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, June 29, 2008

Ronaldo leaves United

This comes with a language warning, but it's brilliant (if slightly off-topic for this blog). You need at least a basic understanding of Manchester United or English football to get a full understanding of it. Trying to embed it doesn't seem to be working just now, so you'll have to click on the link for yourself.

In other news, I have three ride reports to update on this blog when photobucket recovers from it's current functionality phobia. I'm sure we all wish it well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to build your own adventure...

A moonlit night

I was going to write up last weekend's adventure in one post, but a simple 118km ride to a campsite by the banks of Christmas Creek deserves it's own entry. The ride itself started later than anticipated as I had to resolve an overcharging issue from my bank -- that was the easy part. The initial ride through suburbia didn't present any problems, and even with a full touring load I pushed it aside quickly. Shortly after Nerang, at the locality of Clagiraba, a sudden heavy rain shower made things interesting.

The shower passed, leaving only a rainbow to mark where it had been, but further along the Gorge Road (which is actually a very, very pretty ride), there were other sights to see. Traffic was heavier than I'm used to on this road, but it posed no problems that I couldn't deal with. The infamous climb at Witheren, 5km from Canungra, rose into the mist like a ramp to heaven, before descending back toward the army base. This was turning into an amazing ride.

After Canungra, things got even more interesting. First of all, a major thunderstorm appeared on the horizon in the sunset, then blew over. The lightning was clearly visible to the south, and the thunder sounded close, it must have been within 2km, but all I felt from it was a minute or two of light drizzle. The plan had been to detour to Biddaddaba creek, and follow a back road into the Kerry Valley, hence cutting out Beaudesert. This wasn't possible as the "road" turned into a muddy, impassable track, which was blocked by a gate. I later found that I could have passed through legally, but it would have involved walking 5km through the mud -- and I wasn't interested.

The storm that missed!

The world's longest sunset

The sunset that had outlasted the storm had now well and truly passed as I backtracked 7.5km, before continuing on to Beaudesert in dropping temperatures. This time I came prepared, and managed to keep myself warm. The moonlight accompanied me as I continued southward from Beaudesert, 15km on the old Mt Lindesay Highway, before turning off toward the "Lost World", and the evening's destination. The early part of this stretch has absolutely nothing to see, and I was reduced to counting off the kilometres to entertain myself.

Fortunately, things improved. The scenery in the moonlight was quite astounding as the road started to climb in the last 7km or so. The night hadn't cooled in quite the way I expected, but it was starting to get late now, and I was looking forward to a warm sleeping bag at the end. As it turned out, I would have a warm campfire with no effort of my own. There was only one other person at the campground that evening (who, by a staggering coincidence, was also named Chris). It was a comfortable way to end what had been a memorable ride.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rumours of my demise...

Evidently there's been a little speculation about whether or not I was still around after a cycling death in this part of the world last weekend. The truth of the matter is that right now I am very much alive and well, albeit a little tired after a weekend of cycle touring in the Albert River Valley. I have spent the weekend (among other things) evading a huge thunderstorm by about 2km, being deceived by misinformation about a "short cut" from Canungra in the darkness on Friday night, trekking through uncharted rainforest, picking off about 10 leeches, setting up camp in near-freezing conditions (thank God for campfires), and am now quite relaxed while listening to the beautiful sounds of Sarah Blasko.

I'll get a post from the weekend up on this page just as soon as I've selected from the 40-odd pictures I took.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Over and out

I have now had time to ponder what happened. I will never be sure whether or not it was the right decision, but the decision came 330km into Saturday's 400, and the decision was made to retire with severe thigh cramp, and forget about it. As I said, I'm still not sure whether or not it was the right decision, but it felt that way at the time, and that's all the indication I have.

It had all started so well. I set off from the start at Lake Atkinson (which actually had some water in it for the first time in several years) in good form, and maintained it over the Walls of Lowood (those steep hills at the start), over the Marburg range, through Rosewood and the pictaresque hills behind Warrill View. I followed this up by continuing to scorch the next 100km through the area around Boonah, and over more rolling hills to Fernvale back in the Brisbane valley. I seemed unstoppable for the first 170km.

I did, understandably, slow a little after Fernvale and 170km, but still managed to maintain good form and technique through this part. That was important because it's generally the way to get through the tough parts on long rides. 200km was a key point, not only was it the half-way point of the ride, but it was also the end of the BIG loop. Now there were three smaller loops to make up the second half of the ride and complete the proceedings. Having completed the first big loop over an hour faster than on the same ride last year, I had every reason to be confident.

After the first 200, the temperature started dropping rapidly. It's worth considering at this point that I've barely seen a night with a temperature that dropped into single figures for the last two years, and it's fair to say that this sudden change did catch me by surprise. So much so, in fact, that I had decided to commence the first of the loops without leg warmers. It was a simple loop through Lowood, Fernvale, Coominya and back to Lake Atkinson, but by the end my legs were really feeling the cold, and the cramp was starting to set in.

At this point I still believed I could do it. I set off for the second loop, now with leg warmers, but in retrospect, with the damage done. This loop went to Esk, before heading back on the hilly Esk/Gatton road. The first 35km of it seemed to go OK, and I still felt reasonable. The cramp was there, but I could still manage. I was with a group of three other riders, and we paused for 10 minutes at Esk, and it was after this that I couldn't get going again. I was promptly dropped on the first climb (climbing is normally my strength), and my legs just would not get going.

A couple of kilometres from the return to Lake Atkinson I picked up a slow-leaking puncture. It wasn't the end of the world, but this frustration added to my cramp and the continually dropping temperature was probably the clincher. In retrospect, perhaps I should have been more positive in my attitude -- I still had 10 hours to complete the last 75km. As it was, I decided on a couple of hours sleep at this point, in the hope that I might recover. It wasn't to be, and for some reason I just couldn't get going again.

I did go and fix the flat tyre, with the thought that maybe that might spark me, but even then I was still finding it difficult to even walk, and my mind at the time told me it was over. Hence I returned, pulled the pin, and decided that I'd have to be satisfied with a double-century, but not quite a 400k.

I am now convinced that there is a huge gap between 300 and 400km. On the 300k at Banyo a couple of months ago, I felt as though I completed it easily -- despite the late headwind. This ride had no such headwind at any stage, and yet, I still didn't get through. The lesson here seems to be comfort, and erring on the side of caution when it comes to keeping warm away from the coast. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tosspot of the week

There were several worthy contenders for this award over the last 72 hours or so, but I think this guy tops the list.

A 35-year-old man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly chose to hoon in front of a police station after he had been drinking yesterday morning.

Soon afterwards, a teenager was charged with assault in front of another police station.

Police said the 35-year-old came to their attention after his car allegedly did a burnout in front of the Railway Street police station in Mudgeeraba just after midnight, then drove off as officers tried to stop him.

He did not get far. Police said the man crashed through a fence in Cobai Drive, about 100m away.

The 35-year-old was subjected to a breath test at the scene and police will allege he recorded a blood-alcohol level of .245 per cent -- almost five times the legal limit.

I don't think much more needs to be said, apart from the need for a new punishment to be set up for idiots of this calibre: chain them to a post somewhere and leave them there for a week so passers by can laugh at them. Evidently the idiot was also unlicenced, which says a lot in Queensland. In one sense it's slightly disturbing that the idiot needed to crash before the police were able to do anything, and it's slightly more disturbing that the idiot didn't do us all a favour and remove himself from the gene pool when he crashed, but even so, he's still a worthy tosspot for another week.

Incidentally, can someone tell me why the media can't name idiots like this when it's clear to everyone that they are obviously guilty of whatever they've been charged with? It's not defamation to call someone an idiot when they are, in fact, an idiot.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The other personality of Cudgen...

It's astonishing that a relatively non-descript locality such as Cudgen (or was it Duranbah? The Tweed Shire Council can't seem to decide) can be the gateway to a pocket-handkerchief sized area of incredible beauty. Martin and I weren't satisfied with 200km on the Saturday, so on the long-weekend Monday, we decided on a ride through Urliup, then onto Cudgen nature reserve for some exploration of that area.


The ride through the rainforest of Urliup for the second time in three days would have been worth the price of admission alone, and yet we wanted more. We detoured slightly over Eviron Road toward the climb of the Condong Range, and on to the end of Duranbah road, where the real ride would start.

The condition of the "track" meant that there was probably going to be more walking than riding. The gradients were almost as steep as the legendary Mt Buggary in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, and combined with the wet conditions and the fact that I have a 400km brevet this weekend, I simply wasn't going to take any risks. Fortunately, we didn't have to go far to observe some stunning fauna and changes in the vegetation.

We detoured along a number of side tracks, trying to find the one that might lead to Cabarita Beach, to enable a circuit to be completed. On that score we wouldn't find anything. There were, however, some other surprising finds, one being a lone Tangello tree in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the fruit on it was too bitter for human consumption, but it was a notable find nonetheless.

After this, and all the dead-ends, there was little for it other than a ride home in the rain. This time we detoured through Tumbulgum and Terranora. There was some disquiet that perhaps we could have visited the John Hogan rainforest, but in the end it mattered little. Neither option would have prevented us from having to negotiate the parade of total and complete idiots on the Queensland side of the border.

Anyone who wonders why Queensland tops the national road toll in Australia year after year need only visit the Gold Coast on a day when the idiots are out. I'm thinking of turning it into a lucrative side business by charging people money to observe the imbeciles in this part of the world. I'd make a killing if I wasn't on the receiving end of one.


SATURDAY, JUNE 7, NSW: For once I failed to bring a camera along on Saturday's ride, so you'll have to make do without the pictures unless you click here, and have a look at some pictures from a previous ride in this area. I was feeling a little underdone for this weekend's 400k, so we opted for a 200km ride in Northern NSW, taking in the Coolomon Scenic Drive behind Mullumbimby.

Once the 30km of suburbia has been cleared, the ride really begins on the Tweed Coast. We were heading south against the wind, but making good time. The overcast conditions kept the temperatures down to a reasonable level, but at the southern we were both glad to get out of the wind and look to the hills. Things went along pretty uneventfully through Mullumbimby, save for a headwind blast for the first few km after leaving the town, prior to the climb toward the Crystal Castle.

The top of this ridge almost enters a different world, with sweeping views up and down the coast and patches of rainforest to ride through, all in all a very pretty area. We continued over the rolling hills at the top of the ridge, before the long descent back into the Brunswick Valley, and the detour through the town of Brunswick Heads. Things got interesting after lunch at the Humble Pie Shop at Billinudgel.

I bought one of those "active water" drinks without reading the label. It turns out this "drink" was nothing more than caffeine and guarana, a bad combination at the best of times. For the next 20km, over the Burringbar Range and surrounding hills leading to Murwillumbah, I was in devastating form, destroying anything that even considered getting in my way. Unfortunately, there was a terrible low after this, which it just as I was climbing Urliup. I actually felt like going to sleep at that point, but reverted to concentrating on technique and eating muesli bars.

The muesli bars, combined with the rainforest of Urliup inspired the recovery. Martin and I coasted over the rolling hills together, before pushing over the last climb at Bilambil, and back into suburbia. The only other exciting thing to note for the day was the search for detours to take the daily distance over 200km. All in all, however, it was another extremely rewarding ride, with hopefully more to come during the remainder of the year.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dickfos Falls owns you

TALLEBUDGERA VALLEY: Sunday June 8. Well clearly it's been a while between posts, and I have a few things to write about. For some time I'd been curious about Mt Cougal road in Tallebudgera Valley, and where it could lead. My first search had proven fruitless, but some informal advice I'd received from a friend on a bush walk at Springbrook had suggested there was more.

The ride through the valley was taken at touring pace, as I'd completed a 200km ride with Martin the previous day. That makes little difference on relatively short rides, and it wasn't long before I found the little side road. The first thing of interest was a rather pretty little waterfall on the side of the road.

It's shortly after this that the road stops, and the final stretch to Dickfos falls is on foot through a rough track alonside a rainforested creek. A little further, the track itself disappears, and the walk essentially becomes a rock scramble up a creek bed. This actually wasn't as difficult as it sounded, although the previous evening's rain did cause some problems with slippery rocks along the way.

Further along, the rocks get larger. It takes a little time and care to negotiate the final climb, but it's not overly difficult with a little caution. The reward at the end is nothing short of stunning.

Dickfos Falls

The return was considerably easier to deal with, and it was almost no time at all before I was back into the open area at the start of the track. Here I had a picnic lunch. It was interesting to observe just how much the previous week's rain had cleaned out the streams.

Now all that remains in this valley is the final walk from the very end of the valley, which evidently passes through similar terrain to this walk. Evidently there are some permissions from land owners required to access that one, but I intend to make this happen as soon as the opportunity arises.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The midnight hour

Sometimes insomnia can be a good thing.

Last night at around midnight it became obvious that sleep wasn't an option for me at that time. My body simply refused to accept it. I simply needed to get up and do something. I decided on a spur-of-the-moment ride to Austinville, and the glow worms. It was a beautiful night, temperatures in the mid-teens celsius, little wind, and a billion stars in the sky. As soon as I hit the Austinville road turn off and heard the rushing of the creek, filled by recent rain, I realised I'd made the right decision.

For the next however long it was I spent riding up the valley and back, I was entranced by the sound of the creek, the night bird calls, the clear rainforest air, and the green illumination of the glow worms lining the side of the road. The only real concern was the council's latest attempt at "roadwork", but with no traffic to deal with, that was negotiated easily enough. Maybe I should have sleepless nights more often.

* * * * * * * * *

In other news, I heard about this story on Triple J this morning. As if we didn't already know, cyclists are apparently saving the Australian government $200 million per annum in health costs alone. It's just a pity they then go and waste a chunk of it on a study like this when there are far more effective means of silencing anti-cyclist bigots. There was another story that quoted the figure at $290 million, but I digress.

Unfortunately, most of the reaction to this seems to be the usual pie-in-the-sky crap about "rego fees" or "facilities" and so on and so on, with a little bit of self-righteous smugness thrown in for good measure. None of this makes a difference of course, as has been show in every jurisdiction in which it's been tried. Surely a better option would be in the training and education of cyclists so that they become more competent cyclists (particularly at school age), and are therefore more likely to stick with it. I'll write more about this later, but it's something to ponder. For the moment, however, I'll just say where's my share of the $200 million?