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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Thursday, February 28, 2008


For one reason or another, it had been some time since my last night ride to Austinville, probably dating back to December. Since then, of course, a few changes have taken place, including some extreme downpours which have actually modified the course of the water in the creek. Austinville is, of course, noted for it's glow worms, which light up the side of the dirt road at the southern end of the valley along the bubbling creek. Last weekend Martin, my regular ride partner, was wondering how the rain would have affected the glow worms. Last night I sought an answer.

It came a kilometre earlier than I had expected. When I saw the green light -- nay, the hundreds of tiny green lights, it took me a few seconds to realise that I hadn't yet reached the final stretches of the ride. Once I actually reached the habitat area, the lights seemed to multiply. Here I was, breathing in the clean, cool, moist air of the rainforest, listening to the bubbling of the creek and the sound of bicycle tyres on dirt, watching hundreds of little green lights as I passed by one of the more spectacular secrets of the rainforest. It was a moment of quintessential delight, and one that I may try to replicate next week.

In the meantime, my weekend plans are still up in the air. The plan is a weekend camping trip to Minyon Falls near Mullumbimby. The reality is that there are still some road closures in effect as a result of the above-mentioned downpours. I will contact National Parks in Lismore tomorrow to determine if the campground is still accessible. The other option is to "stealth camp" nearby, or just simply go somewhere else for the weekend. All will be revealed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Too much of a good thing?

Clouds hovering around the Macpherson Ranges -- near Tyalgum

For those who aren't familiar with cycling terms, "cadence" refers to the raw speed at which one turns the pedals. It is said that selecting a lower gear and pedalling at a higher cadence is more efficient than selecting a higher gear and pedalling at a slower cadence. Accordingly, I've tried to improve that side of my riding over the last however long it's been. Sometime during yesterday's 167km spin through the Tweed Valley, it occurred to me that I've probably taken it a little too far.

Martin joined me on the early section toward Murwillumbah, and pointed out that I was "wasting energy", however, the magnitude of the situation didn't become apparent until the climb over Tomewin, and the fact that the we reached Murwillumbah 10 minutes earlier than I'd expected -- and that against the wind. After Martin turned off, I continued my search for more kilometres. I persevered with a slightly altered style of riding, selecting slightly higher gears without changing too much, and the ride seemed to evolve a little faster than I could have anticipated.

Byrill Creek

Coming out of the pretty, forested section near Mebbin National Park, two things became apparent. First of all, the flood damage in this area was less than what I'd expected. Secondly, the southerly wind of earlier in the day had now become a northerly, meaning that I'd be pedalling against it on the way home as well. I persevered with the change I'd made, and somehow it worked. The traditional "lunch stop" on this ride is Uki, today it would be Murwillumbah -- another 20km down the road (including a steep climb on the Stokers Siding detour). Even then, it was probably still a little early for "lunch".

Roadside waterfall

The return was the now traditional route through Urliup and Bilambil. Neither climb really troubled me unduly. It seems that spinning slightly slower had conserved quite a bit of energy, and Bilambil didn't quite fulfil it's role of "nemesis" quite the way it usually does. The "conserved energy" also meant that the last 30-odd km of suburbia didn't take long to sort out. Normally coming home from a ride like that against the wind causes it to take forever. The new style seems to be a winner all round. On the other hand, the "old" style got me through the Alpine Classic just a few short weeks ago. Hmmmm.....

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Mt Cougal road

When does potential become another excuse for failure? Harsh words perhaps, but yesterday's 80km was an ultimately frustrating experience.

The plan was to explore a few detours in Tallebudgera Valley. Specifically, I wanted to first explore a link to Bonogin that had been flagged on Google maps, then to check Mt Cougal road, which more maps suggested might have been worth a look. The first link was a total failure, which offered about 3km of glorified suburbia, before dead-ending. The first failure of the day.

Toward the far end of the valley I found the turn-off for Mt Cougal "road". This one started promisingly, through pretty scenery and a gradual gain of height. For a while I thought it might go somewhere. This too died after about 3km, ending in a "private property" sign. It's entirely possible that this land was actually crown land that had been signed off quite illegally, but I wasn't in the mood for an argument at the time -- especially as the temperature was already approaching 35 degrees C at the time (it would hit 40 by the end of the ride).

I did find another detour virtually at the end of the valley, but this one ended even quicker than the others did. Accordingly, I hammered the climb of Petch Creek road before going home. I am now left back at the drawing board when it comes from finding detours out of this valley. There is still one possibility left, but it's not one for which I hold much hope. Perhaps it's time I found somewhere else to explore.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Positive thinking

This is not turning into one of my better weeks. As of yesterday I am simultaneously nursing a head cold and a swollen ankle after rolling it while running on the headland at North Burleigh. Effectively it means I won't be bothering with the weekend at Minyon Falls I was planning this weekend -- although I do plan to rack up some serious kilometres as soon as my ankle decides to co-operate (I can ride off the head cold).

Since I'm effectively forced to "rest" (which basically means limiting my riding to commuting only) I've decided to put a positive spin on this situation and consider it "multi-tasking". If I'm going to be off the bike with the ankle, I might as well deal with the illness at the same time. Perhaps clearing both of them up now might prevent a repeat of the miserable run I had last year when I was trying to ride a super series (Audax riders will know what that means).

Now if I can just find a way to legitimately take credit for it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trampling Tamborine

Mt Tamborine botanical gardens

One or two things happened toward the end of last week that got on my nerves a little. Things I don't need to go into here, but they were things that gave me the incentive to slaughter Mt Tamborine en route to a hike on Saturday. Actually, it took me a little while to get going. I'd negotiated only one kilometre of the ride (and about three sets of traffic lights) before realising I'd forgotten my camera and had to go back and retrieve it.

This little patch of rainforest can be seen froma  brief detour to Welchs Road

Once this was done, the ride was able to start in earnest. The excitement of this one doesn't really begin until about 40km in, with the opening climb of Wongawallan. It's one of those climbs that threatens to do some damage with a 12% gradient, but it doesn't really sustain it long enough to cause any serious problems. This would be a theme for the day. Mt Tamborine did exactly the same thing, and I was surprised how quickly the summit was reached. The remarkable thing here was the temperature. I reached for my jacket upon reaching the summit, I think it must have been around 16 degrees C with the big southerly wind screaming across the plateau.

There were basically two hikes on the mountain, the first was a simple "rainforest circuit" which was extremely short and similarly muddy. The rainforests on this mountain are actually more spectacular than I recall from my previous visits. I've always regarded Tamborine as something of a poor man's Springbrook, but I was soon dispossessed of that theory. The lunch in the botanical gardens was also extremely pleasant. I intend to set aside a date to visit this place during the winter months when there are more flowers in bloom.

Botanical gardens

The afternoon involved a walk of around 6km on the western side of the mountain around Witches Falls. Despite the huge amounts of rain that have fallen, there was surprisingly little water coming over the falls, but the walk was a beautiful one regardless. The most remarkable thing about this track is the speed with which the vegetation changes from eucalypt to dense rainforest and back again. At times it was almost like walking through a doorway from one to the other.

Witches falls

After an afternoon tea at a winery, and a discussion to plan the group's next adventure (I've had some input into that one, but won't be revealing it just yet), it was left for me to ride home. The descent of Tamborine passed easily enough, albeit the steep sections of the road were a little bumpy. Having seen the earlier roadwork around Hope Island, I decided I didn't want to negotiate it a second time, so I took the Kreideman Road/Birds road detour at the foot of Wongawallan toward Nerang. Unfortunately, I discovered that a bridge on that road had been closed for some time. Lifting the bike across two fences was difficult, but I just about managed.

The view from Mt Tamborine

After this, the ride home passed by relatively uneventfully. If GCCC ever finish with that bridge and re-open it (that was scheduled a month ago according to the sign), the detour around Wongawallan will provide an interesting alternative, albeit one with slightly more net climbing. The day overall was also a memorable one. Mt Tamborine actually offers quite a bit more than I had realised, and I need to make some time for some other visits of this kind. That said, I have more than enough to keep me occupied over the next six weeks or so.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


One of the surprising aspects of the wet start to the year has been the number of spectacular sunsets that have appeared. In truth, I've missed most of them by virtue of not having a camera handy at the time, but those I have captured reveal an often ignored side of this type of climate.

In other news, I have to admit that my inspiration for writing blog posts wanes a little at this point. The ride reports will continue of course, but the other things don't seem to hold the same interest. It's almost as if just about every aspect of cycling has been argued, discussed and analysed so many times over that there really seems little left to argue about. I'm sure the inspiration will return when something manages to annoy me, but right now, it just isn't there.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Return to Huonbrook

Mt Jerusalem as seen from Huonbrook

I've had a relative shortage of 200km rides in recent months. In fact, the last 200 I had apart from the Alpine Classic was a ride to Huonbrook in October. This time I went with Martin, my regular ride partner. We had intially been lining up one of the Tweed Valley rides on dirt, but Martin only had is road bike available, so it was a return to Huonbrook.


We made a fast start down the Tweed Coast early on, taking advantage of a tailwind. I was surprised at just how quickly it all went by. Our quick start was halted, not by hitting the hills just before Mullumbimby, but by a flat tyre -- and for once it wasn't on my bike. Martin then proceeded to blow up a valve, meaning we would then have to pause in Mullumbimby and replace the tube. It was in Mullumbimby that I fell in love with a touring bike that would have cost me $1,895. I could probably pick one up cheaper -- especially as I already have many of the "extras" that came with this one. Maybe I'll just convert my hybrid.

We set off into the hills after Mullum, and for the first time I felt in control of the climb over Wilson's Creek. One day I'll do it in temperatures under 30 degrees C, but for now I'm just satisfied to have owned it. Once upon the plateau, it feels like a completely different world, one of lush greenery, rushing streams and a few other surprises. Traffic seemed higher than usual in this instance, but that wasn't unbearable. About the only downside of this ride is that a trip to Minyon Falls is about the only way to make a circuit out of it. Nevertheless, the descent back to Mullum is much quicker than the climb.

After this, it was simply a ride across to Brunswick Heads, and a series of climbs over the Burringbar hills to get home. We had lunch at the Humble Pie shop at Billinudgel, which was most notable to discover that my own celebrity seems to be spreading. A family who are cycletouring in New Zealand have apparently printed off my route map and decided to use it. That's flattering, and they seem well prepared. I just hope they're aware of the spontaneous route changes I made along the way.

After the lunch stop I had problems getting back into the grove, as the heat took effect. Our pace dropped dramatically as a result. This causes it's own problems, because the heat makes it more difficult to eat enough food get enough carbohydrates to maintain performance, and at the same time, the body probably burns twice as many in coping with the heat. By the end of the 206km, I was basically riding at a cycle-tourist's pace, and spent a lot of time sitting in front of a fan on my return home.

It's also entirely possible that I wasn't completely recovered from the Alpine Classic, but one of these days I'm going to have to learn to handle hot and humid conditions. Despite all of this, however, it was still a memorable ride. Martin and I are already talking about a 300km ride through Ballina and Evans head as a possibility. I might wait for the cooler months to try that one.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tosspot of the week

The inaugural edition of tosspot of the week goes to Gold Coast mayoral candidate Tom Tate, whose mother obviously smoked a few while she was still carrying. Tom is the lastest in a long line of local politicians who don't have sufficient literacy skills to read the words "No Junk Mail" plastered onto the front of a mail box. One wonders how someone who doesn't even hold a basic grasp of the English language could ever think of himself as a realistic candidate for any local government position, but in these days of government by opinion poll, anything is possible. If he wins, there will probably be a few more candidates for this award in the coming months.

Still, Tom only just beats out a unique brand of idiots that only come out once a year, but their effects usually hang on for a couple of weeks. These idiots are the flag-waving morons that come out on Australia day every year, supposedly trumpeting how much they "love" their country, before leaving all their litter (including beer bottles and plastic flags) lying around as far as the eye can see. If these people "love" their country as much as they claim, why do they apparently find it so difficult to show it some respect and take their crap to a rubbish bin?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Return of the big wet

Spontaneous waterfall at Lower Beechmont

This little part of the world has not had a decent wet season in seven years. That appears to be changing as I had the pleasure of riding through yet another downpour today. After yesterday's lethargy issues, I opted out of riding a century today to take a quick jaunt up to Binna Burra and back, a ride of around 104km. Normally the feature of this ride stems from the sweeping mountain views of Beechmont. I was lucky to see my own feet today.

I was nowhere near top form today either, but I was invigorated and motivated by the rain, which kept the notorious summer heat at bay. And while the usual views weren't to be had, there were breaks in the clouds that offered spectacular sights not seen in "normal" conditions. When I see things like this, it reminds me that in these conditions, it's far better to just "bite the bullet" and simply start the ride, rather than looking out the window and imagining all the "bad things" that might (but almost certainly won't) happen.

Clouds gathering around Beechmont

The final ascent of Mt Roberts, a notoriously brutal climb, was an eerie experience as the rain totally distracted me from the climb, and I seemed to reach the summit on instinct alone. The conditions prevented me from racking up huge speeds on the descent, but that was a minor consideration. More important was simply savouring the refreshing feel of the cool rain on the top of the mountain, and a break from the otherwise relentless summer heat, and enjoying the waterfalls that suddenly appeared.

yet another spontaneous waterfall

I don't know how much longer the big wet will last, but if it continues until sometime around mid April, I'll be more than satisfied.


Austinville rock pool

There always seems to be a letdown immediately after a big ride, especially if it's one that I've been looking forward to for some time. Such was the case over the course of the weekend. Saturday's ride turned into a slow cruise through the Austinville rainforest as there didn't seem to be much motivation for anything else. On days like this, about the only thing that can be done is to simply enjoy the surroundings, and appreciate the things I might miss on days when I'm trying to ride faster.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Sunset at Bright

My riding last weekend wasn't exclusively limited to the Alpine Classic, although that was by far the most exciting part. I swallowed some pride one afternoon, and rode the rail trail between Wangaratta and Bright just for something different. It was quite a pleasant ride when I had time to spare, if a little warmer than I would have liked. There was one minor climb over Taylor's Gap, but overall the difficulty was virtually non-existent.

The river at Wangaratta

For all that, however, I was glad to return to Bright, three years after my previous visit. This really is a charming little town nestled among some of the most beautiful terrain in the entire country. On this occasion I was fortunate enough to score a campsite right by the creek, after having some company on the way in from Wangaratta. We ended up splitting the cost of a campsite, which was big enough for two tents anyway, and saving some money along the way.

Campsite at Bright

The ride back to Wangaratta followed essentially the same route, again in temperatures of 37 degrees C. There were a few sights to take in along the way, although my main concern was making the 1.30pm train connection to get back to Melbourne at a reasonable hour. As it was, that idea was thwarted by a train delay because of a medical emergency at Seymour. It did leave me enough time to walk across to Lygon Street and gorge myself on pasta and gelati, so I really have no reason to complain.

View from Taylor's Gap

Summer wildflowers

All in all it was a satisfying weekend. I ended up with a total of around 385km in three days, including the big ride. As I said in a previous post, I may even consider doing it all again next year.