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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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coomera gorging

Saturday was yet another memorable day spent in Lamington National Park, high in the mountains behind the Gold Coast Hinterland. After the recent rain, I decided to join some friends for a 17km walk through some rainforest packed with waterfalls and leeches (although only one bite ensued). The ride to get there seemed a little more draining than usual, largely due to another wave of disgusting heat and humidity. Yet what waited at the top was always going to be special on a day like this.

The objective of the walk had been to find some of those Lamington Blue Cray Fish (pictured above if you look closely). The plan was to do the "boring" part of the walk first (the 8km up the hill to the summit through the rainforest, before returning where all the watefalls were). Somehow during this process I ended up as the "leader" of the group, and I'm still not sure who died and gave me that role. It wasn't actually such a chore as it turned out -- I even convinced a few people to join me on some of the detours to the various waterfalls with unpronounceable names.

By a complete fluke, I even managed to find us a perfect lunch spot near another waterfall that I hadn't even realised existed 5 minutes previously. The best part was I even convinced everyone else that I'd intended it to work that way, although I later fessed up that it had as much to do with good luck as good management. I was tempted for a swim on the pool at the bottom, but apparently the water was "freezing" according to those who were brave enough. On the other hand, "freezing" isn't necessarily a bad thing at this time of year.

We visited the rest of the waterfalls after lunch, before heading back to the cafe at Binna Burra (where I created some excitement by discovering two more leeches), to reflect on what had been a memorable day. The recent rain had really given the waterfalls an extra dimension today, but my day wasn't over yet. The ride home would provide further beauty all the way to Beechmont. Once again I was reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to experience these things on a regular basis.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back in business

Sunday's ride was memorable for several reasons. The flood conditions, the stunning scenery, the downpour that cooled me as I was riding over the last climb of the day, the fact that it was the first 200km day I've managed since October (a statistic I wasn't proud of), but most of all, it was just good to be back on the bike riding long distances again. I've missed it, the physical challenge, the psychological battle of both planning the ride and staying motivated to complete it, and the treat to the senses that comes from the changes in scenery over the course of 207km.

I stared by heading south along the now customary route via Urliup to Murwillumbah. That dirt road is one of the great survivors at a time when every other road in the vicinity has been sealed, yet it was almost washed away by the previous day's downpour, although the flood waters had receded considerably since the rain ceased -- this time the road was only submerged in two places. South of Murwillumbah I headed over the relentless hills toward Burringbar, where the wisdom of my route choice became apparent.

I was headed for Mullumbimby to ride a loop of the Coolomon Scenic Drive, terrain I hadn't covered in almost nine months. I passed more floodwaters along the way, before the long climb out of Mullum, which was greeted with sweeping views over Cape Byron and surrounds. There was a sadder aspect of the ride. True Wheel Cycles, the iconic little bike shop in Mullumbimby appears to have closed it's doors and cleared it's shelves. It was here that last year I found a touring bike that I wanted to buy, it was also here that I obtained some valuable information about rides in the Byron Hinterland. I'd like to think they've merely relocated, but I'm not sure.

I really started to hit the wall at the top of the Coolomon ridge, probably a result of going too fast early in the ride. Either way, I had to seriously ease back the pace for the return to Mullumbimby and the ride home, including the climb over Mt Jerusalem National Park on dirt roads. I actually started to recover a little, but the main obstacle here was the fact that the road between Mullumbimby and Uki was flooded in EIGHT places.

I negotiated the flooding, and continued on my way. Actually, the climb into the National Park once I hit the dirt wasn't terribly cut up. However, the ride across the ridge and the descent on the other side more than made up for that. I was actually here a couple of weeks ago for a weekend "tour" in the rain, but this downpour appears to have absolutely overpowered what happened that weekend. On the other hand, the fact that the sun was actually shining on this day gave it a much different perspective.

After Uki it was a simple 55km ride home -- simple if I could negotiate the final climb of Tomewin. It was actually made slightly more complicated in another respect. The wind, which had been from the South all day, decided to blow from the North for the next 20km, meaning I would be against it for the balance of the ride home. This could have been a problem, but on this occasion, it had a reason. Just as I started to climb the 11% section of Tomewin, the heavens opened up and provided a stunning downpour. All of a sudden my concerns about the heat were washed away as clouds and rainbows came out to play.

One particular rainbow came out on the mountain and stayed with me all the way back to the suburb of Palm Beach in the urban area. By the time I was back in suburbia, the wind was blowing from the South again, so I managed to mop up the last few kilometres relatively quickly. This had been a long day by the time I got home, but it was worth it. After the last couple of weeks, it was a fitting day to return to form, and the downpour at the end capped off a remarkable day. The hardest part now is going to be trying to pick from the many places I have to ride.

Monday, February 09, 2009

In this post, I tempt fate

Let's see, in the last two weeks I have:

1. Missed a flight to a randonee that I was particularly looking forward to after one of the most disgracefully incompetent airport delays ever seen.

2. Broken a crank immediately after said delay, effectively meaning that I would have had to abandon the ride in question after 30km anyway.

3. Had my new crank severely delayed in it's arrival, meaning that my primary bike was unavailable and I ultimately pulled out of a local 200k randonee that I had wanted to do.

4. Picked up a stupid illness a couple of days ago, which, coupled with the heat would have meant that riding the planned alternative 200km yesterday (on my indestructable MTB) would have been a silly idea.

5. Had an old knee injury flare up this morning for the first time since 2004, effectively ruining the things I would have planned on doing had I not had the other issues.

Did anybody notice the pattern? Around 60% of the things that have "gone wrong" on the above list have been totally redundant, because I wouldn't have been able to do anything anyway. Is fate stupid or something? Can't it see when it's wasting it's effort? If fate were intelligent, it would pace itself so that it might stay the course. Oh yeah, and all this happened at the time of year that probably has the worst weather conditions for riding anyway.

Sometimes I think fate is so intrinsically stupid that it would suffer a black eye from being punched in the mouth.

Pictures in this post from Saturday's Currumbin Valley ride.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Back to the future?

After last weekend's two day "tour" on The Black Magic, I am considering making my change to my touring set up. Apparently Australian PM Kevin Rudd wants to buy me a new MTB some time around April. I actually think it's a little early for the Rudd government to be engaging in vote-buying, after all, John Howard used to wait until the year of the election to start. It may be because the Rudd government are relatively inexperienced, but I suspect they'll get the hang of it by their second term. Either way, if the walking metaphor wants to buy me a new bike, I'm not going to refuse the offer.

I am considering using the new MTB as my primary tourer in future. While The Black Magic was only brought out this weekend due to The Blue Flame (the hybrid I usually use) still being unavailable, it performed extremely well for a bike that has had the benefit of no maintenance for almost four years, including a slaughter of the last climb of Tomewin on the Sunday. While there is undoubtedly a weight and rolling resistance penalty in using an MTB vs a hybrid or touring bike (another option I could consider in future), it's not really that significant when compared to the weight of a full touring load regardless. Indeed, when I toured on an MTB in Victoria some years ago, I completed two fully-loaded imperial centuries (rides of 100 miles or more) in the high country in four days.

The MTB also offers greater versatility and durability than the other options, and the smaller wheels make it easier to pack for air travel (Yes, it's a minor difference, but having packed both wheel sizes, I can appreciate the difference). Furthermore, the GEAX Evolution tyres I use on The Black Magic are the most robust I've ever owned. I once got 15,773km between flats on one set (which is pretty good considering the amount of debris on Gold Coast roads). I hope to have my new wheels on the road by April so I can test things out over the Easter weekend, somewhere in Northern NSW, and if that works, I might just take it to Western Australia in September of this year.

Alternatively, I could just hold out for a higher price for my vote. Over to you, Kevvie.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Jaunt to Jerusalem

A simply stunning weekend was had in Mt Jerusalem National Park, immediately to the North of Mullumbimby. And yet there is still much to explore in this region. I didn't find the cave paintings that I had been told were in the area, but there may be another lead on those in the Koonyum Ranges. Something to explore for another day perhaps.

The ride to the campsite was relatively uneventful to start with. I got the usual late start that seems to be a common theme in weekend tours, and took the now usual route south via Urliup. When I crested that range I could see that there was rain sweeping across the Tweed Valley from the South. I had no idea that it was going to stay with me for the rest of the morning. The rain started soon after I passed through Murwillumbah and simply did not stop, at all.

The climb up the range toward the campsite was treacherous, partially because of the condition of the road, but mostly because of at least two complete idiots careering out of control in the opposite direction. I have no idea how (if) they survived, and I can only hope that they don't take any innocent people with them when their time inevitably comes. For my part, I continued across the top of the range, before the descent to the campground that I am now christening Leech City, in honour of the creatures who were encouraged by the continuing rain.

I actually considered going home and abandoning the whole idea at one stage, but I decided to stick it out, on the basis that a leech-infested rainforest campsite in the wet is still a million times better than another weekend of suburbia. I crawled into the tent, had lunch and slept for an hour, by which time the rain had stopped, and the sun had made a rare appearance. It was time to explore the area immediately surrounding the campsite. I had my own swimming hole and waterfall.

Later in the day I decided to undertake the climb up to Hell's Hole. I had seen this last September of course, but I wanted to see how it looked after the rain we've had recently. The climb to get there is still as hard as it was back then, although that particular dirt road didn't suffer too badly in the rain it seemed. The track off the road to the falls was extremely muddy, and I hid the bike half way down and walked the remainder of the distance, while picking off some more leeches. Whatever I had to do, it was worth the effort.

Hell's Hole is a chain of swimming holes linked by little watefalls, culminating in one BIG waterfall at the bottom end. I'm still trying to find a way to access the BIG waterfall. Perhaps I'll consider a return visit in April. By the time I finished here, it was getting late, so I headed back to my campsite (which was virtually all downhill from here) and retired for the evening. I managed to filter some water from the creek to keep me going, and now it was time to rest after what had been a memorable day.

* * * * * * * * *

I really seemed to be plagued by laziness the next morning for some irrational reason. I did head for the top of South Chowan Road (some of which was unrideable on this bike) and did get a magical ride through the rainforest, as well as some lovely views through the trees at the top of a ridge. The problem is that I didn't bother to come up with any particular plan of attack, and ended up heading down a side road that led nowhere, before deciding to head back to the campsite and make preparations for the ride home.

On a drier day I'll return and explore the South Chowan Fire Trail, albeit I think I can guess where it might go. I returned to Uki for lunch, and commenced what turned into a surprisingly easy ride home. Even the climb over Tomewin didn't trouble me at all. Maybe all the blood lost to the leeches lightened the load a little! I simply mopped up the remaining kilometres, and pondered what I can take from this trip (apart from probably a few too many pictures).

The Mt Jerusalem National Park has emerged as the great unknown among all the places I now regularly visit. A google search on it turns up surprisingly little, and much of that content is either incomplete or just inaccurate. Consequently, I have no idea what to expect in some of the other areas of the Park. I have a feeling I'll need to set aside some other weekends to explore those fully.