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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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Well, what a weekend that was! Over 450km with plenty of magnificent scenery and some decent hill climbing. It took my legs a good three days to recover, and I have managed to wreck the front forks on The Blue Flame. It all started with 175km on the Saturday, after I had arranged to meet Bindi from Uki for a ride in that area. Along the way I decided to head south over Tomewin (largely because I would climb it in the opposite direction twice in the following two days), and descent into the Tweed Valley, where mist cloaked many of the surrounding mountains, and provided a very pleasant ride into Uki.

We had decided to have a look at the local farmers' market in Uki, before taking a ride through Mebbin National Park to the south, and a loop home past the waterfall on the Kyogle road. Most of the early part of the ride was spent swapping touring stories, and I'm sure there's still plenty of information to mine on our next ride together. As it was, the Tweed Valley turned on a beautiful day, so we took our time, savouring the rainforest and the mountain views in what really is a very special part of the world.

One of the things about this area is the number of little things in the area that are often missed by passers by. One of the advantages of travelling by bicycle is the ability to not miss these things, and such it was with the waterfall where we had a picnic (of sorts). Along this road there are also a few various fruit stalls, some of which I've shopped at in the past. Bindi was quite keen on these, and I might have been too had I brought the carrying capacity with me on this particular ride.

We had a fairly gentle ride back to Uki, with me noting that the wind had now swung around from the North, as it has done almost every other ride for the last two years. I should almost have enough headwind practice to return to New Zealand by now. We parted at Uki and I took the "alternative" route back into Murwillumbah along Bakers road, before returning home via Urliup and Bilambil, noting along the way just how often the dirt section on Urliup road is graded these days, and how it's probably overkill as the surface is sticky from the grader more often than it ever used to get really rough before. Occasionally, I just wish people would leave things alone.

Returning home after 175km, the first thing I did was call up my usual riding partner Martin and confirm the next two days -- 100km tomorrow, and 180km the following day to close out the long weekend. I wouldn't want to live any other way.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tosspot of the week

Every so often, a story comes along that makes you wonder how some people actually manage to get through day to day life:

Head alien made me crash, court told
Leah Fineran April 28th, 2010

Damian James Amos has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving on the grounds of insanity.

DAMIAN Amos says he was just following orders from a 'head alien' when his car sped into another vehicle at Broadbeach in 2004, killing a Gold Coast grandfather.
But the Crown alleges Mr Amos was simply drunk.

During the opening day of his trial in Southport District Court yesterday, the 32-year-old pleaded not guilty, on the grounds of insanity, to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, causing death.

The jury was told Mr Amos had a history of paranoid schizophrenia and had not taken his medication the morning of October 9, 2004, when his car, travelling at 140km/h, rear-ended the hatchback of 58-year-old Keith Evenis on the Nerang-Broadbeach Road.

The massive impact shunted the hatchback forward 74m into a tree. It exploded in a fireball, instantly killing Mr Evenis.

Defence barrister Angelo Vasta, QC, told the jury Mr Amos's driving in the 70km/h zone could only be described as 'maniacal' but argued his client was not guilty.

He said Mr Amos should not be held criminally responsible as he had suffered a psychotic episode while driving and 'lacked capacity to control his actions'.

A document of facts accepted by both the Crown and defence was read to the jury stating that the traffic accident happened shortly after Mr Amos had been ejected from the Carrara Gardens Golf Club for hitting balls at other golfers.

Mr Vasta said his client left and drove east on Nerang-Broadbeach Road when he had a psychotic episode and believed he heard instructions from a 'head alien' to immediately return to his Broadbeach Waters home.

"The head alien told him he had to get home and he wanted to obey the command and he drove in a way that showed he was in control of the head alien," said Mr Vasta.

Yes, that's right, of all the excuses we've heard for vehicular homicide over the years, things like "I didn't see him", "I was drunk/stoned/talking on a Mobile phone/whatever other illegal act judges don't penalise" etc, now someone actually says they were instructed by aliens. I don't know what's more ridiculous here - the fact that someone has gone before a judge (with legal advice) and made such a claim, or the fact that the reluctance of Australian judges are to actually convict anybody these days means that it might just bloody work, and this guy will be behind the wheel of a car and ready to do it again by the end of the week. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this one.

  • In other news, Pauline Hanson apparently hasn't had enough publicity to feed her ego lately, and consequently had a whine about New Zealand immigration officials actually doing their job and questioning her about her jail stint from a few years ago. The irony of Pauline Hanson being detained by immigration officials and then whining about it is actually quite amusing when one considers her "policies" from a few years back. However, the simple fact is, the immigration officials in New Zealand were simply doing their job in questioning a foreign national entering the country about a prior criminal conviction. I suspect the same would have happened to me in Auckland or Christchurch had I fraudulently registered a political party, then pocketed the donations from the rednecks dumb enough to actually believe the crap that came from the One Nation "party".

    Frankly, Ms Hanson is very lucky not to still be in jail, and since law enforcement was something she was apparently in favour of, she's the last person who should be complaining about being questioned about a criminal record.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reaching the Pinnacle

The previous weekend I had decided that this would be the day I would finally reach "the Pinnacle" from the other side. The Pinnacle is a rock formation jutting out from the mountains of the Border Ranges National Park, near Kyogle. However, the bottom of it can also be accessed from Pumpenbil, near Tyalgum. It took me a few years to discover this, and even longer to actually do something about it, but this was going to be the day, regardless.

It all started simply enough, Martin joined me for the first 45km, and we took the usual route through Urliup. My legs were caning after the previous day's ride to Binna Burra in the mountains, but I also knew that I could ride myself into form given enough time and distance. The wind picked up from the south on the other side of Murwillumbah, and I prayed that for once it would continue from that direction, keeping the temperature down and giving me an easier ride home.

The clouds continued to hover around Mt Warning as I reached the pretty dirt section along Byrrill creek after Uki, and started the long, gentle climb through the forest passing the usual little waterfalls in the creek. This is one of my favourite stretches of road anywhere, but today it was made a little more treacherous by the local council's decision to water the road into submission, possibly in the hope that it might grow in the same kind of way that their integrity didn't. Of course, they tried this trick on me with a patch of roadwork at Tumbulgum some years earlier that led to me crashing, and the entire Tweed Shire Council were sacked for corruption a week later, and yes, I am going to keep reminding my 3 regular readers about this fact.

Descending off that climb into the grand, sweeping vistas of the Tyalgum section of the Tweed Valley is always a pleasant experience, but today I detoured out along Pinnacle Road, which offered a nice, steady climb for a few kilometers, before petering out at the bottom of Pinnacle Rock. Even without the view of the Pinnacle, the ride itself was pleasant, as it steadily rose above the surrounding area of lush green rolling hills. I was so inspired I later took a side trip along Bald Mountain road to see if it did actually climb Bald Mountain. It didn't, but the view it offered was pleasant enough anyway.

There was nothing left after this other than the return to Murwillumbah for the final climb over Tomewin to get home. This is actually a much more pleasant climb on a relatively cool day, as the bits exposed to the sunlight don't burn quite so badly. Of course, this was also only the second southern ride that has actually finished with a tailwind in the last two years, so that may have assisted in the fact that I had now ridden myself back into form.

The ride home from there was reasonably uneventful, apart from a couple of absolute idiots that I encountered upon returning to the coastal strip. I get the feeling that at least one of them won't be alive for much longer without some major behavioural changes, and the feeling is definitely a comforting one. Just why so many idiots around here feel the need to stop dead in the middle of the road for no readily apparent reason is beyond me, but sooner or later they'll try it on someone driving a bigger car than they are, and the results will end badly for them, but maybe not so badly for the rest of us.

Monday, April 12, 2010


33 hours have now elapsed since I got home from yesterday's rather interesting outing, and I am still trying to find a part of my body that doesn't actually hurt. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I have climbed Springbrook mountain more times than I have taken hot showers over the last 15 years. Yesterday, however, Martin and I found a new and altogether more difficult and painful way to do it -- on a vertical single track that was totally unrideable for the entire length of the climb, which basically meant climbing the mountain on foot while finding a way to haul the bikes up the mountain.

The day had started so promisingly, too. The plan had been to scour the Numinbah State Forest at the bottom of the western slopes of the mountain, with a decent climb on the dirt of Chester's Road. We rode off over the rolling hills of Advancetown in a morning mist, along the various inlets of Advancetown Lake, which becomes Hinze Dam closer to Nerang. Along the way we found a new construction site for a boat ramp on to the lake. I have to admit to mixed feelings about it -- on the one hand, it's nice to open up a view like this, but on the other hand, I know what masses of people are likely to do to the area.

A little further on, I managed to get a flat tyre. This remarkable event (remarkable because it happened while I was riding with GEAX tyres) let to us meeting a group of bushwalkers who gave us some directions to Horseshoe Falls which weren't quite where I thought they should have been. Still, as I hadn't seen a map of the area, I saw no reason to argue with them. Initially we set off on a dirt track that crossed Waterfall Creek several times, this part was actually quite beautiful in and of itself.

It was after this that the mistakes started. Looking back, we may have been more than a little gullible. Just why you would follow a track leading away from waterfall creek when you're looking for a waterfall is anyone's guess, but we did, and it went dead straight up the hill at an unrideable gradient. Eventually we hauled the bikes to the top of this hill, and literally found a fork in the road. One side screamed back down into the valley (a descent I wasn't keen on as I my legs have another project to complete next weekend), and the other appeared to follow the ridge across toward Springbrook. By this stage we'd given up on Horseshoe falls for the day and decided to head for Springbrook instead. The only problem was the "No Entry" sign in front of the Springbrook fork.

What does a scofflaw cyclist do when confronted with a "No Entry" sign? You guessed it. This track also took a sharp descent straight into a creek bed, before climbing out vertically up the side of the mountain. Now we had to press on. I actually thought it would meet the road half way up the mountain on Pine Creek Road, intersecting a track I'd seen branching off when riding that road previously. This wasn't to be, and the track kept climbing steeply and interminably. A few times I pondered just staying there for the day, as it had to be more pleasant than either climbing out or the inevitable return to suburbia that would follow.

At the summit the inevitable happened, a "private property" sign. Fortunately, it was a very small sign, and I didn't see it. Even more fortunately, the owner of the land was a friendly guy, who even offered us some of his home grown plums, before telling us that Chester's Road had, in fact, been the right way to get to Horseshoe Falls, although apparently the track to it is severely overgrown (which won't stop me going and checking it out for myself later of course). There may possibly be another way to the falls, from a land owner at Springbrook near the Fudge Shop.

As it was, we decided to simply descent the mountain the conventional way, before crunching the last few rollers on the way home. Surprisingly, I found a second wind on the ride home for no readily rational reason. It was soon after we parted and I mopped up the last few hills through Robina that I realised I was hurting in places I didn't even know I had. Still, that's a positive thing as it shows that I had a productive weekend. There was a final insult in that I suffered yet another flat tyre (this time the opposite tyre) in the final 500 metres on the way home. I finished the day with two years' worth of GEAX flat tyres, simply incredible.

I am going to find these falls, however. It is now my obsession.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Going west

This post is actually two weeks old, but at the time I was getting desperate. I'd had mechanical failures on four consecutive weekends, and I REALLY wanted to finish a long ride, ANY long ride. Consequently, I decided on a change of scenery, and headed west through Canungra, bypassing Beaudesert on the Mundoolun road (new territory) to end up at Jimboomba. I picked a reasonably pleasant day, and spent most of the day riding through rolling hills in surprising greenery (surprising, because that isn't always the case west of Canungra). There were even a couple of unseasonal flowers out on the Mundoolun road.

The arrival at Jimboomba on 72km turned into a mess, as there was nowhere in town to refill water bottles as all the faucets have been removed from the taps in the park, perhaps a relic of the drought of the mid 2000's. I then realised I'd left my money at home, so buying bottled water was going to be a problem. Fortunately I had enough change lying around in my rack bag to get something -- who said cleaning out these things was a good suggestion? Now I had to be careful. I knew there would be water available at the top of Mt Tamborine, but I had to get there without running out.

I was somewhat fortunate in that the temperature only reached 30 degrees C, an unusually cool day for this summer. I rode out of town on to the Mt Lindesay highway for a short distance (this was the busiest I've ever seen it), before turning off to Camp Cable Road, then on to Tamborine Road, again pushing up and down over rolling hills, before starting the 7km climb to the top of Mt Tamborine. The first 2-3km of this climb are pretty tough, before it levels out into a very pleasant switchback road. The higher parts of this road in the rainforest used to offer a great view of Curtis falls, but this is now pretty overgrown, so there is no waterfall shot in this post.

Tamborine itself was busy as usual for a Sunday, but fortunately there was only one moron who decided to stop dead in the middle of the road for no readily apparent reason, so all was well. Astonishingly, the water tank where I normally refill had run dry, so I ended up swiping some water from a tap at the Eagle Heights pub. I suppose all's well that ends well. I then set off on the steep descent, pausing at Welches Road at the bottom for another layer of sunscreen. I saw a couple of mountain bikers coming back from a rendezvous toward the end of that road, but didn't think to ask them where they'd been. Looks like I'll be forced to explore that one for myself later on.

After this it was a fairly straight forward ride home, with one more climb of note at Wongawallan. Wongawallan is an interesting climb in that it MUST be attacked. Riding defensively will not suffice (as a friend of mine found out when he snapped a chain there). If you just try to survive that climb, you won't. With this in mind, I found enough for an attack, and enjoyed the screaming descent into Oxenford. You learn something new everyday, and on this day I learned that Kevin Rudd will be calling an early election in Australia in the near future. How do I know this? Because the people responsible for the perpetual road construction at Hope Island (road work for six consecutive years and counting) have actually moved all their junk off the road.

Someone has obviously received orders from above on this matter, which suggests an election is not far off. After this is was simply a matter of cruising home with a tailwind, a result of yet another unseasonal northerly wind on a day I chose to ride a century, but this time I outsmarted it by taking a different route. The final tally was around 164km, but I can't give an exact measure because my computer stopped working somewhere around Oxenford. I am REALLY running out of patience with wireless cycle computers, but that's a rant for another post.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Warrie Circuit, Springbrook

A week after the broken crank incident at O'Reilly's, I decided to join some friends to hike the finally re-opened Warrie Circuit in Springbrook National Park. It was closed for two years because of a landslide, and after the rain in the week leading up to this day, I thought they might close it again. Fortunately, that hadn't happened by the time I got up there. Of course, I was also hoping the ride up the mountain and back would be clear of mechanical problems, after three on consecutive weekends, I figured I was due for a change of luck.

That wasn't on the cards as it turned out, this time a brake pad slid out of the shoe, which hampered my braking on the 19% descents after ascending Best Of All Lookout at the summit. I'm just glad I decided not to try to overtake the car that held me up on the way down (before I had discovered the problem). Still, at least this one didn't stop me from completing the ride, or the hike. The waterfalls turned on a spectacular display, among the best I've seen at Springbrook (which is saying something), along with wildflowers and the occasional bit of wildlife not seen anywhere else.

Along the way we passed the bottom of the famous Goomoolahra Falls (immediately below), at the top of which some idiot got drunk one night and walked off the cliff (despite it being fenced), and fell 100 metres to his death. There was no danger of that today, but it's been a long time since I was able to access the lower part of the falls. It was certainly worth waiting for. A memorable day at one of my favourite places in the world. The only downside was a leech bite that got infected and hung around for a while. That said, it didn't stop me riding a century a week later (ride report to follow).