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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Friday, March 23, 2012

Return to Burringbar Tunnel

The reasons why we do things aren't always clear. A couple of weeks ago I decided to join Martin and his friend Haggis on a return to Burringbar Tunnel. I had only just recovered from the scrapes from the last time, and shaken off a persistent cold, but with the Rajneeshee off the road for the weekend anyway, I couldn't really think of anything better to do. We all set off at the slightly later time of 6.30am, but made reasonable time down through Urliup, Murwillumbah and Stokers Siding, despite Martin getting an early flat tyre.

We were soon riding along the old railway line again. This time I wasn't as nervous as previously, although I suspect that's because I still had some of the effects of the cold and was probably too tired to get nervous. Either way, we made much better time on this stretch to the tunnel than previously. It was actually quite a warm day by this stage, and I was relieved to get into the tunnel itself and get a temporary reprieve from the heat that was blazing down from above. In that respect, it reminded me of some of the tunnels I rode through in Japan a couple of years back. This one, however, had glowworms, clinging to the roof, looking almost like stars above our heads.

Someone had hacked a narrow path through the scrub that covered the line south of the tunnel. I could almost actually see where I was going, and Haggis thoughtfully made the decision to charge ahead of everyone else, and pick up all the scrapes from the lantana. After this, it was time for a quick lunch, then the scenic ride home through the Mooball National Park, and the final stretch over Tomewin. This part of the ride is very pretty, largely because this is an area of virtually virgin bushland, with different types of forest all along the length of the dirt road. After the bumps of the railway track, a dirt road was a relatively pleasant diversion.

That only left the final climb of Tomewin. We were all doing it tough in the heat, and I don't think any of us got up there in super quick time -- I certainly didn't. It was, however, much cooler and greener at the top. It just left us with a simple ride home after the descent, to ponder why we had done it all again -- and whether we'd be silly enough for No. 3.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why vote?

Well, it seems to happen all the time, another sex scandal involving a conservative politician. This time involving the production of a porn site. Funny how it always seems to be the conservative types who crap on about "family values" who get caught up in these things. First we had Gold Coast mayoral candidate David Power forced to resign after a string of affairs, then there was the LNP candidate who was caught on a swingers cruise, and now this. It wouldn't be so amusing if they weren't so sanctimonious about what other people are doing, but that's really not the reason for this post.

For those who don't know, those of us on the Gold Coast have two elections coming up in the near future. There is the Queensland State election, followed by the local government election on the Gold Coast. What I am wondering, is why anybody would waste a perfectly good Saturday (or part thereof) by heading down to the polling booth at all?

"But it's compulsory to vote" I hear you say. Actually, it isn't. Even in Australia, it's only compulsory to turn up and get your name ticked off a list -- and even that's rarely enforced (as I know from experience). It isn't even compulsory to fill out your ballot paper, so you can actually get out of there a little quicker on the day by just leaving it blank. But evidently, most people continue to fill it out regardless, so presumably, there is something motivating them to put numbers in those boxes every time we have to go through this whole charade.

"But what about the democratic process" I hear you say, well, let's look at some facts. First of all, on election day, you get one vote*. That's right, one. So even if you happen to live in a marginal electorate (because if you don't, you really are wasting your time), the chances of you actually influencing the outcome of the election are minute at best. Think about it, how many elections can you recall where the outcome was decided by a single vote? I can't think of even one.

Furthermore, as history has shown us, the closer an election is, the more likely it is to be taken out of the hands of the voters and decided by a few individuals anyway. The most famous example of this was the 2000 American Presidential election, which was ultimately decided by a panel of judges, but that's certainly not the only time this has happened. Here in Australia, the preferred method of doing this is a group of politicians standing around in a backroom somewhere, doing deals with each other to "form a government", as happened in 1998 & 2010.

And that's before we even mention the scenario of politicians claiming to be one thing to get elected, then proving to be something else entirely (usually at the behest of corporations and special interest groups) -- something that anyone who pays attention to politics will tell you happens all the time. "But what happens if everybody decides not to vote?" The point is, "everyone" isn't deciding not to vote -- only the people who stop and think for a minute and realise there are far better and more productive things to do with their time. Just take a walk outside for about 10 minutes in any populated area to see how rare those people are.

So with all that in mind, why do people vote in the first place? Mindless as it seems, somebody had to make the initial decision to get off the couch and go down to the polling booth, right? And somehow, at some point, it must have caught on. One can only assume, given the other factors, that the only real incentive to vote these days (unless you live somewhere the government are still offering you a live pig or some other inducement) is the vague notion of "doing your civic duty".

Or is it? One of the things I've always wondered, living in a country where the government tries to compel you to vote, is just why online voting has never caught on. Australians love to do things online. We do so much online shopping that the entire retail sector of our national economy is suffering as a result, we can even file a tax return online. Surely it's just a matter of time before they allow us to vote online. Why wouldn't our government, which seems to think it's important, want to make it easier for it's citizens to vote?

The answer actually lies in Switzerland. The Swiss love to vote, and probably do so more often than any other nation on Earth. They not only vote to elect their government, but also to determine many of the things that government proposes to do while they're in power. It's just logical that making it easier for them to vote could only make it even more popular, right? Wrong. The participation rate in Switzerland actually fell after the government there allowed people to vote by mail some years ago. Despite no longer having to trudge down to the polling booth in the snow (or whatever other adverse weather they have to deal with), enthusiasm for the idea declined.

One can only assume the Australian government is afraid of the same thing happening here -- given that they've not even discussed online voting, despite letting us do our taxes online. Perhaps the real reason people go out and vote, then, is the social incentive of being seen to be doing their "civic duty". Or perhaps they do it for the same reason they buy lottery tickets -- the "investment" is relatively small, but it gives people a reason to dream big. Just like the guy who buys a lottery ticket and dreams of how he will spend his winnings, the person who goes down to vote can dream that her vote will actually influence the outcome (which seems about as likely as winning the lottery).

Of course, the value of the incentives I just mentioned are inversely proportional to the amount of mathematical knowledge or aptitude possessed by you, your friends, and those in your community.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Return to Coomera Gorge

This post is more than a little dated now, given that it's about a month since the event, but I have decided to share it anyway, largely so I can show off the pictures I took on the day. I joined up with a few friends for a hike through Lamington National Park, on the Coomera circuit, which, of course, passes the famous Coomera Gorge. I really love the way the wet season impacts on this part of the world, creating the flowing waterfalls and feeding the seemingly eternal greenery of this area. Days like this are the sort of thing you can look back on well into the future, with incredible memories.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Get over it day

GET OVER IT DAY™ is based on the idea that EVERYONE has SOMETHING to get over. Strategically the exact midpoint between Valentine’s Day and April Fool’s Day, Get Over It Day (March 9) is the day to finally get over that ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, those stressful school- or work-related issues, any fears, insecurities, embarrassing moments, bad relationships, etc.

[Editor's Note: If you're not sure what YOU have to get over, just ask your friends what they're tired of hearing you complain about.] (check out the “It could always suck more” video)

NOBODY is happy, EVERY day of their life,
Not an American Idol®, not a Desperate Housewife®,
Not MVP athletes, not Oscar-winning stars,
Not rich CEOs, not hot chicks at bars.

We ALL have our issues; ALL lives contain stress,
At some point, we're ALL an emotional mess,
Ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-husbands, ex-wives,
There are people to get over in EVERYONE'S lives.

But as much as things suck, as bad as they get,
If you got cheated on, if you're swimming in debt,
If you're aging or balding or get a cold sore,
Don't ever forget: It Could Always Suck More!

It's all part of life; it will help you grow stronger,
But this "pity party" of yours can't last any longer,
You can sit home alone, being sad and depressed,
Or you can choose to be strong, and do as we suggest:

March 9th is the day, to finally say:
"Move on! It's done! It's Get Over It Day!"