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..

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Mist out

Morning mist in Numinbah Valley

Yet another amazing weekend of riding commenced with a quick-fire 120km on Saturday morning. I'm not sure what I was thinking to do this on a few hours' notice the day before a century, but it just seemed like a cool thing to do. Martin and I set off on a deserted Springbrook road for the climb to Salmon's Saddle, in cool, moist morning air left behind by the previous evening's downpour. That climb is an enjoyable one at anytime, but when there is mist hanging around the horizon, the enjoyment factor picks up a little.

Salmon's Saddle, near Springbrook

The descent into Numinbah valley from this side is literally a screamer. I clocked 79.9km/h at one stage, and yet there was still time to take in the scenery through the gaps in the forest. There are also some areas to explore when I get my new MTB later in the year. Numinbah Valley greeted us with clouds hovering below mountain tops overlooking lush green pastures. Yet the southern end of this valley is arguably the prettiest climb in Southern Queensland, as the mountains close right in leading up to Numinbah Gap, where for a moment, you can be king of the world, or at least the Tweed Valley.

Numinbah Valley

And the mountains close in

Rivers of mist in the Tweed Valley

Descending into the Tweed Valley on days like this is an almost surreal experience. It feels more like coming in to land as we pass through the clouds. Shortly after reaching the valley floor, Martin suggested I should climb it again, for no reason other than chatting up a female cycle-tourist who was riding the other way. Unfortunately, chasing someone up a mountain range to start a conversation is a little less than subtle, and I declined the opportunity, even if she was a nice girl.

The ride through the rural Tweed Valley was relatively uneventful. By this stage the mist was rising quickly, even if the sun wasn't making an appearance. The final act was the long grind over Tomewin to return to the Gold Coast (and earn 1,500 metres of climbing in the process). It took me a while to find my rhythm on that climb, but it mattered not, as we were held up by a council gang clearing a landslide. We saw evidence of a few more in the area too. The first decent wet season in seven years has brought floods, landslides and some of the most spectacular riding I've seen in 13 years in this part of the world. Right now it just seems to be getting better and better. Hopefully I'll never find the pinnacle.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mullum Wanderings part II

Rainforest near Minyon Falls

This was to be the culmination of the whole weekend, and what I'd been planning since my first visit to Minyon Falls over a year ago. The early part of the ride passed through Mullumbimby and Repentance Creek, passing the Crystal Castle along the way. Those names indicate the type of area it is, a series of 2-4km climbs and descents, with stunning scenery all the way.

It's at Coopers Creek that the climb to Minyon Falls begins. The early part of this climb is the steepest, averaging around 11% for the first kilometre before settling down into a slightly more civilised pattern. It's only upon reaching Minyon Grass that the falls come into view. I was a little disappointed at the volume of water coming over the falls -- given the early rainfall this year. One assumes more is needed.

Minyon Falls

I opted for the walk to the base of the falls and back. Doing the full loop was an option I considered, but I had a lot to cram into this day as it was. The track passed through pretty rainforest virutally all the way, followed by a climb over some rocks to reach the falls. Typically, this was when the rain started. I managed to evade any mishaps on the rock climbs, and returned to Minyon Grass for the ride across to the top of the falls, to take in a different view.

The base of Minyon Falls

The top of Minyon Falls

Now the real ride began, I started with the climb to the summit of Peates Mountain, around 640 above sea level. The road was "officially" closed, but apparently few people pay any attention to this, if the tracks through the mud were any indication. The climb passed through some of the oldest rainforest in Australia, and the speed I was riding left plenty of time to take it in. There are also views to be had at the very summit if you take a short detour out on North Rocks Road.

Rainforest on the Nightcap Range

Peates Mountain

Next came the long descent on Gibbergunyah Range Road. This is quite an interesting descent, 18km in total, passing first through the rainforest, then more open country at the bottom. A strange problem arose here -- lantana. This is a spiky weed that grows in former farming areas and tends to take over everything in it's path. When you're riding down a narrow dirt road with lantana closing in on both sides, it's possible to lose some skin without crashing. Taking one hand of the handlebars at the right time is one possible defence, but beware of having handlebars caught in the vines.

With this descent out of the way, I had a couple of options for returning home. I opted for one more ride in the rainforest, climbing the plateau again on Nightcap Range Road (probably the easiest climb of all the different approaches), before a screaming descent back to Coopers Creek, and a ride home over the rolling hills. There was, of course, the obligatory spectacular save on the descent to avoid a spectacular injury, and a nice, relaxing, pretty ride "home". 108km and over 1,900 metres of climing is all in day's work.

* * * * * * * *

I made a rather interesting discovery during the weekend. The climb that I had previously been referring to as Mt Jerusalem, isn't actually Mt Jerusalem. It passes through the Mt Jerusalem National Park, but the real climb of Mt Jerusalem is somewhere off to the South West. I will, of course, be riding the real one before the year is out, but to get back to the Gold Coast, I had to deal with the impostor.

There's something about the fourth day of a tour that makes the legs grow stronger, and makes climbs like this easier. I've actually taken longer to climb this on days when I wasn't carrying a load. I had been told I'd find a waterfall with a slight detour from the saddle at the top of the range, so being the inquisitive sort that I am, I opted to look for it. South Chowan Road plummets 100 metres in little more than a kilometre -- a nice short detour, but it would take a little longer to come back. The waterfall was easy to find, not of the spectacular "Minyon Falls" type, but very pretty nevertheless.

There is a campsite here that has potential for a few nights away later in the year. I could base myself here overnight, and spend time exploring the whole area -- assuming my back has healed sufficiently to transport a Camelbak by then. In the meantime, I had to contend with a screaming descent on wearing brake pads, a descent made more vicious by the load I still carried. The normally spectacular views to Mt Warning were obscured, but there was still plenty to see.

After this, it was all straightforward. Uki, Murwillumbah, Urliup, Bilambil and home. I absolutely scorched the section between Uki and Murwillumbah, producing the sort of performance that will probably be impossible to replicate ever again, covering it in 30 minutes with a full touring load. The ride through Urliup was pleasant as usual -- even climbing over Bilambil seemed tolerable. The 'Coast was it's usual combination of Road rage and general stupidity, but that just made me even more glad to have escaped for the weekend.

One would think that after the third "tour" in three different states throughout the year, I would be satisfied. Not so, in fact, I've already "noted" a long weekend in late April that I can use for the next adventure. That said, the images of this weekend will stay with me for a long time, a reminder that this truly is a special part of the world. Hopefully I'll find time to fully explore some of the other places I've discovered later this year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mullum wanderings part 1

Rainforest at Huonbrook

Clearly, it's going to take two posts to fully account for what I did last weekend. It started in the way most of my tours do -- i.e. wondering what I'd forgotten (as it turned out I hadn't forgotten anything) as I get away around 30 minutes later than what I'd intended. Once the ride itself started, all these things were soon forgotten. There was some mild frustration at copping just about every red light possible as I tried to exit the southern end of the Gold Coast, but that was a minor irritation.

Hastings Point

The Tweed Coast these days seems to be a combination of pretty scenery and mild irritation these days. I had forgotten just how stunning the view from Hastings Point really could be on the right day. Further south, a few idiots tried to get into a slanging match without stepping out of their cars just beyond Pottsville, I guess it takes all kinds. None of this really bothered me unduly, but there was a feeling of "this has all been done" as I proceeded south on what are now very familiar roads.

It's only after leaving Billinudgel that this ride really begins. I headed inland, gradually climbing a ridge, and passing a particularly notorious strip of chip-seal along the way. The ultimate destination was a place called Maca's Camp Ground at Main Arm, around 12km north of Mullumbimby. I'd ridden past it a few times en route to other places, and decided that it wouldn't be a bad place to use as a "base", given that it's a little out of the way, and less likely to be affected by tourist traffic.

What it lacked in tourist traffic it made up for in mosquitoes. I actually moved my tent on one occasion to get away from them. Still, the surroundings were pretty enough, and all in all it wasn't really a bad place to spend a leisurely afternoon, prior to the real adventure starting the next day.

* * * * * * * * *

There was a pleasant mist covering the valley on Saturday morning. I set off and made my way toward Mullumbimby, mindful of the fact that this day's ride would have to fit in with local shop opening hours -- bearing in mind the fact that I'd be required to stock up on supplies for the next day's epic. I had an interesting chat with someone at True Wheels Cycles about some of the local attractions. It seems there's much more to this area than even I had previously realised, and I was looking forward to testing a few things out.

Koonyum Range

The first thing to explore was the Koonyum Range, which had been teasing me for some time. The climb was described as "steep" in some information that I'd looked at previously, but was generally quite manageable for the majority of the time. There was quite a change in vegetation from the rainforest on the lower slopes, to the more open, almost alpine scenery at the top of the range. The only downside was the fact that the road didn't go anywhere else, and that most of the views were overgrown. Regardless, it was a worthwhile exercise.

Koonyum Range

Boogarem Falls

After descending the range quickly I headed out toward Huonbrook, this time with a mission, I would check the link with Doon Doon on the other side once and for all. There was a lingering disquiet that I had a chance to set a new all-time speed record on a straight stretch of the Koonyum descent, but didn't take it. There will be another chance for that later.


Huonbrook turned out to be a more interesting ride than I'd anticipated. The dirt road turned to mud under the falling rain, and had some decent pot holes, but those were easily avoidable. I saw the (unsigned) turn off to North Rocks Road which leads to Minyon Falls, and the (unsigned) turn off of Oscars Road, leading back to Doon Doon. The latter was notable for the presence of a "dangerous road" sign. Sounds like that one could be a "dry-season only" ride. The "education" for the day was complete, but Huonbrook is a worthy ride in and of itself.

I returned to Mullumbimby to stock up on supplies for the next day's epic, and pottered around for a while until a local pasta joint opened for "dinner". The ride back to the campsite afterward was a leisurely and very pretty 12km, with the knowledge that the best of the weekend was yet to come.

Bloody Idiots

For some reason, this story caught my eye this morning:

Tuesday March 25, 07:46 AM

Bligh fed up with 'bloody idiots'

Queensland's Premier Anna Bligh says she is sick of hearing about reckless behaviour on the roads and the beaches at holiday time.

Ms Bligh says the Easter safety message did not get through to thousands of Queenslanders who were caught speeding or drink driving.

"A few bloody idiots are making it an unsafe place for all of us," she said.

Ms Bligh will talk to the Police and Transport Ministers about tougher penalties, including possibly a double-demerit system for holiday periods.

Ms Bligh is also annoyed that surf lifesavers have to rescue people who swim in dangerous places at dangerous times after drinking.

"There is some provision for people whose behaviour is so reckless that it warrants some action," she said.

When are people going to realise that "education" just doesn't work in situations like this? I've touched on this point before, but it bears repeating here. Trying to "educate" people by politely asking them not to do something because bad things might happen doesn't work because people always think that they are an above average driver, swimmer, whatever, and it won't happen to them. About the only form of education people are capable of understanding is the one that involves fines and prison sentences. Oh yeah, and maybe letting people drown at beaches if they blatantly ignore the instructions of the life savers might provide some much needed chlorine for the human gene pool.

Let's face it, if people knew what was good for them, McDonalds would have gone out of business decades ago. It's time for law makers to stop wasting time, start setting a few penalties, and start holding magistrates accountable for applying them. Until this happens, we might as well get used to stories like the above.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last weekend (yes, it's taken me that long to getting around to an update) I spent the weekend with friends on North Stradbroke Island, off the coast of Brisbane. There were probably enough photos taken to fill an entire journal over at, but for now I'll just do the best with what I have here. After getting the ferry across from Cleveland, I was due to meet up with the group for a bushwalk at the Blue Lake. Some of the hills that had to be crossed on the way were horrendous, as the island is surprisingly hilly, but the scenery made it all worthwhile, as it generally does.

Blue Lake

After a swim in the refreshingly cold waters, I decided to ride to Point Lookout via the "alternative route", following a dirt track along the east coast of the island. Dirt turned to sand in many places, and at times it became quite a struggle, I had to walk much of it. Fortunately I had a picnic lunch with me, so I could afford to take my time here. The ride/walk was extremely pleasant, passing wildflowers and a couple of lagoons along the way. After finishing with the sandy section, I encountered a couple of suicidal truck drivers. I'm just glad my genes won't now be exiting when theirs invariably leave the human gene pool.

Point Lookout, on the east coast of the island was eventually reached, and there was still time for me to totally screw up the location of the accommodation, and ride an extra 6km or so just for the fun of it. For what it's worth, the 6km or so were very pleasant in and of themselves, which made it a worthwhile exercise. It had seemed like an epic day, but the adventure was really just beginning.

Eventually I caught up with the others in the group for dinner at the local pub, which had a nice location and a relatively low yobbo quotient by Queensland standards. The night that followed, however, did everything exactly by Queensland standards with regard to the temperature -- i.e. hot. It was so hot that nobody in the group got any sleep that evening (despite the almost total lack of any noise). It was so hot that even the islands notorious mosquitoes took the evening off. I might have just slept on the beach had I thought it would have been any better.

* * * * * *

Kayaking was on the agenda for Sunday, but I was a late scratching because of the rib problems I still had from the previous weekend. Instead I opted for a day of exploring the parts of the Island that I hadn't seen on my bike, or on foot. The first step was a walk around The "Gorge" at Point Lookout. This was a stunning display of coastal scenery, reminiscent of the Great Ocean Road some years ago. The blue water on the limestone cliffs was worth celebrating in and of itself.

A few hardy souls were fishing in some really stupid positions, and some of them were drunk quite early. It won't bother me, but we'll all be expected to mourn when they turn up as "people missing from the coast" on the news one night this week. Well, all except me anyway. As it was, I completed the walk feeling rather satisfied, then set off at a leisurely pace, first for Amity Point, then back to Dunwich for the ferry ride home.

It was on the way back that my love of cycle touring really came to the fore, the feeling of simply getting on the bike and exploring without any deadlines is a special one. It's something that I just never tire of. Amity Point was pretty, but ultimately uninspiring. I did take on some fluids as the previous evening had left me with a mild case of heatstroke, that five litres of fluids in one morning hadn't yet cured. Then I set off for Dunwich.

Fresh water springs near Dunwich

Dunwich doesn't get the acclaim of Point Lookout, but it's an interesting little place. I occupied myself first by detouring out to the Brown Lake, which wasn't as pretty as the Blue Lake but had twice as many tourists, so I left. The next stop was to visit a rather interesting little cemetary which commemorates a ship sailing from Tasmania to Queensland on which there had been an outbreak of Typhus.

Finally, I took in a visit to the local art gallery. The gallery has a lot of traditional aboriginal works presented, some of which are quite beautiful, and all of which hold some special significance to their authors. The woman who operated the gallery told me about quite a few of the local tales, which I'll relate in another post later on. She's also hoping to expand their operations, and told me of a streetscape planned for Dunwich which will give the local painters a chance to show their wares.

By now it was closing in on the end of the day, so I made my way to the ferry terminal, got reacquainted with the group I was supposed to be travelling with (but had seen very little of) for the ferry ride home. More QR incompetence led to the train home taking a whopping four hours -- I should have just ridden home from Cleveland. I did, however, have an interesting chat with a couple of local cycletourists at Robina train station. They had just returned from Rainbow bay near Gympie, and consequently, another potential weekend tour has been "noted".

I finished the weekend tired and a little sunburned, but ultimately fulfilled. The next trip away starts Friday. Bring it on.