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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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A new arrival

This post is a couple of weeks old, but I did manage to go and buy that MTB that I was talking about.  I still haven't given this machine a name yet, nor have I taken it out on any epic rides -- hopefully I'll take care of that this weekend.  I did manage to take it for an 80km spin around Tomewin in the Macpherson Ranges on the New South Wales border.  It wasn't the full "Garden of Eden" circuit, but that would have been pointless after the Tweed Shire Council's "upgrade" of Urliup road anyway.  

It always takes a few kilometres to get used to a new bike, and somehow I managed to pick a semi-rainy day.  Actually, at this time of year, the rain is more of a help than a hindrance -- heat exhaustion is the last thing I want to deal with.  It was, however, a good 30km before I hit any dirt.  Like any good MTB, the dirt is where you really start to see the advantage, especially over the rock on the ridge-top route on Glengarrie "Road".  It's also amazing how light this thing is compared to "Kevin", the MTB that I was using previously.  Before, it was difficult to get the height of a decent "bunnyhop" when trying to clear corrugations, tree roots or whatever else.  That doesn't seem to be a problem here.  

I'm still weighing up just how I'll convert this one into an off-road tourer later on, but right now, I'm content to simply enjoy what I have.  Could another crack at the infamous Duck Creek Road be on the agenda?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Destination: Taiwan

I love snap decisions.  Thanks to making one of them on Tuesday of this week, I'm flying out to Taiwan for my next bike tour in a little over five weeks.  It doesn't even seem as though I returned from Europe all that long ago, but I've decided to take advantage of another opportunity (even if it does mean working a bit of overtime in the next few weeks).  It probably seems crazy to some that I'm leaving summer behind and heading straight into "winter", but, well, this is the tropics (at both ends of the flight).  I'm still not sure if I'll be able to cross the 3,275 metre Wuling Pass in December/January, but I might just do it anyway.  

The main reasoning behind the decision was reading that some of the local mosquitoes in Taiwan carry Dengue fever.  A little research into that particular ailment provided some stories that I'd rather not confirm in person, and it seems "winter" is about the only effective mosquito repellent that I can ever recall coming across.  It just seemed the most logical thing to do was to bring the trip forward, and go December/January.  It took less than 24 hours to make all the arrangements (as an aside, that's one of the many benefits of living alone, the ability to make decisions like this and make the arrangements quickly).

It may be an overreaction, of course, but I can see other advantages -- cooler temperatures, escaping a Queensland summer for a few weeks, and biggest of all escaping usual bogan parade that goes with Christmas in Australia these days.  In fact, since there's no more Gold Coast United FC, and therefore no Boxing Day M1 derby (look it up on wikipedia if you don't know what I'm talking about), there's no real reason to stay here at all.  I fly out on December 22.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tosspot of the week

I had someone else in mind for this week's award, but they'll have to wait until next week now (and I doubt that particular controversy is going away any time soon).  The truth is, there was a far more worth recipient on Bermuda Street, Broadbeach Waters last Friday evening.  Some old guy copped a red light, but decided that simply waiting in line for it to change was too boring, and thought his time would be better spent getting out of his car and trying to pick a fight with the guy in the car behind him.  Meanwhile, the light turned to green while this idiot was still on his feet demonstrating his limited vocabulary (which apparently contains no words longer than four letters).

I have to ask, what was this guy trying to achieve?  There really wasn't much point asking him, as there's no way someone of his limited IQ was ever going to figure it out.  I'll admit that being bored at Gold Coast traffic lights is a very real possibility, as they are second only to Brisbane as the slowest in the seven countries I have visited so far, but there was really no possible benefit to what this idiot was trying to do.  I suppose he may be trying to make his mother wish she could go back in time and declare a Jihad on her unborn foetus with a coat hanger, but I suspect she already feels that way (and I would too).

I can only assume this idiot was trying to keep me entertained at the end of a long working week.  If that was his intention, he certainly succeeded.  I was continually laughing at him for the remainder of the ride home, and then told my neighbour about it, and he was laughing too.  In exchange for all those laughs, my humble offering is a Tosspot of the Week award.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Sackings imminent

Would you believe it's taken me almost three weeks to get around to writing this post?  Despite (or perhaps because of) a rather disappointing way to start a 180km ride.  It was three weeks ago that I discovered the Tweed Shire Council have now decided to seal all but 1km of one of my favourite dirt roads -- Urliup.  I probably should have known it was coming eventually, but they seem to have forgotten what happened last time they pissed me off. 

As it was, I now had 140km left to try to find another dirt road to fill the role that Urliup used to fill (which is basically a quick and effective way to escape "civilisation" and all it's dubious "benefits").    A few suggestions came to mind.  Reserve Creek Road?  Nah, not enough rainforest.  Settlement Road, Chillingham?  Nah, it's a dead-end with only one way in and out (very nice though).  Richard's Deviation?  Nah, too short.  The same goes for Chilcotts Road.

I ended up climbing over the Burringbar Range on Cudgera Creek Road -- and very nice it was, too.  If it was only a little closer and more convenient.  It also reminded me of another option that I'll keep to myself for now.  I finished the day with a final ride over Mt Jerusalem National Park (note: the real Mt Jerusalem is a fair way to the South, but since it's now legally inaccessible... ).  That's another option, which also offers several other places to explore in the area.

Someone at Main Arm once told me there supposed to be caves in the area with aboriginal rock paintings inside.  I've not seen or heard any evidence of that in the since, but as it's an area few tourists know about (Much less visit), and as I now have a new MTB to play with (more on that later), I might spend some of my summer doing just that, there.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tosspot of the week

I haven't done this for a while, but there are some really good nominations around at the moment, two of which I can't split.  There's this guy in State Parliament in Victoria.  The proliferation of idiots like this in politics give us another reason not to bother turning up on election day (as if we needed any more).

Then there was this guy, who fell to his death after trying to break into a high-rise in Surfers Paradise a few days ago.  It's nice to see gravity doing something our police apparently can't do, and taking action to reduce the crime rate.  Natural selection at it's best.  Of course, there will be a lot of sad saps, and just generally politically correct idiots out there who think we should grieve for this moron.  Not me, I think we should be having a party!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


It's fascinating that I should return from a hiatus with this post, or perhaps not.  I have plenty of other things to add later, but right now I want to get something else off my chest.

It's now been a week since all this business about Lance Armstrong hit the fan, the latest being that he has officially lost the seven Tours de France that he "won".  A lot of the people who put this guy on a pedestal over the last decade or more are now lining up to bury him.  From the evidence presented, including testimonies of a number of former team-mates, it's fairly clear that he probably had artificial assistance to win his seven Tours de France, although he still denies it.  As far as I'm concerned, the allegation that he forced his team-mates to dope is far more serious than anything he himself might have taken.  There are probably a lot of people still in shock, but if a cold, hard economist ever took a serious look at the situation, the question wouldn't be "How can he do this?", but more likely "Why is anyone surprised?"

Let's look at some facts about professional sports firstly -- and I'm not nearly naive enough to believe that this problem is limited exclusively to pro-cycling.  Most professional athletes haven't had a great education.  Granted, there are some exceptions to that rule, just not very many.  Most of these people probably know just enough to realise they have limited career prospects of they don't reach the top of their chosen sport.  They've spent most of their younger years trying to get a professional contract for this reason, and if they reach the top, there is suddenly a LOT of money thrown at them.  I understand Armstrong grew up relatively poor, it's not hard to see why the temptation for 20-somethings with little education to cheat in this way is strong, especially as they can practically cheat at will and get away with it (more on that later).

Something else to remember is that cheating goes on all the time in professional sports.  Most of us remember Thierry Henry handling the ball to help France reach the world cup of 2010, those of us in Australia remember the Melbourne Storm salary cap breaches between 2007 and 2010.  I also recall former Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Peter Moore admitting his team cheated the salary cap to win the 1995 ARL premiership, and showing absolutely no remorse.  With so much money involved, pro sports are not about the joy of competing or trying to win with honesty, but about simply getting to the top step of the podium and making a few dollars before a career ends.  It's just that this particular method of cheating is somehow considered socially unacceptable for whatever reason.

And while we're on the subject of what's socially acceptable and what isn't, has anyone had a clear look at the rest of society in this regard?  Most people's reaction to waking up in the morning with a headache is to reach for a pill -- a pill usually containing ingredients that would get the banned for two years if they were an athlete (remember Maradona being thrown out of the 1994 World Cup for headache tablets?).   We also see other examples of cheating in day to day life -- people cheating on their taxes, people routinely ignoring traffic laws to get to work sooner, people trying to get away with underpaying their employees' entitlements, people are constantly trying to bend or break society's rules where they think they can get away with it.

For some reason, we all seem to want to put athletes and often other celebrities on a pedestal and imagine that they are somehow "different" that they are somehow perfect people.  The problem is that there is absolutely no rational reason to believe this should be the case.  These are just ordinary people who were born with a talent that is a more highly valued commodity by society, and they have many of the same character flaws the rest of us have.  And please, spare me the sanctimonious whining about how these guys are "setting a bad example".  The fact is, they are setting exactly the same example as the guy who pumps himself full of headache tablets or caffeine before work because he stayed out partying too long the night before.

As for what the answer is to this problem, I'm not sure there is one.  With so much money in the game now, athletes and their employers will keep wanting to bend the rules, spectators still expect records to be broken, but perhaps most soberingly of all, it's virtually impossible to eradicate this kind of cheating.  We're told that Armstrong had over 500 drug tests in his career, with not one positive.  In fact, we were also told something similar about the sprinter Marion Jones who later admitted to doping.  Fact is, the dopers are always one step ahead of the authorities.

They way these matters work is that the chemical companies that supply these drugs will work on a new drug (or masking agent) designed to perform a particular function, and the regulators will then spend a couple of years trying to find a way to detect it, by which time the chemical companies have come up with something else.  Faced with this sort of time lag between the development of the drug and the time the regulators can take action, and athletes who know they can practically cheat at will because the risk of getting caught is so small, the testing agencies do the best they can to fiddle around the edges -- and occasionally they catch a big fish so the rest of us can still feel like there's hope.  The question is, would anyone have caught Armstrong without the sudden outbreak of conscience among his former team-mates?  I doubt it.

Incidentally, I remember my last year of school, talking to some teenage rugby league footballers who were hoping to win professional contracts.  These guys were already taking steroids in a bid to improve their performance.  That's a little insight into how deeply ingrained this problem really is.

One thing I will say is this: taking titles or championships off an athlete or team retrospectively is a complete waste of time.  Everyone remembers who won, those people have already stood on the podium and banked their money.  I still recall the comment of Peter Moore from '95 that "they won't be getting their f*cking cup back" in reference to the thought that his team might lose the championship they won "dishonestly".  One of my closest friends is a life-long supporter of Moore's former team, and he wasn't terribly bothered at the time that their title had been won "dishonestly".

As I said before, I don't have a ready solution to this problem.  It could be time to just acknowledge that professional sport is basically just a freak show anyway, and let them have at it, at the same time allowing the rest of society to benefit from whatever advances in medicine that might be a side benefit.  It was actually slightly encouraging to hear USADA say they will now be relying more on witness testimonies than before after this case.  But if anyone thinks this problem is going to go away with Lance Armstrong, they better think again.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Moving on

It had actually been a while since my last long (160km+) ride.  I had spent some time in Europe, then my main bike was off the road for a couple of weeks for maintenance.  I was sorely tempted toward a long ride on my old mountain bike, but alas, that thing has problems right now too (more on that in my next post).  Consequently, I had to wait until Sunday's 170km.   This particular day I was torn between two rides, so I decided to combine them both as much as possible.

The first step was going to involve the 8km climb to Salmon's Saddle (the place about half way up Springbrook where most people turn back for some reason).  This wasn't too bad except for what is becoming an age-old problem.  Everytime I get a bike with disc brakes serviced at a shop, they always seem to over-tighten the brakes, which of course, means a moderate drag on the bike.  I didn't really notice it early on, but once I hit the climb it became more apparent.  I eventually stopped to adjust it after the insane descent into Numinbah Valley (a little drag there is probably a GOOD thing), and continued on my merry way.

The climb toward Numinbah Gap is a ride I always promise myself I'll do more often, but never quite get around to.  It's extremely scenic without being particularly steep -- at least from the northern side.  Of course, I always find something else to do, thus the promise becomes impossible to keep.  Nonetheless, it's always worth it when I'm actually there.  This, also leads to a tricky descent, although the 25% warning sign is a slight overstatement.

After Chillingham it was onto the next phase of the ride, a loop around the old Tweed Valley Circuit through Tyalgum, Byrill Creek and back toward Uki.  This ride was my first "century" (100 miles) many years ago, but it's such a nice stretch that I keep coming back to it.  It's also a place where people can look at mountains without riding up them -- if you like that sort of thing.  Although some of the rollers around Tyalgum make up for it!  

What I really like about this ride, however, is the section through the deep forest, after the peak of the Byrill Creek climb (it's not really a mountain either).  It isn't so much the dirt descent, although I do enjoy dirt roads.  but it's the feeling of being so far away from "civilisation", and it's dubious "benefits".  There are even "ruins" here -- even if those old hippie cottages were inhabited five years ago.  Further along the creek I can catch the occasional waterfall, and still inspect the flood damage from 2001!  

Eventually I rejoined Kyogle Road, and the ride settled into a more boring pattern for a few kilometres, with the run back into Uki (which is always a welcome food stop) and Murwillumbah.  It was north of Murwillumbah that it gets interesting again.  A few years back I hit upon the idea of climbing over Tomewin when coming home from a southern ride.  The idea being that I'd rather ride over a mountain than an extra few kilometres of suburbia.  It can be problematic on hot days, but last Sunday certainly wasn't one of those.

A little way up I passed a guy on a mountain bike who appeared to be really struggling.  The coughing, wheezing and whatever else he was doing made me a little reluctant to stay too long.  I doubt he would have stayed with me for long on that climb anyway -- especially the steep section just after Les's Place.  That was where I went on the attack, following the old maxim, "if you aint hurting after Tomewin, you aint tryin' hard enough, son".  It's always a great way to finish off a memorable ride.

I see this weekend's weather forecast is promising rain.  That could be even more interesting if that promise is kept.