.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Riding in the clouds

Best of all Lookout, Springbrook

On Christmas morning I was able to get away for a few hours to take a ride up to Springbrook and indulge in some cloud watching, on the first Christmas day in over a decade that wasn't 39 degrees C. This basically involved watching the clouds lifting out of the Tweed Valley hundreds of metres below on the back of a strong southerly wind. Words aren't really needed for things like this, and they probably can't do it justice. Just sit back and look at it.

Once the clouds had lifted, I headed back to the eastern side of the escarpment and took in some more stunning views at Goomoolahra, and the 3,000 year old Antarctic Beech trees. Springbrook is one of those really special places -- no matter where else in the world I visit, I can always come back here and just marvel at the beauty of it all.

Nothofagus owns you



Monday, December 24, 2007

It's not far


Sometimes I don't have to go far from home to stir things up and discover some worthwhile riding experiences. So it proved on the weekend. Saturday was a short, early ride into Tallebudgera Valley, with the intention of escaping the blistering heat. That failed of course, but it was still a rewarding ride. The recent rain did provide some relief in the form of an overflowing creek that had to be crossed. Hitting some cool water all of a sudden is an extremely refreshing experience.

Something to look forward to

Tallebudgera Valley

I did manage one detour for the sake of a little extra climbing. The name "Petsch Creek Road" should inspire visions of a ride through a forest along a creek bed. The reality is an 18% climb to a place where Tallebudgera Falls are probably flowing again behind some newly planted trees. Still, the views over the valley are worth the effort, even if the falls can't be seen anymore.

And so on to Sunday, and this time I joined my old riding partner Martin for a fairly routine ride to the hamlet of Duranbah, on the Condong Range, basically to see what was there. The promised rain never quite eventuated (somehow we missed it for the entire day), but there were other charms, particularly the early morning light on the South Pacific Ocean. The ride opened with the obligatory ride through the forests of Urliup, and some relief from the heat prior to the arrival of the forecast southerly change.

Early morning sun catches the South Pacific


The change in weather arrived as we crested the Condong Range at Farrants Hill, before a delightful ride across to Duranbah. In the nature reserve there are some old fire roads which, while rough, may provide some interesting riding experiences in the future. Even though I was riding The Black Magic on it's biggest outing in over two years, time constraints prevented a full exploration of the area. The most likely destination of these tracks is Cabarita Beach or the area immediately north of it. We ended up catching a ride home on a southerly wind, with time to speculate on just where they might lead. One day...

Farrants Hill

Thursday, December 20, 2007

When a curse becomes a blessing

It seems my run of flat tyres in 2007 is continuing. As far as I can tell, I'm now up to 28 this year -- although I'll need to check through the archives of this page to confirm that figure. I purchased a high-powered frame pump for my primary bike a little while ago, so, naturally, the flat tyres have transferred to my back-up, The Black Magic. The most recent flat seems to have occurred while the bike was sitting idle in my garage, but at least it is still sitting there.

Today my garage was broken into while I was at work. Whoever did it was either brave or stupid - given that they have to walk past two blocks of apartments to get into it. I'm already investigating other locking options to prevent it from happening again (the current lock on the garage isn't totally reliable apparently. While the garage was broken into, nothing was taken. The Black Magic might have been stolen, had their been enough air in the rear tyre for the thief to make a get away. That wasn't the case, and consequently, it continues to sit in my garage, nursing a flat tyre.

Sometimes a curse can be a blessing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fresh is Alpine

Canungra Gorge, Lamington National Park

In an otherwise dreary week (to date), I've managed to get a superb deal on the airfares to Victoria for next month's Alpine Classic. I'll sort out the accommodation issues next week, and that will be that -- apart from ensuring that I'm in condition to ride the thing. Motivation has been weak in the last few days as a result of Saturday's trip to Lamington National Park (and probably the closest thing Queensland has to "Alpine") basically turning the volume down on pretty much everything else.

Elsewhere very little has changed. The local media is still screaming about the road toll, and labelling anyone who dares speak about law enforcement as a "fascist". There's also the usual whining about fuel prices -- and somehow claiming that fuel companies aren't allowed to engage in the same "profiteering" as every other company in the economy. I think we can safely label the Australian media as "communists of convenience" whenever this story comes up.

About the only thing worthy of mentioning this week is the fact that I've managed to pick up a copy of the latest CD from The Panics. It's astonishing that a band from Perth, Western Australia had to go looking for an English record label to get their break, but their third album Cruel Guards is breathtakingly brilliant. It's little wonder they won the J-award on Triple J for album of the year. That CD could be on high rotation for a while.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stairway to heaven

Stairway Falls

Saturday was an extremely memorable day, the kind of thing that I'll likely still remember when I'm 83 years old sitting in a retirement home somewhere. As usual, I was a little later getting started on the ride to O'Reilly's than I'd planned, but the 15 minutes was fairly easy to make up, most of it was gone by the time I reached Canungra (after riding through the beautiful gorge) and started the 900-metre climb. The views up here are great, but what I really came for was the walk to Stairway Falls with the Gold Coast Hiking group that I discovered on the Internet a couple of weeks ago.

Our motley bunch at the Blue Pool

Canungra Creek owns you

They turned out to be a great group. Friendly, adventurous and supportive. The walk itself involved a descent into a valley to the Blue Pool, before a trek along the rushing Canungra Creek to the falls and back, and a total of 12 unbridged creek crossings. There were, of course, the obligatory leech attacks (which caused some rather interesting reactions from Louise, our "fearless" leader), and a few obligatory falls in the creek (one of which cost me a pair of sunglasses), but it was worth it in the end.

Stairway Falls

How's the water?

On the ride home I was left to reflect on the day, and realised just what this experience meant. I don't know if any of us would have been able to follow the "track" and make it to the falls individually, but collectively it could be done. Sometimes it's also nice to find people with whom these experiences can be shared, and this day really had everything. I plan to make this the first outing of many with this group. There's talk of a climb of Mt Cougal next month -- all I can say is "bring it on".

Reach for the sky

Someone thinks it's lunchtime already

Pretty flower


Leeches weren't the only wildlife around

Friday, December 14, 2007

Older or wiser?

It's a lovely morning outside at this very moment, yet I'm sitting here typing a blog entry rather than riding my bike. Five years ago, this would not have happened, yet today I'm resting up for tomorrow's epic adventure in Lamington National Park (more on that later). I'll still be commuting of course, but that's such an easy ride that it's barely worth mentioning. It's interesting to note the change in mentality over that time period. It seems to have come about as a result of my bike tours, particularly the New Zealand trip in 2006.

A few years ago, I was focused on simply accumulating as many kilometres as possible. Taking a "day off" the bike to do anything else at all was almost considered sacrilege. To be honest I still find "days off" frustrating, and that instinct will probably never change. However, these days that frustration seems to be tempered by reason. I now find it easier to accept the reality that it's ridiculous to try to ride imperial centuries every single day.

The change seems to have been a consequence of my touring experiences. Having now completed extremely rewarding tours in places like Tasmania, New Zealand and Scotland, I've learned to prioritise, and focus on the rides and tours that are going to provide the rewards.
Contrary to what I may have believed previously, it doesn't require neglecting the "training rides", but it's a matter of trying to strike the right balance between the "training" and the "event".

I also no longer feel the need to "prove" anything, or measure myself by the standings on a ride-logging site like A decision I made in around June of this year not to log my rides or record my cumulative ride distances any longer immediately resulted in an increased enjoyment of general riding. I felt free again, free of the constraints, of the "obligation" to ride a century every week, and free to enjoy some of the other things that cycling has provided me.

Tomorrow I'm joining a group hike in the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park. Of course I'll be riding to the start -- which will probably net me around 150km of riding and close to 2,000 metres of climbing before I've even started the walk. The walk itself will be around 13km in length, including several crossings of Canungra Creek, and about 20 waterfalls if my map is correct. It could also take in the spectacular Stairway Falls -- although there is no track to those marked on my map. Either way, a spectacular day is in prospect, and it's these experiences that are my priority these days. If that means neglecting a "training ride" the day before, so be it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Turning Tweed

Mists clearing Mt Warning

This update is a little late due to some serious virus-related computer problems that I had to overcome. Nevertheless, the ride on Sunday was much harder in the extreme heat. I started the day on little sleep as I'd been to an office christmas party the previous evening, but soon settled into a rhythm as I generally do on long rides. This time it came with the climb over Tomewin and descent into the Tweed Valley to escape the coastal heat. For a while here it was quite pleasant, but the emerging northerly wind warned of what was to come.

The Macpherson ranges from Tomewin

I reached the turn around point to the south of Kunghur and gave the new bike it's first taste of dirt with the climb into Mebbin National Park. This really is a beautiful stretch of road through the rainforest with the occasional mountain views to show the way. Much of this route is familiar, but I did reflect on the moment that I passed the rickety bridge which confirmed the official destruction of my other bike a few weeks back.

The Border ranges backing the Tweed Valley

After getting back onto the main road, I had yet another encounter with the infamous Uki bomber. Summer is now into it's third month, but that apparently doesn't seem to have bothered the three magpies in the last 10 days to have had a shot. As it was, I had bigger concerns, most notably a temperature that had now reached 37 degrees C. The time for marvelling at the scenery passed momentarily, now it was about survival. Fortunately, I managed to reach Uki in time to stave off the inevitable running out of water and proceed to the next step.

Tweed Valley wildflowers

Urliup is like an oasis on a hot day, a place that is often 7-10 degrees cooler than anywhere surrounding it, with lovely rainforests that compel you to take your time. So it proved here, and I recharged in the cooler air for the final assault over Bilambil. On days like this there is no shame in struggling on the Bilambil climb. The total lack of shade gives it a whole new brutality on hot days, and this caused me all sorts of problems on this occasion. I sat there and ground it out, before descending back to the coast for the final run. Things did improve on that final stretch, I found my rhythm and technique again, and finished the ride strongly.

In retrospect I was left wondering why I bother in this heat, the answer seems to be "because it's like this for six months of the year". Nevertheless, the ride was still a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday. So much so, that I'm already thinking ahead to the coming weekend. Bring it on!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Goading Guanaba


Yesterday morning I decided to finally bite the bullet and take the ride out to Guanaba, a rural locality in the north-western vicinity of the Gold Coast. It was an area that I'd planned to investigate for some time, but various things kept me away. I'd anticipated some views of Guanaba Gorge on nearby Mt Tamborine, and possibly a few other surprises.

Overall it was pleasant enough (a round trip of 67km). There were more clouds clearing the valley after yet another storm the previous evening. Greenery was everywhere. However, the thing that soon became apparent was the way virtually every road I took seemed to dead-end just as it was getting promising. Guanaba Creek road in particular, offered the promise of a lonely dirt road climbing through a green field toward the aforementioned gorge, only to be interrupted by a cattle grid and a "private property" sign. I suppose I could have proceeded regardless, but it didn't really seem worth bothering at that point.

Like another ride in this area that I'd explored last year, it was a pleasant enough ride, but somehow lacking something, that left it just short of the quality that the southern rides possess.

Friday, December 07, 2007

What sets cycling apart

Early morning sunshine at Neranwood

I have a confession to make. I've dabbled in running recently. It's only a run of 4-5km once a week, and usually interrupted with a workout on some free gym equipment by the beach at North Burleigh, but it's generally been the workout of choice on Tuesday morning's over the last two months. Some years ago I was quite a proficient runner -- doing anything from 10-18km each day, half of which was on sand. In 1997 I'd even been offered sponsorship to run in the half-marathon in July's Gold Coast marathon. A knee injury put paid to that, the cycling part of my life expanded to fill the gap, and the rest is history.

The thing is, that while I'm enjoying the brief return to running each Tuesday morning, I don't look forward to it with the same enthusiasm with which I look forward to my bike rides. Barring some totally unforeseen catastrophe, there is really no chance of it making a major impact on my life. The reason why was really rammed home on Thursday's ride -- through the remains of the previous evening's storm. Cycling is not like any other exercise.

What sets cycling apart is the places it can take me. Sure, I can go for a run along the beach tomorrow morning, and it will be pleasant (assuming I can evade the drunks), but I can ride to the same beach, then double back and ride up a mountain to a world-heritage listed rainforest, all before lunchtime. Then when time permits I can throw my bike on a plane and spend a month exploring another country, yet still travelling at a pace that allows me to see and experience everything that place has to offer. And still, if a place doesn't meet my expectations, I can cover the ground with sufficient haste to find another that does.

This, is what sets cycling apart from other forms of exercise, and yet another reason why it's a major part of my life.

Monday, December 03, 2007

When will they ever learn?

What do cycling "advocates" have against transportational cycling?

Off-road bike paths were bad enough, but at least they didn't interfere with the transportational cyclist who relies on the roads to get from point A to point B (neither of which are usually accessable by the path "network") in a timely fashion. Now there seems to be a fad in Melbourne to build what they call "Copenhagen-style bike lanes", which are basically glorified bike paths that involve putting a contrete median strip somewhere on the existing roadway, and declaring one side of it to be a "bike lane" They seem to serve no other purpose than segregating cyclists from the road.

This proposal in particular seems to be upsetting a few people. Similar schemes have been tried here on the 'Coast in the past, and abandoned after it took a week for the thing to be filled with debris, and for cyclists to simply give up on the idea and just use the traffic lanes instead. Does anyone out there seriously think that reducing road access for cyclists is somehow going to increase the number of cyclists? Does anyone seriously think that adding concrete "median strips" to the existing roadway (which is usually all that's involved in these proposals) is actually going to increase space for either cyclists or motorists? It's just another non-cyclist solution to a non-problem.

This sort of thing, along with some of the hair-brained proposals that come out of Bicycle Queensland everytime someone needs votes at an AGM make me wonder about the real motives of the people involved in this game. It's a well-known fact that cycling "advocates" tend to shun the opinions of experienced, regular, 365-day cyclists, especially if those opinions happen to be different to the ones they already hold. The regular cyclists are the ones who will be most disadvantaged by this proposal (and others like it). They will be left with the choice of either mixing it up with the broken glass, dog walkers and roller-bladers on the glorified path, or mixing it up with the traffic in lanes that are now several feet narrower.

Most "advocates" just seem to be in the game for themselves. They just want a place they can go and ride their bike without the presence of cars -- irrespective of whether it suits anybody else or not. A far more utilitarian option would be to simply campaign for greater law enforcement to make the existing roads (which already go everywhere a transportational cyclist could ever want to go) more cycle-friendly. This option, however, does not seem to suit their agenda, and probably lacks the "visibility" to win AGM votes.

Oh well, a few places to avoid adds an interesting challenge to my next visit to Melbourne in January.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not quite a disaster, but...

Early morning mist near Wivenhoe Dam

The midnight century ride didn't go quite as planned. I did manage to complete the ride in a reasonable time under the circumstances, so there's probably no reason for complaint, but in reality I'd hoped for a lot more.

The problems started about 20km or so into the planned ride to the start. Half way to Canungra, I realised I had left my wallet at home. Basically, this meant that I had to backtrack, and could basically forget about riding to the start at Ipswich because of time constraints. As it happened, I managed to negotiate the clusterf*ck that is public transport in Queensland and make the start.

As I always do on these rides, I opted for a steady start and just worried about riding myself into the event. That was working, until around 70km in, when I was deceived by a sign to Lowood, misread the directions and took a wrong turn. I realised my error, backtracked and got back onto the course again, thinking that was about as bad as it would get. In Coominya that was proven wrong, another wrong turn, this time the result of a sign pointing in the wrong direction, and a farm road with no signs for 3km to tell me I was in the wrong place.

Back in Coominya I bumped into another rider of the opposite gender but with the same given name as myself (funny how non-gender specific names can get confusing), and confirmed that I wasn't the only one to take a wrong turn. We negotiated our way over Wivenhoe Dam, onto the second checkpoint at Fernvale, and onto the remaining 54km of the event. I wanted to mop it up quickly, but at this point my legs weren't cooperating. Fortunately, there was a little thing called the Marburg Range just down the road.

The Marburg Range proved to be the perfect scapegoat for the earlier frustrations, and I slaughtered it. I had worried that this effort might slow me down over the last 30km of the ride, but it didn't prove that way at all. I seemed to draw inspiration from it, and seemed to be finishing stronger. I had also caught up to Chris on that climb, meaning I'd have some company for the final stretch.

The last few kilometres of the event finished the way these things usually do, negotiating it's way through the streets of whatever city the event is held in. There was a mistake in the route slip at Walloon, but this wasn't a problem -- largely due to knowledge gleaned from all those weekend tours I've ridden in the past that started in Ipswich. There was also an attack from not one, but two magpies. This actually shows remarkable insight by Ipswich standards. This time their ideas are only two months behind those of everyone else.

There seem to be mixed emotions about the way this one turned out. I should probably just be glad to have completed the ride and have it done with. The various side-trips, route negotiations and so on gave me 236km in total, but I had been hoping to turn it into a 300k. On the other hand, the relative recent lack of long distance rides has probably affected my condition a little, so perhaps I should just be happy with what I have. That said, I still plan on making up for it next weekend.